How to be an agile leader and create awareness by Lukas Michel

By Guest Contributor Lukas Michel

Author of Agile By Choice, Lukas Michel, explains how to be an agile leader and create awareness through five people-centric steps.

Agile depends on awareness. Awareness is what you see when the light of focused attention shines.

Here are five people-centric steps that you can use to raise your awareness of the challenge at hand.



• The better you can focus your attention, the faster you will be aware.

• Triggers: let your thoughts flow, and be open to finding associations through questions and visualizing your challenges.

• Time: Ideas and insights come fast. It may feel like time has stopped. How much time do you need to question and visualize?

• Interference: Rational thoughts often crowd our creativity and intuition. Keep that in mind.

Being aware requires physical, emotional and mental alignment. Here is your awareness test: to reach a high level of awareness, you need high scores. Circle the numbers that feel most appropriate to you and then write your total below.









Reaching high awareness depends on finding balance in how you operate:

• Make yourself comfortable: Prevent any interference, be comfortable, remove tensions, be fully relaxed. Breathe.

• Quiet your mind: Choose a word, a sentence or a sound. Breathe and speak it out quietly over a couple of minutes. Count up to ten and down until you have reached full concentration.

• Visualize: Imagine an object that inspires you. Concentrate on it until your brain is empty.

• Charge up: Activate a symbol by finding an image or object that symbolizes power and energy to you. Activate your intrinsic motivation and use it to turn negative into positive.

• Programme a trigger: When you have reached high aware- ness, attach a symbol or sign to it such that you can trigger clarity by activating your trigger. Practice the trigger so that you can use it in challenging situations.



Concentrating to reaching high focus of attention is comparably easy. Focus is easily lost. Getting it back and maintaining it is more difficult.

For executives, dealing with challenges, difficult topics and ques- tions is normally important, serious and emotional. This requires that you often need to focus your attention to reach a high degree of awareness and clarity. As such, it is important to be able to quickly activate the process and maintain it at a high level. Focus of atten- tion requires energy, discipline and control.

Here is what you can do:
Don’t worry about how well you do this; view it as a game – the inner game
Don’t search for answers – they will come
Be open to new insights
Be aware – observe
Keep focusing on the thing you need to think about
Refocus. When sources of interference pop up, refocus your attention to regain your high level of awareness



Leaders have a tendency to start by clarifying their activities. But awareness starts with the intent. The clearer the definition of the challenge, the clearer the intent. The clearer the intent, the more options are available. The better the options are, the more likely the solution to succeed.

Here is what you can do:
• Start with the question
• Ask yourself why it matters
• Focus on a metric that defines the intent • Define the best approach



To raise the awareness on challenging situations and decisions, it is important to consider different perspectives. This may change your perspective but trust it once you have made the choice.

Changing perspective means:
• Seeing with other eyes
• Changing the time frame
• Seeing the bigger picture



Visualizing is the ability to use your imagination to see how to get to your intent. It is an ability that is not a given with most leaders. Ensure that there is data and analysis to support your intuition.

Here is what you can do:
• Compare advantages and disadvantages
• Remove alternatives
• Compare options with a point of reference
• Calculate probabilitie
• Evaluate trade-offs


LUKAS MICHEL is the owner of Agility Insights AG, based in Switzerland, and CEO of the AGILITYINSIGHTS.NET, a global network of experienced business mentors. Over the course of his 40-year career, he has worked with executive teams around the world, focusing on management and agility for a diverse range of local, national,and global organizations. Lukas is the author of The Performance Triangle, Management Design, People-Centric Management and Diagnostic Mentoring.



Suggested Reading

If you have not yet experienced the benefits of agile but don’t want to miss the trend, then Agile by Choice offers a gentle introduction into the core concept and the prerequisite of people-centric management. This book offers a new way to think about how you lead people, how you use your own resources, and how you personally perform at your peak.In line with his previous books, Lukas Michel presents a diagnostic self-mentoring approach with 21 exercises for leaders to learn about agile and people centric. This book initiates the shift to strategic agility with your team to establish leadership everywhere.

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Other books by the author

Today’s dynamic business environment requires new ways to man- age, lead, work, and organize. Traditional paradigms of efficiency, agency theory, transactions and scale are replaced or augmented with principles that focus on people, self-organization, and purpose for greater innovation and growth.

To expand on his previous books, Lukas Michel presents new research, practical applications and the experience with People- Centric Management, agile organization and work on the system to establish new management where people unlock their talent, master greater challenges and perform at their peak.

The book offers the legendary People-Centric Diagnostic that forces the reader to decode and rethink the many assumptions underlying their management model and systems. In combination, the people-centric model, the three-step process and action agenda will help executives establish leadership everywhere to succeed in a dynamic environment.

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It is a new era. To win in an increasingly dynamic and volatile environment, leadership teams must be agile – they must be flexible enough to react to early signs and act on them quickly.

An agile company needs good decision-making at all levels – from the centre to the periphery, tapping into the full potential of the people, operating model, information technology and leadership practices. And decisions are made by people. This guide forces you to re-examine the assumptions underlying your leadership and how agility within your company can be built through a three-point, people-centric approach. The author’s insights will help you understand your options, make the choices required to successfully coach your team, and start creating agility as a competitive advantage today.

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