How to establish organisational agility

With digitalisation gaining momentum; organisational agility – the ability to keep up with trends, competitors and developments in technology has becoming increasingly vital for business performance.

A business’ capability to transform rapidly and smoothly can be a make or break factor, which is why knowing how to establish this organisational agility is crucial.

Creating a team centric culture

An article by The Economist (2016) shows that in order for an organisation to become and stay agile, teams are vital. Rather than a conventional hierarchy, The Economist reports that employees are working together rather than “reporting upwards.”

This is reiterated by a Gallup study (2016) which suggests that if an organisation is to maintain a sense of flexibility, strategic teams who collaborate increase the chance of companies becoming more ‘nimble.’

The key to a company’s success when implementing a team-centric culture is to keep team’s small, this maintains focus and in turn a more agile work performance.

Impact of leadership speed

Founder of two leadership development firms, Joseph Folkman believes that the key to organisational agility is ‘leadership speed.’

In 2016, Joseph highlighted that the impact on the organisational speed is through this. “What we found is, leadership speed drove engagement [..]employees love when stuff gets done, and they hate when stuff does not get done – they hate stalling and they love quick.”

He added that, as leadership speed goes up, the productivity of the organisation goes up – which of course means a positive impact on organisational agility.

Communication is key

Communication is vital in any environment, relationship and business. In order to ensure your organisation is agile and responsive, now it is more important than ever to have healthy internal communication.

With a good communication system in place, employees work better in teams, becomes faster and far more engaged. Innovations and structures are become easier and faster to embed as employees are encouraged to question each other.

Forbes (2016) says that: “To remain competitive, companies cannot depend solely on trickle-down communication models—instead, they must resonate in real time. The entire organization must clearly communicate company goals and strategies at all times.”

The importance of mindset

The culture of an organisation is highly dependent on the mindset of its employees and leaders. Without a growth mindset, organisational agility becomes difficult as the business remains restricted and unable to adapt.

Great Place To Work recently wrote an article emphasising its importance by referring to examples from Jim Collins and Tom Porras’ book ‘Built to Last’: “One example of a fixed mindset leader comes from David Rockefeller, CEO of Chase Manhattan Bank in the 1960s and 70s. Rockefeller was notorious for disapproving of his employees to the point that they lived in fear of his reactions. If he didn’t like ideas he would yell and bang on tables, dictating everything to his liking. This environment stifles innovation, and inhibits an organization’s ability to react to change effectively.”

The growth mindset that is required can be achieved with a culture of continuous learning. When speaking about agility, Marian Willeke stated in her 2016 presentation that a growth mindset seeks challenges, uses failure as a learning curve and challenges itself. She states that: “Learning culture equals agile values.”

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