Nothing is more crucial to a business than stability. Yes, profit matters, but companies can achieve consistent profits easily when markets are stable.
The world, of course, doesn’t always work this way. Markets are highly unpredictable and things change in the blink of an eye. If your business’s viability is dependent on the marketplace, which is almost always the case, you must be prepared to face the challenges of trying to maintain a smooth path through a changing landscape.
Businesses that survive and thrive under any circumstances share one trait: they are agile. When faced with a challenge, an agile business, like a skilled soccer player, knows when to decelerate, accelerate and turn. Agility can help organizations adapt to changes in the market and changes within the company.
Begin with people, processes and technology*
Beyond systems, stable and flexible personality types must be prioritized in your hiring practices. This means hiring those who are comfortable with change and can leverage change to better themselves and eventually the company. People are just as critical as processes in your organization’s ability to be agile.
For instance, dividing positions by novelty versus repetition is a good idea (i.e., tasks with little to no context and which require a lot of research vs. well-documented duties with a playbook).
Companies that use both work styles and appropriately cross-train their employees to take on both are usually better equipped to deal with changing market situations.
It’s a good idea to plan ahead, but it’s also advisable to leave room for unexpected changes. Find the right combination for you. A process can be 70% planned and 30% improvised but knowing your typical mix ahead of time makes it easier to react quickly when the situation demands it.
To take your processes through the path of agility, answer the following questions:
- How does your company assess agility? Is this working well, or do you need to broaden the definition to include departments other than IT?
- Categorize the work you’ve done in the last 12 months (what percentage of it was planned versus ad hoc?)
- Are the right people in the appropriate positions?
- What slowed previous attempts to pivot quickly?
When handled properly, technology can substantially support your people and processes. However, you must make sure that the technology you use helps your business adapt to changes quickly. Otherwise, it could be the biggest hindrance in your journey towards agility.
Collaborate for success
Implementing all of the above could be overwhelming since you probably already have your hands full running your business. However, collaborating with a specialist managed service provider (MSP) like us can take the burden off your shoulders and give you the peace of mind you deserve. Feel free to reach out to us for a no-obligation consultation.
*Organizational Agility – IESE Business School