Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $3.99 shipping
+ Free Shipping
The Agility Advantage: How to Identify and Act on Opportunities in a Fast-Changing World Hardcover – September 22, 2014
See the Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
From the Publisher
Q & A with Amanda Setili Author of The Agility Advantage
What is your definition of agility?
Agility is the ability to see and quickly capitalize on changes in your business environment.
Why is agility so important?
Just look at how fast the business environment is changing in most industries. New technologies and business models enter the market daily. Customer behaviors and preferences shift constantly, while businesses increasingly customize their offerings in real-time to localized, ever-smaller customer segments. Meanwhile, it’s difficult for companies to establish a lasting competitive advantage. Competitors can replicate ideas very quickly. In this environment, it is crucial to sense changes in the market and quickly and effectively capitalize on those changes in a distinctive way.
What kinds of companies benefit from greater agility?
The Agility Advantage includes examples from many industries— automotive, consumer products and services, financial services, health care, high tech, industrial, retail, travel, and more. Any company—large or small, high tech or low-tech, product-focused or relationship-focused, new or old—can benefit from tuning in to customers’ changing priorities, responding to those changes in a creative and intelligent way, and 'learning as they go' when they implement a response.
How can leaders make their companies more agile?
One of the most important things leaders can do is communicate a clear, focused, and inspired vision and create a sense of shared purpose while giving employees appropriate autonomy to make decisions. When employees know where they are headed and are given free rein, they are more ingenious, responsive, and energized to adapt continuously to changes in the marketplace. Leaders should also encourage constant experimentation and create means for customers to customize products, contribute innovation ideas, and voice their needs. By using the tools, frameworks, and techniques I share in The Agility Advantage, leaders can help their organizations become smarter about anticipating changes, dealing with uncertainty, and finding breakthrough solutions.
Why is developing an agile business so challenging?
Leaders spend much of their time managing business as usual—budgets, people issues, and the like. They often receive poor, late, or biased information about what’s going on in the market and may spend little time imagining what the future might hold. Furthermore, incentive systems tend to motivate short-term thinking and doing more of the same. Employees are rewarded for executing annual plans, rather than for taking advantage of opportunities as they arise. Finally, company leaders tend to fall in love with the assets, products, and capabilities that made them successful in the first place. They find it difficult to shift focus when the world changes around them.
What is the most important thing that readers should learn from The Agility Advantage?
That change creates opportunity. It creates new problems to solve, new types of customers to serve, and new opportunities to differentiate from competitors.
“Amanda Setili’s book provides practical techniques and insightful examples to guide companies in becoming more agile. Haier is a large, global company, but it is also an innovation platform for multiple agile, small companies. I highly recommend The Agility Advantage to any CEO or leader who seeks to quickly and effectively respond to fast-changing markets throughout the world.”
—Zhang Ruimin, CEO, Haier
“With constant changes to technology and customer expectations, I have not yet found an industry that reinvents itself as quickly as wireless. This pace of change calls for true agility, and AT&T puts agility in action by staying flexible, looking for innovation from any source, and acting quickly on new ideas. The Agility Advantage is a must-read for companies that want to become more agile.”
—Glenn Lurie, CEO, AT&T Mobility
“Velocity is our primary competitive advantage at The Weather Company, especially as user-generated content, social media, business partnerships, and data innovation become more critical to our success. Amanda Setili’s study of agility, and how it leads to faster knowledge, decisions, and actions, helps us—and any company—identify the potential game-changers in our industry and move quickly in new directions.”
—David Kenny, chairman and CEO, The Weather Company, and cofounder, Digitas
“With The Agility Advantage, Amanda Setili provides a practical guide for how any organization—large or small, high-tech or no-tech, local or global—can read the winds of change and jump on new opportunities as they emerge. The Agility Advantage is a critical read and should be added to your business book collection this year.”
—Hala Moddelmog, president and CEO, Metro Atlanta Chamber, and former president, Arby’s
“Kabbage disrupts financial services by leveraging big data to serve customers that traditional banks cannot. We’ve recently started partnering with the very institutions we sought to disrupt. When I first heard about Amanda Setili’s book, I figured it would be the ammunition I needed to convince larger companies to quickly deploy our platform so that they can effectively serve small businesses throughout the world. However, not only have these strategies helped in advancing our activities with partners, we’ve also been able to capitalize on them to accelerate our own growth and effectiveness. The Agility Advantage is remarkable.”
—Rob Frohwein, CEO, Kabbage
From the Inside Flap
How to win market leadership in a fast-changing world
In the past, companies could pick a strategy and stick with it, maintaining a competitive edge for years. But today, companies surge ahead, fall behind, or even disappear in mere months. If you and your company are going to thrive for the long run, you need to continuously evolve, change, and stay a step ahead of your competition.
