What does being agile mean to me?

I recently joined the HR Learning team and got the task to prepare the Agile HR Day, THE learning and enablement event for all of us in HR at SAP. First, to be honest, I thought that it will be difficult to find suitable speakers within HR that could share an agile story. But I was proved wrong! Read further below to see why…

 I asked myself the question “Why have we chosen Agile HR in our HR Talent Strategy as an important key capability for every one of us today and in future?” and was wondering whether I myself am agile at all. The more I thought about it, the more examples came into my mind. Here is my favorite:

 Privately, I am passionate about travelling, and the first holiday that I did without parents was an all-inclusive holiday in a resort. It was the worst experience that I ever had! I returned back home browned like a roast chicken, but I spent all the time in the resort and didn’t learn about the local culture, I ate way too much and the same things every day and there was an animation program that I really didn’t like. Since then, I adjusted my travel style: I book the flights and the first night in a hotel or B&B and then go with the flow. Last year I was on a sabbatical and spent 3 months in Southeast Asia – alone. I felt that I needed a feeling of safety to be able to continue with my preferred spontaneous and agile travel style: I had several vaccinations against mosquito-induced diseases prior the flight, I was wearing a belly bag underneath my clothes with a copy of my passport and some dollars just in case, a soft copy of important documents stored in the cloud, and, finally, I booked a flexible return flight. With this, I could travel on the go, adjust travel itineraries depending on recommendations I received from other travelers or locals, the weather, and, of course, my own preferences – either travelling solo or joining other small groups. I wouldn’t have ever experienced the 400 km motorbike ride (as passenger) through the north of Vietnam, if I had booked the itinerary in advance!

 So, for me, agility means: get the basics right and then be curious for new things and adjust the course as needed depending on the circumstances. As the only constant is change, we have to be adaptable.

 I did the same at work when planning for the Agile HR Day: the basis was: building a concept and a rough project plan and setting up a steering meeting to receive continuous feedback to adjust the course. And the rest was setting up many phone calls to learn from colleagues about the different HR functions, getting recommendations for who best to talk to, being open to suggestions, and, finally, going with the flow. I was truly surprised how many great examples of agile work I could collect for the agenda – so many that I even had to make a selection.

 I truly believe that everyone of us has an agile story to tell, either private or work related. And I look forward to getting even more inspiration on June 18 during Agile HR Day!

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