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Snakes, Ladders and Agility

When was the last time you’ve played a game of Snakes and Ladders? It was always a favorite of mine, probably due to how easy the rules were to understand.

If you imagine creating your own version of a Snakes and Ladders board, there are a few factors to keep in mind:

  1. The roll of dice; is not under your control, unless of course, you are a Jedi, a wizard or Matilda.
  2. You can control how many snakes you have on the board, and you can definitely place as many ladders as you want!

Let’s see!! (Now if we compare Snakes and Ladders with Agility, we’ll find the following elements:)

  • A project goal achieved is the ladder.
  • A project execution with no stakeholder engagement is the snake.
  • A powerful project reporting followed by no actions being followed up, it would be the same as rolling a 6 and then landing on a snake that takes you ten steps backwards.

I think you get the point. 

Teams and individuals often say things like “I/we feel as I'm back at square one.’’ This can sometimes be true. But unlike a board game agility is a never-ending story.

You can’t just leave the game without uncovering better ways of developing new products and services, while improving internal processes to remain competitive in the marketplace.

Now, what do we mean by agility? Let me answer this question indirectly. Consider things that are fragile. What’s fragile? Fragile is a crystal glass, when we put it under stress, or when we exert force on it, it is more prone to breaking. So, what’s the opposite of fragile? We immediately think of words like resilient, strong, robust, maybe even flexible, so that it bends, and it gets back to the original condition. But is that really the exact opposite of Fragility?

The opposite of fragile is something that gets stronger when is put under stress. In today’s environment—with enormous changes coming from both inside and outside of the organization—that’s what we think the aspiration should be. That’s what I call agility: when you thrive on change and get stronger and it becomes a source of real competitive advantage.

The Business Dictionary defines organizational agility as:

“The capability of a company to rapidly change or adapt in response to changes in the market. A high degree of organizational agility can help a company to react successfully to the emergence of new competitors, the development of new industry-changing technologies, or sudden shifts in overall market conditions.”

Why is organizational agility important?

Organizational agility is important for multiple reasons, however competitive edge takes the lead. Your team members must share a common culture, mission, vision, and strategy to be organizationally agile. As you know, in such a fast-moving business environment, competitive edge is extremely important when it comes to staying relevant and innovative in your niche. The more competitive you are, the better you become at addressing the needs and wants of your leads and clients. 

Additionally, agility is important to succeed because:

  • It increases innovation and motivation to stay up to date with current trends and recruit forward thinking team members: Companies that are easily able to adapt to market changes have motivated employees committed to producing the most innovative products and services available. This works in a cycle, therefore, an organizational agile company never stops changing and innovating.
  • It improves a company’s ability to respond to competition: Competition exists in every industry, but it’s the way you proactively respond to your competition that differentiates you from them.
  • It improves the quality of communication, both internally and externally: An organization’s ability to adapt or change depends heavily on the efficiency of its internal processes. Once a company defines its strategy,  the process of creating and executing a new product or service flows much smoother.
  • It helps establish authority in the market: You have all heard the saying that goes by: “the early bird catches the worm.” Well, in business terms, the company that is most innovative and fastest to respond to market changes is the one that will own the space. For example, Apple is the most innovative company in computer technology, and therefore, owns the space.
  • It increases customer retention due to the company’s ability to change and customize its products and services to meet the needs of its end users: Companies that use customer feedback to improve their products and services demonstrate a commitment to the customer. The customer experience is extremely important and will continue to be integral to a company’s well-being. Provide your customers with what they want and need to increase retention and acquisition.

Recently at STS, we’ve been witnessing many agile adaptation practices, one of which is the culture. All of STS employees were part of the new digital culture that launched in 2019 that is co-owned and co-lead by HR and Digital Transformation Departments at STS.

As culture takes a long time to change; it takes even longer to build up a healthy one, and it requires a lot of thought. So, an organization’s culture and some of the key competencies and capabilities, that are sources of distinctiveness and competitive advantage, are aspects that typically don’t change quickly. And when you see companies that are very agile, they typically have something very special about the people and the culture that they’ve built. As they say, “people are what make companies agile not approaches, methodologies nor tools”.

Today, STS Culture is built on 7 principles (Collaboration, Commitment, Costumer-Centricity, Employee Engagement, Excellence, Integrity, and Innovation). One of these principles is Innovation. STS defines innovation as we foster a culture that supports agility and creativity; offering mentorship, addressing challenges and providing the tools needed to transform ideas into reality.

Each one of STS’s 7 principles focuses on individuals by developing agility, adaptability and responsiveness based on a culture of continual improvement, innovation and learning.

As organizational agility becomes essential in the digital transformation age, STS has a Digital Transformation department within to sustain its business, get ahead of competitors, and to transfer the business structure to support a more collaborative, team-oriented environment. Believing that when people start to feel a part of something, it diminishes competition from within, and encourages innovation and collaboration.

Hadeel Hyari

Project Manager, Project Management Services



  • com/blog/Blog311/Organizational-Agility
  • Jac Hughes /everyday agile



Snakes, Ladders and Agility