The Agility Advantage

Book description

How to win market leadership in a fast-changing world

In the past, companies could pick a strategy and stick with it, maintaining a competitive edge for years. But today, companies surge ahead, fall behind, or even disappear in mere months. If you and your company are going to thrive for the long run, you need to continuously evolve, change, and stay a step ahead of your competition.

The ability to see and capitalize on new opportunities is the cornerstone of agility. Successful technology-based firms like Google, Tesla,  and Amazon have all mastered agility within their core business practices, but companies in any sector can—and must—learn to spot new opportunities and make the right choices about what to invest in, what to change, and what to abandon.

The Agility Advantage first shows how to identify those aspects of your business where agility is most crucial—where the business environment is changing fast—and which elements have the  greatest impact on the customer’s decision to buy. Amanda Setili then shows how to master the three components of agility:

  • Market agility: Gain ideas from your most demanding and forward-thinking customers and from outside your industry.  Engage, observe, and mix with customers to identify the opportunities created by their changing demands.
  • Decision agility: Anticipate the changes that may affect you and turn even troubling trends into opportunities. Design your strategy to maximize learning and to manage risk.  Generate diverse alternatives and make fast, fact-based decisions about which to pursue.
  • Execution agility:   Build new capabilities, shed what doesn’t fit, and take the first steps in a new direction. Experiment, then reinforce and build on what works. Enlist and inspire your organization around a compelling purpose and grant employees the autonomy and resources to continuously adapt and adjust course.  

The future will present more opportunities but narrower windows to capture them. With a wealth of valuable information and practical strategies, The Agility Advantage is essential reading to help any organization adapt and thrive—both today and tomorrow.

Table of contents

  1. Title Page
  2. Copyright
  3. Dedication
  4. Preface
    1. The Impetus for This Book
    2. What You Can Gain
    3. A Caveat
    4. How to Get the Most out of This Book
  5. Chapter One: What Is Agility—and Why Is It Valuable?
    1. What Is Agility?
    2. Business Models Are Evolving Fast—with New Winners and New Losers
    3. What Kind of Companies Need to Be Agile?
    4. What We See in Agile Organizations
    5. Changes in Technology, Culture, and the Economy Are Driving the Need for Greater Agility
    6. Increase Agility Where It Makes the Most Difference
    7. Where Is Agility Most Important in Your Business?
    8. Notes
  6. Chapter Two: See Through Your Customers' Eyes: How to See What Your Competitor Can't
    1. Experience What Customers Do, Firsthand
    2. Put Customers to Work
    3. Get out of the Office and into the Field
    4. Give Customers a Reason to Talk, Then Listen In
    5. Encourage the Unexpected
    6. In Conclusion
    7. Notes
  7. Chapter Three: Right Customers, Right Value, Right Time: Identify Your Most Attractive Customers and Pivot with Them
    1. Your Customers Can Show You the Way
    2. Your Products Can Show You the Way
    3. Segment Customers According to Why They Are Using Your Products
    4. Niches and Microcultures Reveal New Opportunities for Growth
    5. Observe “Outlier” Customers
    6. Continuous Customer Intelligence: Harnessing Data to Gain Up-to-the-Minute Foresight
    7. Automate Customization
    8. In Conclusion
    9. Notes
  8. Chapter Four: Love the Problem: Dig Deep to Find New Insights
    1. Observe the Customers' Daily Environment, the Tools They Use, and the People They Interact With
    2. Observe and Interview Customers to Identify Opportunities in Business-to-Business Markets
    3. Enlist the Customer as Collaborator
    4. Know What Problems You Are Trying to Solve
    5. Understand Your Customers' Hearts, Minds, Habits, and Values
    6. Understand How Your Customers Vary Across Cultures and Geographies
    7. In Conclusion
    8. Notes
  9. Chapter Five: Turn Trends into Opportunities: Stop Preparing for the Future and Create It
    1. How Can We Best Assess and Respond to Market Change?
    2. What Types of Market Change Do We Need to Be Concerned About?
    3. How Can We Best Identify and Prioritize the Marketplace Changes That May Affect Our Business?
    4. Anticipate What Might Happen Next
    5. Prioritize and Take Action
    6. What Action Is UPS Taking to Respond to the Changes in Its Business Environment?
    7. In Conclusion
    8. Notes
  10. Chapter Six: Create Breakthrough Strategies: Generate Creative Alternatives for Capitalizing on the Changes You See
    1. Why Breakthrough Ideas Are Important
    2. Lessons from AGCO on Developing Breakthrough Strategies
    3. Techniques for Developing Breakthrough Thinking
    4. In Conclusion
    5. Notes
  11. Chapter Seven: Manage Uncertainty: Be Courageous, Anticipate What Might Happen, and Address Risks Head-On
    1. How Tesla Motors Succeeded, and Managed Risk
    2. Further Thoughts on Managing Risk and Uncertainty
    3. In Conclusion
    4. Notes
  12. Chapter Eight: Turning a Strategic Corner: Take the First Steps, Shed What Doesn't Fit, Experiment, and Reinforce
    1. Communicate Intent
    2. Take the First Steps
    3. Shed What Doesn't Fit
    4. Build New Capabilities
    5. Experiment and Reinforce
    6. In Conclusion
    7. Notes
  13. Chapter Nine: Agility as a Way of Life: Leverage the Power of Purpose, Autonomy, and Continuous Adaptation
    1. Create Focus by Paring Your Priorities to the Essential Few
    2. Paint a Picture of the Intended Future
    3. Get the Right People on Board
    4. Set an Example for Employee Behavior
    5. Motivate Through Autonomy and Empowerment
    6. Plan for the Unexpected
    7. Improve and Adapt Continuously
    8. The Importance of a Motivating Purpose
    9. In Conclusion
    10. Notes
  14. Conclusion
  15. Acknowledgments
  16. About the Author
  17. More from Wiley
  18. Index
  19. End User License Agreement

Product information

  • Title: The Agility Advantage
  • Author(s): Amanda Setili
  • Release date: September 2014
  • Publisher(s): Jossey-Bass
  • ISBN: 9781118836385