The ability to see and capitalize on new opportunities is the cornerstone of agility. Successful technology-based firms like Google, Tesla, and Amazon have all mastered agility within their core business practices, but companies in any sector can—and must—learn to spot new opportunities and make the right choices about what to invest in, what to change, and what to abandon.
The Agility Advantage first shows how to identify those aspects of your business where agility is most crucial—where the business environment is changing fast—and which elements have the greatest impact on the customer’s decision to buy. Amanda Setili then shows how to master the three components of agility:
- Market agility: Gain ideas from your most demanding and forward-thinking customers and from outside your industry. Engage, observe, and mix with customers to identify the opportunities created by their changing demands.
- Decision agility: Anticipate the changes that may affect you and turn even troubling trends into opportunities. Design your strategy to maximize learning and to manage risk. Generate diverse alternatives and make fast, fact-based decisions about which to pursue.
- Execution agility: Build new capabilities, shed what doesn’t fit, and take the first steps in a new direction. Experiment, then reinforce and build on what works. Enlist and inspire your organization around a compelling purpose and grant employees the autonomy and resources to continuously adapt and adjust course.
The future will present more opportunities but narrower windows to capture them. With a wealth of valuable information and practical strategies, The Agility Advantage is essential reading to help any organization adapt and thrive—both today and tomorrow.
Browse award-winning titles. See more
If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?
Top Customer Reviews
I consider it truly strategic because Setili recognizes that a strategy is dynamic, not static. In my days as a strategy consultant we left clients with one of two end products. The more common one was a strategic plan. The problem with this approach is that it doesn't properly recognize that the strategic environment is in a constant state of flux. Competitive actions change, new technologies enter the market, customer requirements change, the economy rises or falls, and so on. A strategic plan can be out of date soon after it is prepared. The other approach is what we referred to as a "roadmap". It had a beginning strategy along with a set of principles and milestones to guide future changes. The roadmap recognizes that markets are dynamic and cannot be anticipated. Setili does a remarkable job of describing strategy as a roadmap. She strongly advocates continuous improvement in a company's strategy that is constantly reevaluated and updated. Continuous updates that she advocates go far beyond the perfunctory updates of the status quo seen in most companies. That, to me, is the only reasonable strategic approach in today's volatile business environments.
The principles Setili advocates are more broadly applicable than most books on strategy that I have read. Business strategy, as with science, is constantly searching for universal strategic principles that predict outcomes. We've come a long way in our thinking in the last 50 years, but I cannot imagine a practitioner who believes the principles we follow today are universal. The Agility Advantage is a set of broad, timeless strategic principles that take us closer. It is difficult for me to think of a business case for which Setili's principles are not applicable. Moreover, Setili principles are timeless: They have worked for 150 years (e.g.,UPS) and they are relevant today (e.g., Tesla).
The Agility Advantage is practical because Setili lays out frameworks to develop and continuously improve a strategy. I have read many books over the years that provide solid concepts for strategy, but it stops there. Theory and concepts are important, to be sure, and I appreciate these books. But I think a book is more valuable to the business reader when the concepts are complemented with a "how to" aspect that enables the reader to translate theory into successful implementation. Amanda Setili does a wonderful job in this respect.
Finally, let me react to one critical review in which the author comments that Agility is a "repackaging of old business ideas". I don't think this is true. But for argument's sake let me concede the reviewer's point for a moment. I argue that a book can be great if it orders established ideas into a cogent set of essential principles and leaves out the hundreds of other old ideas that are not essential. Setili's book certainly satisfies this criteria even if it were a "repackaging of old business ideas", which to my knowledge it is not.
I would recommend this book to business readers for its fresh approach and its diagnostic frameworks.
In order to illustrate her ideas, the author filled the book with narrative-style business storytelling that captured this reader’s imagination, including recent successes like Airbnb, Tesla and Haier.
The author writes in a down-to-earth yet impactful style and avoids the pretentiousness of some strategy wonks.
In a chapter entitled Love the Problem: Dig Deep to Find New Insights, the book recounted how Kimberly Clark fought commoditization of its paper products through its Healthy Workplace Project. This research initiative on workplace germ transmission opened a new dimension in customer relationships by targeting improved employee health. Instead of racing to the bottom in pricing, the program provided an agile pivot through new tools that helped increase awareness and modify employee behavior, resulting in measurably healthier work environments and a greater appreciation of the value of Kimberly Clark’s products.
In a later chapter, Manage Uncertainty: Be Courageous, Anticipate What Might Happen, and Address Risks Head-On, the author guides the reader through effective scenario analyses. By envisioning different possible future states and rehearsing a company’s response to each, management teams can speed up response times when change hits. According to the book, this joint exercise can also expose latent differences in viewpoints, enabling a hashing out of differences across the management team ahead of the urgency of crisis environments.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
People have known for a long time that it is vital to be able to adapt to new circumstances as they arrive.Read more