I. Empowered by the Past:

Agility Ingrained in

the Corporate Culture

If you read the introduction, you know that at launchlabs Sofia we talk about agility holistically.

We have repeatedly said that truly agile organisations combine stability and speed. Everyone knows how to do one or the other well, but the challenge is in achieving a balance between the two. The factors that help us be highly adaptable in the long term while maintaining our identity are:

  • solid foundations,
  • stable processes,
  • clear vision for the future.

So let’s talk a little more about the foundations we're standing on. About who we are right now - as an organisation, team and individuals - or in other words, as a culture.

Culture is not something you can fake, nor borrow from the outside. And so is agility. Agile teams and organisations are not built in a day, but rather go through dynamic transformations always and often, through constant experimentation, reflection and learning. The sole nature of agility is the ability to change, while remaining stable, so we see a remarkable link between the notion of agility as an imminent part of the organisational culture - something intransitive, yet, always in motion.

A really cool example on agility in the corporate culture is Valve, as presented in their New Employee handbook [Valve]. It is a bit dated, and there are probably changes in how it is experienced by employees today since culture is something evolving - however the handbook sets a truly inspirational starting point.

How does it translate in your teamwork?

By changing our current team rituals, we strengthen the foundations of a culture that supports agility and stability across people in the company. An indispensable practice in this process is the team retrospective. It allows us to address team needs, tensions and defeats and strengthens interpersonal bonds - here's more about the benefits of retrospectives, recommended formats and tips.

Trust is a critical component to agile culture, so we recommend setting aside a small, yet invaluable amount of time for activities that strengthen interpersonal relationships at least once every few months. Here are some examples of how this can be done:

How to incorporate it in personal life?

In the never-ending stream of tasks and projects, we are tempted to rush forward, solving one problem after another, getting closer to the next goal. Often this drags along shame, guilt, disappointment, pain, insult... All things that are not worth stopping for, because more important things pull us forward without leaving us a moment to rest. We don't even stop to celebrate the accomplished goals left behind. It often happens that we do not notice when our load has become too great, and the weight does not just slow us down, it is even capable of knocking us down.

Fortunately, we don't have to go that far. There are simple prevention techniques that allow us to quickly process the difficulties we are going through and give ourselves a moment to celebrate the successes. Think of them as a water station during a marathon: the runner slows down for a moment without having to come to a complete stop, and allowing himself a few important sips, continues with a steadier stride. The techniques described below enhance our personal agility and resilience:

  1. personal retrospective
  2. Alternating focused action with rest. If you want to let go better and feel more energized as a result, you might want to read more about different types of fatigue and effective relaxation.
  3. Daily activation of the parasympathetic nervous system via the vagus nerve - here's some useful techniques.