When many people think of agility, they often think of a world-class athlete outpacing their competition. Creating an agile organization is just as possible as it is for an athlete to become agile, if not more likely. An agile company is able to be flexible, change quickly ahead of the competition, reactive swiftly to industry changes, experiment with taking risks and works together as one coordinated unit.
Agility is the ability to change the body's position efficiently, and requires the integration of isolated movement skills using a combination of balance, coordination, speed, reflexes, strength, and endurance (Wikipedia).
Growing your company to the next level in its evolution is possible only if your team is willing and able to properly hack agility and reap its benefits. To effectively hack agility, break down each characteristic that comprises an agile organization or individual, and apply these traits to your various business functions.
Becoming limitless involves mental agility; the ability to quickly grasp and incorporate new ideas and concepts with confidence.
-- Lorii Myers
An agile individual is confident, organized, flexible and swift. Understanding these core aspects of agility can help boost the effectiveness of your team and better grasp what technology will help your organization best achieve its goals for the coming year.
1. Be Confident, Yet Humble.
Confidence should run rampant through your organization with every employee. It's an important trait to embody internally and externally to drive the successful development of creative ideas, as well as execute them for your business. This is a critical component to agility since pivoting your company quickly to another direction requires great confidence, regardless if that change is a success or not. Encourage confidence across your company, but with a strong emphasis on remaining humble.
Humility is the key to successful confidence and the means of preventing that confidence from potentially turning into arrogance amongst your team. Think of humility as stretching your joints and muscles properly before changing your body's position too quickly, or for our purposes, before developing confidence.
Actionable advice: First off, hire emotionally intelligent employees to become part of your team who already have a sense of self-confidence. By bringing on talent who are already confident in themselves, you're part of the way towards having employees confident in representing your company.
Facilitate this through stringent hiring procedures to attract the right talent for your organization and filter out the wrong candidates. As your team grows, consider holding workshops focused on providing self-confidence, as well as continuing education about your company's offerings to better inform your employees about how to position themselves for success.
2. Organize Your Work.
Agility isn't accomplished through disorganization. In order to be agile your business must be able to move quickly and react to change without losing traction with your current projects and other efforts. Staying organized will ensure that the effectiveness of your company remains intact as you transition between projects, strategy changes, industry updates, repositioning or other forms of company reorganization.
Actionable advice: Use organizational tools to ensure your company is as on track as possible with its various projects, tasks and discussions. A strong focus on teamwork with the technology used by your staff can help foster this culture amongst your contractors, employers and other partners. Your team can stay organized as one collaborative unit using platforms like Basecamp, Wrike and other project management platforms, amongst other helpful tools which, until now were quite difficult to use if certain staff members worked remotely.
Achieving agility is one accomplishment, while maintaining it overtime is another. With the right technology, your team can clarify shared goals, improve communication and keep accountability transparent to ensure each staff member is equipped to be as flexible as your organization.
3. Flexibility is Key.
The point of agility is to change quickly, but not change just for the sake of changing. By being flexible, your company can stay in tune with its existing trajectory, yet easily adjust different aspects of its current strategy without completing throwing off the direction of your business. The need for flexibility will continue to be more vital for your business as it continues to grow since the structure, goals and workload will change dramatically with time.
Actionable advice: Like organizational skills, flexibility is made possible with the support of turnkey technology to help each member of your team be as open to change as possible. A software platform can help ensure that the workflow between sales, operations, finance, support and executive teams is as effective as possible. The right tools can help foster the consolidation of your CRM, sales, customer support, email, billing and other business functions to help them run smoothly and therefore, be more successful and susceptible to change.
4. Act Swiftly, Don't Second Guess.
Speed is the final aspect of agility that your business must adopt in order to continue to grow for the future. Confidence, organization and flexibility are important traits as well, but if there's isn't the right speed associated with these traits, then they are useless in helping your business reach its goals.
Actionable advice: Focus on staying highly organized, use business management software and develop company-wide systems to ensure each area of your business is structured appropriately. The structuring of your business depends on its size. For instance, too much structure for a small business could slow progress due to too many barriers and procedures, while too little structure for a medium to large sized business could lead to widespread inefficiencies and disorganization.
By putting the right amount of structure in place for your business, you'll be able to automate some processes and identify problem areas as they arise. The goal of setting up this structure is to help increase how quickly your company operates each quarter. Speed is never worth the expense of quality, but finding the right speed at which your business can operate effectively can help your company reach new levels of growth for the long-term.
How will your company begin to incorporate agility in your day-to-day operations? What traits embody agility for you the most?I'd love to hear your feedback in the comments below.