Businesses are finding that the world is moving at rapidly changing pace. The world is getting smaller and the digital revolution shows no sign of slowing down. How do business today deal with this?
Digital transformation at the top of the list of issues that business of all sizes are currently having to face up to, but how do we change to make sure that we are not left behind or worse end up in commercial failure?
Well a lot of businesses are looking to Agility to help them coupe, but again and again business are unable to successfully change and utilize agile to their benefit and end up trapped.
When agile is mentioned most will think of Agile technology development teams building software and this is true. Lots of development teams currently work using a form of agile methodology but for a businesses this is only part of what being more agile should really be.
Agile is not something that is solely for technology. Agility can be achieved in lots of different areas. Those who are truly looking at agility across the whole business and not just in areas of technology, will be the ones who can change fast enough and keep up that level of innovation that is needed to meet the expectations of customers in the new digital world we live in.
Bizagi research into enterprise agility found that the majority of companies are being driven by the need for Operational agility (60%) and in response to changing customer expectations (52%). In companies with high levels of transformation, they have identified that this is due to the high expectations of there customers
Enterprise agility is a company’s ability to outperform the competition and drive growth in new, ambiguous situations by learning and adapting when confronted with foreseen and unforeseen circumstances, dilemmas, crises, and complex problems. – Korn Ferry
There are key areas that help business to make sure that they are setting themselves up successfully to take advantage of agile across their business and do not get trapped.
It is vitally important to make sure you have a very clear vision of what it is that you are trying to achieve. Just saying we are going to be agile and getting some teams to start delivering in an agile way is not going to lead to commercial success.
Having a clear vision of what your customers want and expect from you and how envision your business delivering this goal. Clearly communicating how important transformation is will help to make sure that it is high enough a priority for leaders that they take the transformation seriously. This is as much a cultural change as it is operational and will required substantial reinforcement from senior leaders all the way through the organisation.
What do you expect this change to do? What will be the value that you will get out of it? Why do you need to change? When does it need to happen? When you have made the decision communicate it out clearly to all and make sure its being executed.
Remember change is never easy and the more time spent helping those it will effect understand the vision and the strategy the easier it will be to implement the new culture.
- Set up a set of core agility values that can be used to reinforce the importance of the change.
- Engage everyone not a select few, the sooner everyone is on board the easier the change will be.
Having a clear vision will enable you to look at the current operational environment and understand what might need to change to deliver the desired output. This should not be done to deliver a one off, instead we should looked at to try and create a environment that can respond effectively to change. This will make it easier and more stable for the business to deal with change going forward.
This will not be easy but business should not be put off by the challenge. Facing up to how your business actually operates and the culture that it has created can be difficult, but the output that can be generated by creating a culture that is not afraid to fail and where learning and improvement are the drivers will inevitably create a better and more stable working environment.
It is impossible to mitigate all risks before entering a systemic transformation. This is why it is imperative to have operational processes that can respond to change and pressure crested by the transformation. If this is not done the speed and momentum of change will suffer.
When looking at responsiveness below are some examples of the elements we should be looking at assessing and improving.
Being responsive across the operation will enable teams to effect change more easily. New product, processes or technology for example can be absorbed into the operations or effectively if there is flexibility with in them.
The speed at which a business is able to respond even when some form of agility has been achieve will be the test at which it can be bench marked against the market and its competitors. If your business is rapid in its response to change through having agility the it will be able to keep up with the demands of customer and satisfy their growning expectations.
- Ability to adapt
- Speed at which change can happen.
- Speed to market.
- Rapid ability to scale.
- Speed of agility to experiment.
Quality is very important, without it you will not be able to keep customers coming back. Quality should be a part of the culture that has been created and as a business you should make a decisions on how quality and speed work together.
Being fast is not everything if what your delivering doesn’t work and is lacking quality. Remember your customers expectations have increased, they expect the best from you and your business. A balance is required between speed and quality and you won’t get it right to begin. Better to be slower and good and build up speed as your culture, processes and responsiveness matures this is the foundations for enterprise agility.
OHI has carried out some research to help business try and understand where they currently fit.
I like the above as you can quickly check these. This can then be used to place your self on the X & Y axis to see where your business/enterprise sits.
This is not definitive and is only a guide for part of the agility question but is a good quick tool.
I honestly believe that any organisation can utilize agile across their business to deliver effect change especially when it comes to the digitalization question. The question I would always ask is how much you want to change? is it high enough on the list of prioritize? Have you really understood the impact of not being able to change in the current unstoppable wave of digital transformation that is occurring on your business? How quickly are your coneptitors adapting compared to you?
These are questions you can answer, but if the answer is yes then deal with the possible agility traps before you dive head on into the change. Start small and build up and that goes for speed as well. Be prepared to fail more than once and remember communication is the key to culture acceptance.
These are just the ramblings of my dyslexic brain, so please feel free to question and discuss.
until next time…..