By Ryan Binkley
Change is a constant for people from all walks of life, but I think this rings most true for business leaders and executives.
As we all know, an organization cannot thrive if it fails to adapt to the world around it. And nowhere was this more evident than the immediate fallout from the COVID-19 outbreak. Almost overnight, companies had to adapt to the new world of work – one where we all exist in the ‘new normal’.
The companies that adapted to the world they found themselves in saw great success. Meanwhile, organizations that stuck to what was familiar tended to fall out of favor.
Making changes internally can be a difficult and time-consuming process, as recent data suggests that just 27% of participants considered their business highly agile.
Maybe a decision has to be vetted by experts on a separate team, put to the board of directors, or fielded to employees. This can delay key decisions by days, weeks, or even months, stifling corporate agility.
While slower businesses deliberate over decisions, the market can change, customer preferences can evolve and competitors have an opportunity to be first to market. Put simply, agility can benefit enterprise growth in several ways:
Transforming the way your company progresses and makes decisions isn’t something that will happen overnight. To increase the flexibility and agility of your business, consider:
You may believe that personally vetting each and every decision your company makes as the leader will ensure you’re progressing in the right direction. Whether this is accurate or not, this form of leadership can bottleneck progression and innovation.
By decentralizing this process and delegating responsibility to trusted individuals throughout your organization, your enterprise is not only able to make more decisions faster, but it can also foster a greater level of creativity.
Building a permanent culture where employees feel trusted and empowered to make decisions within their areas of responsibility has to start from the top-down. Without the buy-in of everyone in the office, cultural shifts are unlikely to stick, and you’ll still find yourself stuck taking ownership of everything.
Although speed is important, due diligence remains a critical consideration when it comes to effective decision-making. The last thing you want to do as a business leader is to rush this process and drive your company in the wrong direction.
To expedite decision-making without sacrificing accuracy or quality, data is an invaluable asset. By looking at statistics relating to past performance and projections regarding industry/market growth, your business limits the amount of guesswork and indecision involved and can even automate different processes.
In order for decision-makers to drive agility, it’s first important that employees throughout the organization have access to these insights. Establish tools and processes to condense data into digestible reports and store them in a central area where those who need them have access whenever required.
To truly be an agile enterprise, you need to make quality decisions quickly and build a strong team. If departments second guess your managers’ decisions, or outright oppose their new direction, this can stunt innovation and progression internally.
Whether it’s justifying the rationale behind a specific approach, or informing affected employees of their revised strategy, getting workers throughout the business onboard with change relies on effective communication.
While training can be an effective aid, it’s also important to establish clear avenues of communication, especially if teams are located in different offices nationwide and globally. An agile organization has to involve everyone, not just those in the corporate HQ.
And remember the old saying: There is no such thing as a bad idea! Encourage your associates to communicate to their managers about how your company can enhance its performance. I have found that often the best ideas often come from someone who has been doing the job the same way for 20 years and has always wondered why! Your front-line workers can be a fount of innovation and agility if you encourage that environment.
Although an organization may be able to plan and execute decisions ”on the fly,” if these changes do not contribute to the overall goals of the company, or oppose your vision, corporate agility can be stunted.
To maintain a constant state of progression and innovation, leaders within the enterprise must have sight of the overall strategic plan. Even if core strategies need to adapt over time, having a framework in place can help inform leaders’ decisions in the future.
Developing a considered strategic plan is no easy feat. Depending on your needs, the type of framework best suited to your organization will vary. At Generational Consulting Group, our team of consultants offer two different expert-driven solutions:
Our Strategic Growth Plan focuses on delivering sustainable, long-term growth. To do this, our professionals will work closely with you and your leaders to define key steps along the way and help align employees throughout the business focus on your company’s vision.
A Tactical Acceleration Plan concentrates on driving improvements in the short-term with a view to encouraging profitability, cash flow, and company performance. This approach is ideally suited for underperforming businesses in need of immediate guidance and results.
Both of our plans have realized positive results for companies across numerous sectors and at different stages in their journey. Explore the positive impact our consultancy services have had for yourself:
To stay competitive in today's changing world, your company needs to be agile and make quick decisions with confidence. It is not just enough to de-centralize key decision-making, to create meaningful change internally, your teams must be able to communicate effectively, use data, and develop a strong strategic framework.
If you would like to know more about Generational Consulting Group and how our expertise can help you establish the foundation for business agility, I’d urge you to attend one of our Growth and Exit Planning Conferences. These complimentary events are packed with valuable insights to optimize the way your business operates and can prepare you for a successful exit.
You can also read more about effective growth and leadership through our insights page.
I hope this article has gotten you thinking about your enterprise’s agility, why it’s vital in our ever-evolving world, and the ways you can create a culture that embraces it internally.
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