Over the last few weeks the team have been explaining to people the various elements of our company name. Some of the ingredients of the Agile Elephant are mentioned around the site, but I thought the fuller explanation deserved a post of it’s own.
We ran a sequence of social business events that we branded the Patchwork Elephant, but when we were thinking of a name for our new company we decided to upgrade to agile.
- For most enterprises today we believe the shift to Digital & Social Business is the Elephant in the room!
- We also use the Indian subcontinent parable of the Elephant and the blind men. Each one feels the Elephant and “sees” something different – one thinks it’s a snake, one a fan, one a wall, one a pillar, one a tree branch, one a rope – the social business topic is complex and people see it different ways from different perspectives.
- We wanted to echo the great ideas from three books:
- Rosabeth Moss Kanter’s excellent When Giants Learn To Dance which even back in 1989 talked about the demise of beuracracy and hierarchy in business.
- Louis Gerstner’s Who Says Elephants Can’t Dance? – the 2002 book which described his successful turnaround of a giant of the technology industry.
- Charles Handy’s The Elephant and The Flea from 2001 – part autobiography, partly a book on the changing nature of employment, and of the small independent going up against or working with the giant corporation.
- We see the Elephant as a metaphor for the significant mass and associated inertia in a typical medium or large organisation. They can be slow to change. We believe they can become at least as nimble as their smaller, newer competitors, but only if they adopt new thinking, new styles of leadership and a different, more open culture of teamwork and collaboration.
- We also need to tackle this complex, big issue of Social Business transformation in easily digestible chunks – eating the Elephant one bite at a time.
As well as highlighting how we can make business, the Elephant, dance, we ourselves need a more nimble way of working too.
We want to move away from the traditional cascading waterfall approach for these kinds of transformational projects. We are Agile. Instead we believe in an iterative, distributed approach to managing projects and getting the job done with lean efficiency.
We need to consider ways we can make our organizations become more adaptive. We need to change how we think about change. An Agile approach is fundamental to the new mindset required, for achieving better results, and faster. Agile underpins all of our thinking.
So we are the Agile Elephant and we would love to be working with you and your company! Contact us to find out more or start a dialogue around the possibilities of Digital and around Social Business.