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Q&A with Nivarti Jayaram

Exclusive Trusted Magazine Q&A with Nivarti Jayaram, Keynote Speaker, Executive Coach and Qualified Expert.

How could you describe your career path in few words ? 

I've developed my skills in strategic thinking, agility, and leadership. Serving as a United Nations Peacekeeper in the Democratic Republic of Congo was a lifechanging experience that helped me shift my perspective to become more people-oriented and optimistic. 

I continue to learn, unlearn, and relearn regularly to stay relevant in an ever changing environment. I achieve this by delivering keynote speeches, publishing articles, and coaching and mentoring individuals to help them reach their full potential and enhance their influence and impact within their organizations. 

I believe in the power of evolving one's way of being, building self-awareness, setting priorities in life based on one's current situation, and having the motivation to pursue 

objectives that create a positive impact on the environment. 

I have published two books on “Unlearning” and “You Too Can Bounce Back” and have been recognised with several Global Awards for my Leadership & Coaching

How do you think agile practices have transformed companies over the past two years? 

Doing Agile & Being Agile are two different approaches to transforming an enterprise and it is contextual to a certain enterprise that defines which approach you choose. The ultimate intent would be to enhance the state of agility of an enterprise and helping them continuously evolve & excel. 

Over the last two years there are many organizations that have evolved in their agility journey as is evident from various global reports like State of Agility Report, Business Agility Report etc. There are quite a few voices that have been speaking about Agile becoming dead soon, and I personally think they are referring to the various frameworks that are around for a while now and practices these advocate for. If we focus on the principles & values, then they existed well before even the manifesto was published and they would still make sense mostly today. It’s important to look at the relevance of these in today’s world and if there is a need to evolve further to meet the different demands or challenges we have today. 

The journey of being agile continues for every enterprise with or without frameworks being adopted or not and it is a never-ending journey. 

What successful cases of agile transformations have you had the opportunity to observe that have particularly stood out to you? 

Having been a Jury Member of World Agility Forum, Technical Agility Conference, and many others, I have had the privilege of being exposed to Agile agile transformation journeys of organizations well beyond software development, like NGOs, Military, Healthcare, Government departments, etc. 

This has been made possible because of the contextualization of the principles & values that focused on culture, leadership, mindset, and customization of the practices, policies, and processes to consistently evolve, as well as being employee & customer-oriented. 

What has stood out mostly has been that many of the transformations didn’t have any mention of the frameworks and the agile jargon that come with them but still have been progressing on their maturity journey, reaping the benefits for themselves and the people they are serving. This goes against the very notion of many of the Agile Experts who are very strong advocates of the frameworks that they relate to. 

Will agile continue to generate interest? What challenges do you see in the context of organizations adopting Agile? 

Agile as a way of working has gained widespread popularity in the business world due to its adaptability, iterative approach, and emphasis on collaboration. While Agile is likely to continue generating interest for enterprises, it needs to evolve in terms of how people look to adopt the new ways of working & leading, and more importantly, what outcomes it would drive for enterprises going forward. 

The world that we live and operate in is changing it’s characteristics. We used to denote it with VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex & Ambiguous) that represented a world where “Change was the only constant.” Since the onset of COVID and subsequent global events, the world we are in today is being represented by BANI (Brittle, Anxious, Non linear and Incomprehensible), where “Disruption is the new constant." 

This does bring up new challenges, as leading & transforming organizations through change is different from leading & transforming them through disruptions. It’s no longer enough to help organizations respond faster to change, but it will be needed to preempt the change and be the disruptor rather than being disrupted. The focus on transformation would need go beyond the enterprise ecosystem to global ecosystem, as most countries today are focused on ESG (environment, social, & governance) targets, and all enterprises will have to factor in their contributions to these. 

Navigating Change and Disruption: A New Challenge for Organizational Transformation 

Leading and transforming organizations through change and disruption can be challenging. While it was once a supplement to help organizations adapt to change, it is now necessary to anticipate and trigger change to avoid being left behind. To achieve this, the focus on transformation must expand beyond the enterprise ecosystem to the global ecosystem. Currently, most countries prioritize ESG (environmental, social, and governance) objectives, and enterprises must consider how their actions contribute to these goals. Agile Coaches will need to help organizations & leadership within the system so as to successfully navigate disruption and continue to thrive and excel. 

Another challenge that will need to be managed is the balance between idealism & pragmatism, and the debate is ongoing. While it is important to challenge the status quo in order to make a change, it’s equally important to understand the quantum & complexity of change the organization prefers based on diverse factors in consideration of their context. 

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