CEOs and other executives have plenty to keep them up at night: the possibility of shifting economic cycles (i.e., recession), trade concerns, cyber security, acquiring and keeping top talent, adapting to changing customer preferences, regulatory influences on their business, and more.

Additionally, technology continues to advance rapidly, requiring organizations to adapt quickly or risk obsolescence. These pressures all require change; but in particular, these pressures require organizations to become increasingly agile—or nimble—as they proactively navigate their given industry or sector.

Given these elements of the business environment, it continues to be increasingly common to hear about “agility” and “Agile.” These terms, however, often elude definition or people use them in ways that seem to mean reactive flexibility or imply that organizations should continually reinvent themselves.

Neither of those are entirely accurate.

In a white paper that the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology asked me to write in 2019, I addressed agility and related concepts both in terms of definition and in terms of identifying what the social science suggests regarding how leaders can create agile organizations. You can download the full white paper below, after which you’ll find a summary of its key concepts (along with a few additional ideas and resources).

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