Can an Agile Mindset Benefit Association Leaders?

No matter the industry, the ability to complete projects in an efficient, organized manner is essential to an association’s success. Whether you’re working as a leader or as part of a team, having the confidence that any task–big or small–is being executed at the highest level is critical.

In the past, organizations placed greater emphasis on establishing processes and tools, adhering rigidly to the plan, conducting frequent contract negotiations, and producing endless documentation. In recent times, however, there has been a shift towards constant communication, adaptive plans, customer collaboration, and greater individual ownership. This is often credited to both leaders and employees adopting an Agile mindset.

So, Just What is an Agile Mindset?

Encouraging continuous interaction, adapting quickly to changes, and increasing member engagement requires associations to think differently about how projects are implemented; it requires an Agile mindset. The Agile mindset must be flexible to changes in the plan, be open to differing opinions from teammates, be constantly learning, and be focused on delivering the highest value to members. With an Agile mindset, association employees are better equipped for collaboration and for managing the many challenges that can arise during a project.

You May Ask, “Does an Agile Mindset Benefit Association Employees Who Are Non-technical?”

There are some preconceived notions that an Agile mindset is not for the “non-technically inclined”–quite the contrary! Adopting an Agile mindset can be a game-changer for any project–after all, being able to swiftly adapt to change is an important skill for any association, project, or workplace!

Associations Are Ever-Changing; an Agile Mindset is Now Critical for Success

At times, employees can be buried under paperwork and fall victim to the multiple roadblocks that can result from poor communication, outsourced problem-solving, and unorganized task scheduling. However, associations and workplaces are evolving, and changing market demands and member behavior must be accounted for if one is to stay competitive. Consequently, associations need to keep pace with the shifting sands of market changes and business conditions. An Agile mindset will prepare them for anything the ever-changing business world presents them with.

Agile Teams Can Empower Each Other

The success of an association relies heavily on the confidence of its employees.

Find any poorly run association that stifles its employees, and the result will likely be a lack of motivation, underperformance, and minimal creativity amongst the staff. Business consultant and strategist Kaihan Krippedorff stated, “Arming employees with the tools, know-how, and mindset needed to successfully innovate on a continual basis will be paramount to organizational survival.” The key to achieving this lies in empowering team members with the freedom to operate under minimal limitations.

True Empowerment Involves Changing the Culture of an Association from One That Is Ruled by an Iron Fist to One That Inspires Innovation and Thought Leaders.

Empowering a non-technical team with the Agile self-direction mindset is crucial. It allows team members to be more independent, without the need for manager direction at every turn. With self-direction, the team is able to work together to execute each of their respective responsibilities and duties at a self-designated and optimized pace–without having to constantly look over their collective shoulder!
Self-direction emphasizes the abilities and experience of each team member and combines them into an outcome greater than the sum of their parts. This establishes trust among the team members, proving that each cog in the wheel is necessary and valued when working in tandem to complete a common goal.

Does Empowering Agile Teams Render Management Obsolete? Absolutely Not!

A manager can still lead, but an empowered team means that their focus can be placed more on strategy and communication with the team than on routine duties, which leaves the door open for team input which, in turn, allows team members to feel helpful and appreciated–after all, it proves that management has faith in their abilities! An effective leader can provide mentorship using positive feedback for a good performance, as well as constructive criticism for a poor one.

Iterations and Continuous Improvement

Achieving success is one thing; sustaining it for the long term is another story. Adopting an Agile mindset can help associations improve policies and processes quickly and easily, thus maximizing their efficiency. It is important for associations to develop plans that work with existing policies and processes, while also brainstorming about how these practices can be enhanced further. The improvements can then be made to the existing policies and processes–just make sure to be prepared for unforeseen obstacles that require further development. Remember, Agile values adaptability–unexpected issues are just a stepping stone to improvement!

Once the changes have been made, make sure to thoroughly assess the new policies and processes and observe their performance. Are they better? Worse? On par? This will provide key information for further improvement.

Now that your investigation is complete, management can make the final call to officially confirm the proposed changes, or else suggest additional modifications before moving forward.

Agile Improvement Strategies

There are other improvement strategies that can elevate an association to the next level. An association can implement lean continuous improvement, where the objective is to identify and abolish all areas that fail to offer members additional benefits. This is a proactive approach that allows the association to concentrate more on the relevant benefits that their members want and accelerate towards the end goal with greater efficiency.

Value stream mapping is another vital asset to improving performance in your association; this strategy enables the association to perform a comprehensive assessment of a process in order to identify where adjustments can be made and what can be eliminated by using knowledge gained from experience to indicate what is working in a process and what is not.


So, fear not, the Agile mindset makes associations a better, more cohesive place for staff and members alike! Greater emphasis is placed on major priorities, while lesser priorities are shelved for later.

Interested in gaining a deep understanding of the principles and practices of Agile project management? Take this trusted Agile & Scrum Certification Course!

Agile prepares you to take on any challenge that threatens the success of your project by arming you with independence and flexibility. With an Agile mindset, association leaders and employees can be certain that greater success is just around the corner!