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The Podcast Blog


The House of the Agile

Recently we were joined by Marcia Philbin, CEO of the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Medicine to discuss her House of Agile framework.

The concept for this originated when Marcia was undertaking a training course at the Bayes Business School (formerly Cass) and as she tells us - “for one of the topics they gave us a paper to read by McKinsey. It is called the Five Trademarks of Agile Organizations, and we had to go away and read the paper and think about how it linked to the work that we were doing. So I read the paper and I thought 'you have such a lot in here’, and I just wanted a way of capturing the five traits and being able to visualise it. So, I came up with the House of Agile Framework.

The original McKinsey paper was written for Commercial Organisations looking to transition from dominant traditional organisations, designed mainly for stability, into ones that are agile – designed not only for stability but also for dynamism.

This all works well in an environment that is stable and predictable, but as we all know since 2020 we are all operating in a world that is anything but predictable. In fact, it’s been VUCA – Volatile, Unpredictable, Complex and Ambiguous.

The charities and not for profit sector have also found themselves operating in this environment and the House of Agile Framework fits perfectly with the challenges faced by these associations.

The pillars that support the framework are:

  1. Strategy;
  2. Structure;
  3. Process;
  4. People; and
  5. Technology,

These five should be driving everything that you do as an organisation to ensure that you are going to be not just agile but also sustainable.

The House of Agile framework isn’t just a supporting tool for a company or organisation, it actually represents a culture change. Technology is no longer just added as a bolt on to what the organisation does or lumped in as a specific process calls for but becomes an integral part of the foundations of the framework.

It is a culture where people are empowered to make decisions, that the staff know that they have permission to try things and to know that it is okay to fail, because that's the nature of making decisions rapidly, moving things along quickly and being responsive rather than reactive to circumstances.

This is a system that can be adopted and be continued through whatever disruption, pandemic or socio-economic shift may happen, or this can stay with you as a filter through which you take on every challenge.

Just think how empowered and ready for those big thinking exercises your staff will be and how your organisation will grasp those wonderful next opportunities. That's exciting.

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