Claiming the CxO title for agile leadership

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Leading Agilesphere

Agilesphere Founders: Jeremy Renwick, Davina Sirisena, Hugh Ivory

Over the last few years, Hugh, Jeremy and I have each brought our complementary leadership strengths to Agilesphere. It’s the combination that has made Agilesphere the success it is today. We work well together, we lean on each other, and our relationship is an equal one in terms of skills, experience and effort. None of us could have built this organisation on our own.

In order to better express this co-operative leadership approach, we’ve decided to each adopt the title of CxO.  Here’s why…

Challenging traditional expectations

One of the joys of running Agilesphere is having the freedom to determine and explore how we organise ourselves and the organisation. As we grow, we’ll inevitably find areas where our agile approach to building and running the organisation bumps up against more traditional expectations.

In particular, the outside world seems to expect one of us to be in charge. Where does the buck stop, they ask?

The answer is equally with the three of us. We’re challenging the traditional mental model of a CEO because we promote an agile approach to building and running our organisation.

Communicating leadership

The traditional ‘C’ level titles (CEO, COO, CFO etc) don’t work for us. They imply that one person, the CEO, is in charge and that we have strongly delineated responsibilities. But that’s the opposite of how we work. We maintain a fluid, self-organising and agile approach.

Previously, we have tried using the title ‘managing partner’, but other partnerships have hundreds of managing partners so the meaning of the role is not clear to an outsider.

Using CxO

Moving forward, we’ll be using the CxO title. We’re claiming this to stand for someone who operates across (x) the board at ‘C-Suite’ level. A CxO isn’t responsible for a silo, they’re responsible for the health and growth of the organisation as a whole, working in tandem with the other CxOs.

CxO communicates our mutual approach to leadership. We’re putting a stake in the ground, and hope to see it adopted by other agile organisations too.

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