This is the first book to fully adapt the principles of agility for government leaders who want to make their organizations more effective and nimble while better serving their public mission.

This practical resource will equip government leaders at all levels with evidence-based, hands-on guidance for transforming their organizations, enabling them to better serve the public and their customers. While many books focus on organizational agility for leaders of for-profit companies, this is the first one tailored to the unique requirements government leaders face. They must find a way to accomplish their mission while navigating constant change.

Government leaders at all levels must maneuver their organizations through new, often complex challenges, ranging from new laws that impact their agencies, new technologies, changes in leadership, and unexpected events. By explaining how to manage and organize work differently, this guide will help leaders weather the storm of that constant change so they can help their agencies realize their missions and serve the public interest.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. Title Page
  3. Copyright Page
  4. Dedication
  5. Contents
  6. List of Tools
  7. Preface
  8. Chapter 1 | Constant Change Requires a Different Way of Organizing
    1. Make Sensing and Interpreting Routine Behaviors
    2. Make Responding a Routine Behavior
    3. Understand the Seven Levers
    4. Myth: We Just Need to Be More Effective
    5. Myth: We Need Either Stability or Flexibility—Not Both
  9. Chapter 2 | Build a Foundation of Psychological Safety
    1. Understand Why We Need to Feel Safe
    2. Use the Platinum Rule
    3. Give Yourself and Your Team Permission to Be Curious
    4. Reward Behaviors, Not Just Results
    5. Myth: Telling People to Feel Safe Will Enhance Their Psychological Safety
  10. Chapter 3 | Lead with Agility
    1. Explicitly Call for Agility Norms
    2. Help Others Understand the Mission
    3. Empower Others
    4. Lend Support to—and Participate in—the Routines
    5. Myth: As a Leader, I Have to Have All the Answers
    6. Myth: If I Delegate, There Won’t Be a Role for Me
  11. Chapter 4 | Make Decisions at the Right Level
    1. Enable Decisions at the Lowest Level Possible
    2. Make an Informed Decision
    3. Widely Share Decisions
    4. Don’t Debate, Test It Out
    5. Flatten the Structure and Respond with Teams
    6. Myth: As a Leader, I Won’t Know What’s Going on if I Delegate Decisions
  12. Chapter 5 | Promote Collaborative Learning
    1. Knowledge Sharing
    2. Set Norms for Information Sharing and Interpreting
    3. Turn Meetings into Meaningful Discussions
    4. Create Knowledge Networks
    5. Curate Knowledge
    6. Myth: Technology Will Solve Our Knowledge Problems
    7. Myth: I Won’t Have Job Security if I Share Information
  13. Chapter 6 | Create Stability
    1. Maintain a Stable Organizational Structure
    2. Identify Well-Defined Processes
    3. Staff Stable Processes with Stable Roles
    4. Provide Stable Norms and Expectations
    5. Myth: We Can Respond to Frequent Changes by Restructuring
  14. Chapter 7 | Create Flexibility
    1. Respond with Teams
    2. Incorporate Innovation Techniques to Solve Problems
    3. Conduct Rapid Experiments and Pilots
    4. Identify Flexible Processes
    5. Staff Flexible Processes with Flexible Roles
    6. Myth: We Have to Be a Well-Functioning Organization before We Can Be Flexible
    7. Myth: Developing Innovative Ideas Is a Mysterious Process
  15. Chapter 8 | Encourage the Routines
    1. Get Everyone Involved in the Routines
    2. Engage in Reactive and Proactive Sensing
    3. Build in Time for Interpretation
    4. Engage in Reactive and Proactive Responding
    5. Myth: Proactive Actions Might Not Pay Off
    6. Myth: Experimenting and Piloting Might Not Pay Off
  16. Chapter 9 | Invest in People
    1. Invest in Continual Employee Development
    2. Promote a Learning Orientation
    3. Proactively Identify Future Skills
    4. Provide Time for Employees to Recharge and Refresh
    5. Myth: We Don’t Have the Time or Money to Develop Employees
  17. Chapter 10 | Putting It All Together
    1. Be Persistent and Consistent
    2. Cycle Back through the Chapters
    3. Expand Your Application
  18. Appendix: Organizational Agility Framework
    1. The Environment
    2. The Organization: Agility Routines and Levers
    3. Outcomes
    4. The Government Organizational Agility Assessment
  19. References
  20. Acknowledgments
  21. Index
  22. About the Authors
  23. About the Contributors