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The Agile Leader

The Agile Leader

How to Create an Agile Business in the Digital Age

Simon Hayward


Harness a powerful leadership programme based on agile thinking to best deal with the modern, uncertain, volatile and ambiguous business world.

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About the book

The Agile Leader exposes how leaders can safely guide their teams to organizational stability and prosperity through agile leadership and building an agile culture. With the rise of political unrest, protectionism and economic uncertainties, business leaders have to assess, react and implement strategies rapidly and with enough responsiveness to re-calibrate their efforts should circumstance change. When presented with key moments of choice, agility allows them to move quickly and responsively, and offer coping strategies for this unprecedented rate of change. By adopting agile ways of working that focus on facilitating mental agility, ruthlessly prioritizing, devolving decision-making, and investing in customer research, leaders will allow organizational learning and drive innovation, thus enabling their teams to flourish in this new uncertain world.

With globally diverse and exciting case studies from top businesses including the British Fashion Council, Standard Chartered and Three, Dr Simon Hayward distills years of leadership research and consultancy work into an actionable agile leadership programme, which will deliver effective results for your business. The Agile Leader is an invaluable book for leaders looking to adapt and continuously evolve to match a complex business world.

Table Of Contents

    • Chapter - 01: Why Agility is Key for Leaders Now;
    • Chapter - 02: Overview of How to Build an Agile Business;
    • Chapter - 03: Agile Ways of Working;
    • Chapter - 04: Being an Agile Leader;
    • Chapter - 05: Ruthless Prioritisation;
    • Chapter - 06: Leading Innovation;
    • Chapter - 07: Devolving Decision Making;
    • Chapter - 08: Continuously Improving;
    • Chapter - 09: Learning from Customers and Competitors;
    • Chapter - 10: Making It Stick - How to Take People With You on the Journey


We live in a fast-moving world. This book recognises that as a leader, you are on a constant journey. You cannot stand still. You need to stay abreast of new ideas and developments, to learn from others, to seek out opportunities and react to them. There is no finishing post. Being truly agile is about constantly evolving.
Vanda Murray OBE, Chairman, Fenner

To be agile, you need to try and test things. Not everything you try is going to work. Fail small, fail fast, and learn quickly. The Agile Leader demonstrates that agility is not just about creating things. It's also about ruthless prioritisation, managing risk, and knowing when to stop. This book helps leaders to make choices that define their business success on a day-to-day basis. If you're not moving forward and innovating and changing things, then your competitors will be.
Humphrey Cobbold, CEO, PureGym

With disruption happening in every industry and customer behaviour changing all the time, agility has become a highly-prized leadership skill. By reacting with agility to changing customer needs and focusing effort where it will have greatest impact, this book shows where leaders can gain quick wins as well as achieving long-term, sustainable success.
Roger Whiteside, CEO, Greggs

This book explains very clearly just what makes agile leadership different to traditional leadership. Making the shift towards a more agile style of leadership can be a huge challenge. Simon Hayward offers a range of insights and advice to help you to make that shift in a sustainable way.
Mark Allen, CEO, Dairy Crest

The digital explosion has had a huge impact on every industry. It has disrupted traditional ways of working. This book highlights the importance of customer focus, learning and collaboration in becoming increasingly innovative and agile. By adopting the principles of agile leadership, you can stay ahead of the competition.
Caroline Rush, CEO, British Fashion Council

This book demonstrates that by embracing agile leadership you can drive innovation and improved productivity. It is relevant to managers and leaders across all organisations as it promotes less hierarchical structures, collaboration, and devolved decision-making. This encourages a clearer focus on customer needs and enables more agile working by removing bureaucracy and encouraging empowerment.
Campbell Fitch, Global HR Director, Spire Global

This is an inspiring book which is both thought provoking and full of practical solutions and insight to help you to be an agile leader in a fast-moving environment.
Henny Braund, Chief Executive, Anthony Nolan

A thoughtful read for leaders and aspiring leaders on the balance between reflection and action needed for transforming, or even just surviving, in an age of digital overload.
Ben Page, Chief Executive, Ipsos MORI

Many startups begin life as very agile businesses but find it difficult to hold on to that agility as they grow. The Agile Leader shows how businesses can continue to evolve, adapt and innovate, no matter how big they become.
Tony Foggett, CEO, Code

Once again, Simon has managed to produce a book that is informative, challenging, and a good read.
Professor Catherine Cassell, Dean, Birmingham Business School

In The Agile Leader, Dr Simon Hayward draws on well documented research into agility, complexity, and distributed leadership. He distils this into some very practical advice to help managers and leaders deal with the everyday challenges of working in an unpredictable and fast-paced environment.
Professor Fiona Devine OBE, FcSS, FRSA, Head of Alliance Manchester Business School, University of Manchester.

I have worked with Simon Hayward in various different formats and have found his insights on leadership to be enormously valuable.
Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell, President and Vice-Chancellor, The University of Manchester

Book Details

  • EAN: 9780749482732
  • Edition: 1
  • Published: 3rd June 2018
  • Paperback
  • Format: 234x156
  • 224 pages

About the Author

Dr Simon Hayward is Founder and CEO of Cirrus, a leading provider of leadership development and change programmes for large organizations. He has a wealth of strategic leadership experience gained over 30 years in consulting, with clients that include BT, HSBC, Marks and Spencer, Standard Chartered Bank and Three. Dr Simon Hayward has been featured in the Financial Times, Management Today, Forbes, the Sunday Times, the Guardian, Fast Company, BBC Radio 4 and Sky News.

Simon Hayward