Aaron De Smet

Agility is the ability of an organization to renew itself, adapt, change quickly, and succeed in a rapidly changing, ambiguous, turbulent environment. Agility is not incompatible with stability—quite the contrary. Agility requires stability for most companies.

Agility needs two things. One is a dynamic capability, the ability to move fast—speed, nimbleness, responsiveness. And agility requires stability, a stable foundation—a platform, if you will—of things that don’t change. It’s this stable backbone that becomes a springboard for the company, an anchor point that doesn’t change while a whole bunch of other things are changing constantly.

In really small start-ups, stability is typically embodied in the founder, and you have a few people around a founder. The start-up out of someone’s garage can be just fast and agile without a lot of stability. But as soon as you get any sense of size or scale, you cannot be agile without some sense of stability.

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