What is agility?

What is agility?

Agility is the topic of the very first NOM Talks, the podcast on topics facing entrepreneurs, from agility to innovation, from funding to employees. Topics covering all phases of entrepreneurship. What does it actually mean, agility?

If you search for the definition of the word agility, you will initially become little wiser. "Easily turning or maneuvering," says the Dikke Van Dale. But it's a start. Because maneuverability for an entrepreneur means, is the conclusion from the conversation between host Wim A.B., sidekick Rob Drees and guests Dina Boonstra (director of the NOM) and Roelof Bakker (CEO of Van Raad Investments), nothing more than being able to successfully adapt to (unexpected) circumstances.

Adaptive resilience

In times of crisis, such as those caused by the coronavirus at the time of recording NOM Talks, business can suddenly come to a complete halt. Entrepreneurs saw their sales suddenly evaporate in March 2020, including some from NOM's portfolio, Boonstra explains in this episode. What do you do then? Do you wait and see or, like companies in that same portfolio, do you move forward on a different path?

What the corona crisis showed us once again is that all we know for sure is that the future is uncertain. To cope with that future, you need five skills, state authors Crystal and Dr. Gregor Lim-Lange in their book Deep Human: Practical Superskills for a Future of Success. The most important? Adaptive resilience, or agility.

'It doesn't matter if you have the other four skills (complex communication, empathy, self-awareness and focus and mindfulness, ed.) if you give up easily, feel paralyzed by failure or lack the psychological flexibility to adapt and keep going in the face of turbulence. Yet resilience - physical resilience, mental resilience, emotional resilience and social resilience (and I would also argue spiritual resilience) - is difficult to achieve because it requires a growth mindset.'

The right mindset

Entrepreneurs with a growth mindset believe they can keep improving and developing their business. That doesn't mean that they are always positive, by the way; of course you get very upset when your sales suddenly evaporate due to a virus that brings everything down. The trick, say the foursome in this podcast and also the authors of Deep Human, is to keep going after that.

Entrepreneurs tend to keep their cards close to their chest in times of glory as well as in times of trouble, Dina Boonstra rightly notes in the first episode of NOM Talks. But one of the characteristics of an agile entrepreneur, according to the guests in this podcast, is precisely accepting help. ''Talk to someone you know, someone from outside your industry,'' Roelof Bakker offers as a tip. Because looking at things from a different perspective can lead to a revelation you wouldn't easily discover on your own. And so the foursome provides a number of other tools that can ensure agility.

The growth mindset, by the way, applies not only to entrepreneurs in NOM's portfolio, but also to NOM itself, says director Boonstra. For example, the organization is forthcoming with companies regarding their payments due to the corona crisis, she explains. Because even though that doesn't immediately create growth, it offers much more perspective for the business portfolio in the long run.


An entrepreneur who is agile can innovate and change himself and his organization quickly. With a mindset of not only accepting that things can always turn out differently, but even proactively looking for the things that reduce risk. Agility also means thinking about things you don't see coming, when everything is taking its course. What if? Because an entrepreneur who is agile is future-proof.

Want to listen back to NOM Talks episode 1?

Listen back to the first episode of NOM Talks below, with host Wim A.B., sidekick Rob Drees and guests Dina Boonstra (director of NOM) and Roelof Bakker (CEO of Van Raad Investments).

NOM Talks episode 2

In the second episode of NOM Talks, Rinze van der Schuit (Fibremax) and Kees Pingen (Smit Kwekerijen) are guests. They discuss the topic of innovation versus product improvement. The second episode of NOM Talks can be listened to from Feb. 26 via the NOM website, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Anchor, Pocket Casts, Breaker and Radio Public.