Business Agility Conference 2020 Highlights

As an Enterprise Business Agility Strategist for AgilityHealth, I was thrilled to attend the fourth annual Business Agility Institute (BAI) conference held in New York City, March 11-12, 2020. I’m excited to share some of the highlights and a few insights I had during the event.

Bryan Tew, Enterprise Business Agility Strategist

This was unlike any conference I’ve ever attended as it was right in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak and many attendees decided to play it safe and stay home for the event. BAI responded to this circumstance amazingly well as the team put together a virtual option for the conference that included online viewing of each session, virtual Q&A forums, Zoom breakouts for deep dives, and online facilitators to help with breakouts and assist remote attendees. Very impressive to say the least and I heard great things from those that attended remotely.

For those of us physically attending the conference, precautions were put in place as well and we all learned to excel at the “elbow bump” and the “foot tap.”  The conference itself was excellent and even though several speakers had to bow out due to company travel policies, the content was still very rich and fulfilling.

Evan Leybourn, CEO of BAI, continues to impress in running an excellent program. He reminded attendees the conference is a forum to connect with others who are leading or going through a Business Agility transformation and reconfirmed that we are not alone and this is our opportunity to learn from each other.

Evan Leybourn and Ahmed Sidky

There were many great talks and most either provided some very useful ideas that participants could bring into their own transformations or were about how Business Agility was applied to a non-conventional situation, which really resonated with me.

Objectives & Key Results (OKR)

The first highlight I’ll share is from our friend and OKR expert Felipe Castro who is always gracious to share practical tips on creating and socializing OKRs. He pointed out that “Whatever you’re trying to build or create, make sure you’re asking how will you measure it?” He recommends adding the words “As measured by…” to any targeted outcome.

Focusing on continuous improvement

Marina Alex, Founder at SWAY Systems, discussed her experience leading an Agile transformation at a hotel in Crimea which included sales and marketing, housekeeping, and top management. She shared, “By changing how senior leaders approach work, we change how the entire company approaches work.” Marina further elaborated that if you empower people to focus on continuous improvement, ideas and suggestions will emerge. At first there may be resistance and challenges, but the results will be effective if they stick with it.

Model the behavior you are looking to cultivate

Antoinette Coetzee, from Just Plain Agile, shared in her message for leaders to “Model the behavior you are looking to cultivate.” She related a story of a leader who was trying to help the team by trying to solve all the team’s issues, facilitating their process and being in the center of everything that was going on. Then an observer said, “Instead of trying to control everything, why can’t you just be of service to your team?” Great message for us all!

Souls@Work Bill of Rights

Our good friend Jardena London talked about having a soul at work and included the Soul Bill of Rights, which we’ve included here. I love her passion for providing a better work experience for everyone, regardless of title.

Be bold, be real and lead with love

Without a doubt, the highlight of the conference came from our very own Sally Elatta, president of AgilityHealth, who described her journey in bringing Agility to the change movement in Sudan, her home country. Such an amazing story and so inspiring to hear how volunteers around the world all are uniting to help the Sudanese build a brighter future. She really got the group thinking as she asked what we’re capable of doing as change leaders and what characteristics we need to grow in order to lead big change. At the end of her talk, Sally motivated the audience with her famous quote to “Be bold, be real and lead with love!” Thanks, Sally for your inspiring message!

Sally Elatta
Sally Elatta, CEO of AgilityHealth

These are just a few of the many highlights of the fourth annual Business Agility Institute conference and I hope you find these ideas interesting, intriguing and helpful. Visit the Business Agility website to watch any of the presentations given at the conference. Past presentations will be there as well.

I highly recommend attending the BAI conference next year which will again be held in New York City. See you there!

By Bryan Tew, Enterprise Business Agility Strategist

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