I took over as the Chair of the Board of Directors of a not-for-profit organization called Magic of Children in the Arts, about a year ago. We provide art classes to our regional schools and run public art workshops. #ArtEducationMatters is our tag.

This past year has taught me many lessons about leadership through my role with Magic.  But the most important lesson for me was the need to be agile.

Agility is critical in this day and age. We, and so many others like us, and many more not like us, have been hit hard by this COVID-19 thing.  Leadership has been challenged during these days in so many markets and industries. I’ve talked with many leaders of large and small businesses in my day job and the one word that always comes to mind is ‘agility’.

Agility is thinking quickly, analyzing well and acting fast. The leaders that could not do this over this past year suffered terribly.  And their organisations suffered as well.

In my case, we needed to transition from in-person art workshops to virtual. Technology, resources and funding requirements all changed instantly. We were all right and did quite well with a great team of volunteers, but it was not easy. 

Not everyone likes this agile thinking and acting, and this is totally understandable.  The biggest challenge of becoming agile all of a sudden, is bringing along the traditionalists.  This does not become an issue when you have created an agile environment during normal times.  If agility is part of your culture now, acting on it tomorrow is much easier.  

In normal times, depending on your environment and your industry, the need to be agile remains critical. Things change. Crazy things happen. Markets move. Commodity prices skyrocket out of the blue. People quit. Clients leave. And the list goes on.  Traditional strategic planning is great so long as everything stays normal.

This year has been an excellent example of the need for our organizations and how leaders think and act agile.  When we start talking about the new normal, the agile ones will survive.

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