Slow Agile: Business Agility for Complex Times

How to avoid being part of the high failure rate in Agile transformations

Helio Borges
4 min readSep 30, 2021
Fig 1 Slow Agile Mandorla

This is the first of four articles exploring the perils and rewards of Business Agility transformations.

AGILITY: A property of an organization to sense and respond to market changes and continuously deliver value to customers.

LEADERS: “We are Agile in both strategy and execution,” and “culture is definitely an asset to achieving agility.”

LAGGARDS: “We are not Agile in both strategy and execution” and “culture is an obstacle to achieving agility.”

Forbes / Agile Alliance

Business Agility in Complex Environments

In a complex, disruptive environment like the one we are experiencing globally, organizations have two choices: either embrace business agility as a way of running their business, or they are doomed to languish, or worse yet, to perish. There is no middle ground for that. However, the transformation route to be traveled by an ongoing business to achieve business agility can be long, winding, and full of challenges.

If you are the leader of an ongoing business, I recommend reading these articles as a road map to help you think about what you will undertake, and who knows? It could save you time, money, and costly roadblocks as you navigate the agile transformation territory.

Forbes Insight

The Rewards of Business Agility

Forbes and the Agile Alliance researched and held conversations with top executives whose companies were undergoing “Agile Transformations” here is what they discovered:(1)

“For organizations that succeed at achieving greater agility, the rewards are plentiful, including faster time to market (60%), faster innovation (59%), improved non-financial results such as customer experience and product quality (58%), and improved employee morale (57%). Agility also delivers bottom-line benefits, as 17% of leading companies have experienced revenue growth of more than 20% over the past year, compared with 10% of laggards.”

“Beyond revenue figures, leaders differ from laggards in that they’ve successfully translated agility from a software development methodology into a highly valuable management strategy across their business domain.”

The report divides respondents into two main categories: leaders and laggards. These segments are defined as follows:

Forbes Insight


Those who responded: “We are Agile in both strategy and execution” and “culture is definitely an asset to achieving agility.”


Those who responded: “We are not Agile in both strategy and execution” and “culture is an obstacle to achieving agility.”

Business Agility

Business Agility implies innovation, adaptability and resilience. Specifically, it is a process that involves traveling a complex journey, making choices that require conscious leadership, deliberate action, resource allocation, and the commitment of the whole organization to embrace agility from strategy to execution, and enterprise-wide.

You have seen the rewards that the Leaders obtain, the differences in returns that separate Leaders from Laggards, and the two key factors that separate them — Leadership and Culture. The Laggards’ leaders explicitly say, “We are not Agile in both strategy and execution” and “culture is an obstacle to achieving agility.”

The Why, What, and How of Business Agility

I could leave the article here because the secret has been revealed, but then you would miss Why they do that, What prevents them from solving those “simple” matters, and How to solve them. This is a long article that I will publish in weekly segments to favor commenting and discussing them. Although I have already written it, I will modify the details according to the information obtained from your comments.

I intend to make it participative and inclusive. Therefore, it does not matter what your position in a company is; if you are an independent professional or you are curious about the theme, your input is welcome. Better still, if you have a story to tell, we all are willing to read it.

Next article: Slow Agile: Cracking the Business Agility Nut

So, my friend, get on board; the Business Agility train is parting now!

To have a generative conversation about Business Agility Transformation, please get in touch with me at

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Helio Borges

Executive & Team Coach & Mentor. Cultural Transformation Change Agent & Consultant. Twitter: @hborgesg. Instagram: @heboga. FB: helio.borges.35. Uriji: @hborges