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The Agile Leader

The Agile Leader

How to Create an Agile Business in the Digital Age

Simon Hayward

From £12.49

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 need to disrupt existing business models to drive growth in our unpredictable world. This book can help leaders to think differently, to agitate for change and to take others on a transformation journey. It highlights the importance of culture, behaviour, and ways of working.
Kevin Costello, CEO, Haymarket Media Group

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

In The Agile Leader, Simon Hayward develops the approach to building an agile organization that he introduced in his first book, Connected Leadership. He looks at how many successful organizations are led by their customers, working with them to constantly innovate and improve, for mutual benefit. He also focuses on the importance of simplifying business processes and breaking down silos to encourage collaboration. In an uncertain climate, businesses need to be adaptable, flexible and always evolving. As well as spotting opportunities for growth, we need to make decisions quickly to seize these opportunities. We have adopted many of the principles of agile leadership at Pentland Brands to future-proof our own organization.
Andy Rubin, Chair, Pentland Brands

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

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

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

Technology is accelerating the pace of change. It increases customer expectations. The Agile Leader offers valuable advice to leaders who want to embrace that change and to place customers at the heart of their business. It highlights the importance of developing a clear vision, purpose and framework so leaders can empower others to go ahead and work in more agile ways, and to react to customer needs and new opportunities.
Angela Spindler, CEO, N Brown

This is a really timely and thoughtful book for any leader thinking about how not just to survive, but to thrive, in our fast-changing world. It's a powerful sequel to Simon Hayward's Connected Leadership, really bringing agile leadership to life through a series of compelling interviews and case studies, alongside lots of practical hints and tips.
Alison Nimmo CBE, CEO, The Crown Estate

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 book is full of useful tips to help leaders succeed in a digital world. Drawing on his extensive research and real-world case studies, Simon Hayward demonstrates how leaders can, indeed have to, adapt to rapidly changing circumstances.
Jacqueline Moyse, Head of Organizational Development, Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group

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

In The Agile Leader, Simon Hayward identifies the biggest barriers to agility and explains very clearly how to overcome these. By distilling robust research into valuable insights, he offers guidance to leaders who want to develop their own capabilities in order to drive business-wide transformation. A very practical guide which can change the way you work and help you to influence wider ways of working across your organization.
Mark Brown, Vice President, Global Talent Management, Fresenius Medical Care

This book provides leaders with a blueprint for creating a more agile organization. It identifies the barriers to agility and suggests some specific ways to overcome them. This is a very useful guide to streamlining your business in a complex world.
Richard Prosser, Chairman, Audley Travel and Tusker Direct

In The Agile Leader, Simon Hayward distils a great deal of research and real-world experience into a very practical and insightful guide. Illuminating case studies deliver some real light-bulb moments. Building on Connected Leadership, this book provides a roadmap for developing a more agile business and describes how to take people with you on a journey of transformation. It explains why collaboration and connection between colleagues, customers and key business stakeholders is critical to ensuring your business can evolve and thrive.
Alan Boddy, Executive Director of Operations, livin

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

How to lead effectively in this fast-moving chaotic world? In this fine book, Dr Simon Hayward argues convincingly that today, agility is a crucial element of effective leadership. Packed with research findings and practical advice, this book should be recommended reading for current and future leaders, as well as students of management theory.
Professor John Perkins CBE, former Chief Scientific Adviser, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, Her Majesty’s Government

Dr Simon Hayward condenses a wealth of research and case-study material into a highly readable guide to agile leadership. He explains how leaders can develop their own capabilities, build more agile teams and play a part in creating agile cultures that support organizational transformation.
Professor Mike Bresnen, Head of Department of People and Performance, Manchester Metropolitan University Business School

Book Details

  • EAN: 9780749482732
  • Edition: 1
  • Published: 3rd June 2018
  • Paperback
  • Format: 232x155
  • 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

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