Business agility is integral for survival

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Today’s business environment requires companies to become more agile and adapt to the growing list of challenges brought on by geopolitical and economic issues. Whilst external factors are generally out of company’s control, businesses need to find ways to become more competitive to survive and grow in such a climate. As we have seen, the COVID-19 pandemic and its repercussions have changed industry trends globally, as well as consumer needs and market dynamics, and has forced companies to look inwards and find ways to optimize their systems and procedures.

How can companies become more agile?

Tips and tools to increase agility within an organization

For businesses to become more agile, a shift in thinking is required. Agility means companies regarding innovation, collaboration and forward-thinking as the core pillars. Strategies need to adapt to respond to market dynamics and emergent industry trends and team members should be empowered to take the lead. Here are some tips for companies to become more agile, and navigate through current and imminent challenges:

Change your business approach

Companies that have been in business for decades find it more difficult to adopt new technologies and change the way business is being done. Internal transformation may seem like a far-fetched and strenuous task. However, as global crises have shown, is that even the most lucrative businesses with a huge market share, can become obsolete if they do not adapt to consumer and market needs. Companies should reassess their industry and sector, as well as market presence, and understand what their customers need today and in the near future.

A shift in strategy then follows

Once a company understands the market dynamics and where value can be added, strategies need to shift. To effectively respond to these changes, a company first needs to look inwards at the roles and responsibilities of every department. Can the way business has been carried out be enhanced? Can a product be improved on? Does the service deliver customer value? Can what we offer, be found elsewhere? Once a new strategy is crafted, it needs to be regularly communicated with the team to gear them towards the same direction. Responsiveness and swift decision making capabilities are key for companies to become more agile.

Ensure innovation is a corporate commitment

Responding to a crisis and finding the tools to survive it, is one part of the challenge. The second part is to remain relevant and ahead of the competition. Therefore, innovation and continuous improvement should be at the core of every organization. Companies should set up innovation hubs and allow team members to share their ideas on how products and services can be improved. This step could even entail digitizing one part of your offering, to facilitate and enhance customer relations. Large organizations are teaming up with experts in different fields, to gain the experience and insights of ‘outsiders’ to improve their offering.

Doing more, with less: The 80/20 rule

Being agile means creating a value-driven model, and delivering products, services and solutions that provide the highest return on investment. If a certain offering, service or client profile or is draining your finances and resources, and exposing you to heightened risk, it should be assessed carefully. In some cases, eliminating it may result in higher profitability if strategies properly shift. Referring to the 80/20 rule, derive ways in which the 20% of the work put in, creates 80% of the value.

Find ways in which you could ultimately do more, with less. The stringent approach to cutting costs should apply, even when not in crisis mode. The roles and responsibilities of team members should adapt based on the new strategy laid out, and multidisciplinary teams should be created for expertise to be shared.  Team members should also understand their roles within the new setup and have targets to work towards.

Moving forward to become more agile

Becoming agile requires companies to honestly and openly look at their existent framework and offerings, and be open to change. Change should impact both the mindsets and strategies, as well as methodologies to reach new targets. As we have seen, unexpected events can send even the most resilient companies into crisis mode. Therefore, anticipating potential challenges and threats and adapting to them before they emerge, is advisable.

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