As Featured In

Financial Times
Fast Company
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In a world where leaders and their teams must brave the unknown and step confidently forward – or risk extinction – Agility provides a vital roadmap for seizing the unprecedented possibilities of the new age and dominating change instead of being dominated by it.


About the Book

As the Fourth Industrial Revolution barrels forward and the pace of disruption accelerates, all organizations must operate with agility. But this urgent priority, now widely-accepted by senior leaders, presents a major challenge: In business, government, and warfare, agility is a buzzword. There is no common understanding of what it means, or of what it takes to be consistently agile.

In this groundbreaking book, Leo Tilman and Charles Jacoby offer the first comprehensive assessment of the fundamental nature of organizational agility and then describe the essential leadership practices for achieving it. They show that agility is far superior to mere speed or adaptability. Pinpointing its distinctive features, they define agility as the ability to detect and assess changes in the competitive environment in real-time and then take decisive action. They demonstrate that agility enables an organization to outmaneuver competitors by seizing opportunities; better defending against threats, and acting as a well-orchestrated collective of teams that are empowered to take disciplined initiative.

Combining their personal experience of building and leading agile organizations, Tilman in the realm of business and finance and Jacoby in battlefield command and homeland security, they present a powerful approach to fostering agility up and down an organization, and out to its very edges. They show how to detect opportunities and threats by fighting for risk intelligence; how to pierce through complexity and unleash creativity by nurturing a culture of honesty and trust; how to meld top-down vision and planning with decentralized execution; and how to enhance strategy by recognizing organizations as dynamic portfolios of risk.

In a world where leaders and their teams must brave the unknown and step confidently forward – or risk extinction – Agility provides a vital roadmap for seizing the unprecedented possibilities of the new age and dominating change instead of being dominated by it.

Advance Praise

“Agility is the most decisive factor in successfully navigating the Fourth Industrial Revolution and fulfilling its promise to humankind. In this important and compelling book, Tilman and Jacoby provide a comprehensive theory of agility and a practical guide to developing and leading agile organizations.”

Klaus Schwab

Founder & Executive Chairman, World Economic Forum

“A significant contribution to leadership thinking at a time of increasing complexity, intense scrutiny, and rapid change. Recognizing agility as an essential driver of success in business, industry, and the military is vital. Understanding how to foster and consistently deliver it is even more critical. This must-read book helps us achieve both.”

Martin Dempsey

18th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff

“Successfully navigating change is an utmost priority for any leader. This deeply intelligent book examines the fundamental nature of agility and then provides an actionable roadmap to fostering it. It is an important read for anyone in any organization that strives for lasting relevance and an enduring brand.”

Shelly Lazarus

Chairman Emeritus, Ogilvy & Mather

“Groundbreaking and timely! Succeed as a leader by using this book to create agile organizations that will thrive in a volatile and uncertain world.”

Bill George

Past Chairman and CEO, Medtronic; Bestselling Author, True North

“Agility is a distinct advance in the understanding of organization and cooperation in businesses begun by Chester Barnard in The Functions of the Executive (1938) and continued in Friedrich Hayek’s discussion of the process by which knowledge is acquired (1945).”

Edmund Phelps

Nobel Laureate in Economics

“All over the world – across different cultures and industries – agility is what differentiates successful teams and organizations and allows them to flourish long-term. All leaders would do well to absorb this brilliant book and put its ideas into practice.”

Patty McCord

Former Chief Talent Officer, Netflix; Bestselling Author, Powerful

“In defending our nation and evolving its intelligence infrastructure, agility is everything. This original book will guide leaders and organizations in braving the unknown, leveraging change, and exploiting risk.”

Keith Alexander

16th Director of the National Security Agency

“The future belongs to agile organizations. With a rare clarity of thought and a wealth of experience, Tilman and Jacoby have given us an invaluable roadmap to how such organizations can be built and nurtured for the long-term.”

Senator George Mitchell

Former U.S. Senate Majority Leader & Peace Envoy

“In business, government, and warfare, agility is critical to survival, competitiveness, and enduring success. This original and practical book is a must-read for the leaders of organizations and teams who want to really understand what it means and what it takes to be agile.”

John Abizaid

U.S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia and Fellow of the Hoover Institution at Stanford University

“All leaders are facing an era of rapid change. That’s true across politics, the military, all areas of business and every geography. We are all asking ourselves how we can lead successfully as we deal with fast-moving events, ambiguity, uncertainty and volatility. Tilman and General Jacoby skillfully present clear and reasoned strategies for anyone interested in learning and applying organizational agility to get ahead and prosper in this age of disruption.”

Doug Peterson

President and CEO, S&P Global

Leo Tilman

Leo M. Tilman is a leading expert on risk, strategy, and finance and a long-time advisor to companies, governments, and institutional investors around the world.

Prior to founding his namesake strategic advisory firm, Tilman held senior roles at BlackRock and Bear Stearns and taught finance at Columbia University, his graduate and undergraduate alma mater. He is the author of three earlier books, including Financial Darwinism. Tilman helped shape the modern concept of risk intelligence and, in collaboration with the U.S. government, created innovative models for public/private partnerships. He has been profiled as Business Visionary by Forbes.

Charles Jacoby

General Charles Jacoby (U.S. Army, Ret.) is a military leader whose career in uniform culminated as four-star Commander of the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) and U.S. Northern Command.

Having led at all levels in peace and war, Jacoby headed the Federal military response to Hurricane Sandy and commanded the 135,000-member Multinational Corps during Operation Iraqi Freedom (2009-10). Previously, he served as the Director of Strategy, Plans, and Policy for the Joint Chiefs of Staff and as U.S. Military Representative to the UN. Jacoby is the Distinguished Chair of the Modern War Institute at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, his undergraduate alma mater. He holds graduate degrees from the University of Michigan, the School of Advanced Military Studies, and the National War College.