In the fast-paced world that we live in, stability and consistency are near impossible in the business arena. Businesses thrive on stability and of course profitability! But busnesses can only be profitable when markets are consistent and managers can plan for a future that is clear. This is definately not the case in today’s business environment. Markets are extremely volatile and complex, there is rapid technological changes and developments, change is frequent, customer needs are not clearly defined with frequent motivational shifts.

What is Business Agility?

For businesses to thrive in such circumstances, they must therefore adopt the strategy of business agility. Business agility is the ability of an organization to:

  • Sense change in the market;
  • Adapt quickly to those market changes;
  • Respond rapidly and flexibly to customer demands;
  • Adapt and lead change in a productive and cost-effective way without compromising quality;
  • Continuously be at a competitive edge in the market.

What are the Pillars of Business Agility?

a- Mindset

Any big endeavour starts with the right midset and the journey to achieving business agility is no exception. One’s perception informs one’s core values and dictates your actions and behaviours. The results of your actions are therefore determined by your mindset. For managers and organizations to adopt the strategy of business agility, they must therefore change their mindset as this will have a direct impact on whether or not their efforts at becoming agile managers and businesses are successful.

b- New Principles

The agile business manager and agile business needs to adopt the following new principles:

  • Satisfaction of the customer is key;
  • Welcome and embrace change by consistently anticipating and adapting to it; never fear or run from it;
  • Deliver frequently and exceed expectations;
  • Work together and create collaborative teams based on trust and continuous support;
  • Reflect and adjust to the ever changing environment;
  • Have continuous face to face conversations with your teams.

c- Change Core Values

The shift for the agile business manager and agile organization should be one geared towards emphasis on:

  • People over processes;
  • Outcome over output;
  • Customer engagement over strict internal focus;
  • Adaptability over rigidity.

d- Re-structuring of Organizational Culture

Leadership will set the tone for any agile business model implementation. It is not enough that one person in the room decides to pursue agility. It must be the whole organization that drives it and it needs to start from the top. Company leaders need to understand and advocate the importance of agility. Doing so enables them to create the right environment where employees are able to experiment and continuously learn how to improve their business processes.

What are the Benefits of Business Agility?

  1. Business agility will give a business competitive edge. Using this framework, a business can outlearn and outperform their competition.
  2. Business agility attracts passionate people who excel in the empowered environment that is created.
  3. Business agility provides companies with the ability to deliver fast and respond quickly. They can offer a great customer experience by organizing quickly and learning rapidly. This is founded on a lean execution that responds immediately to feedback without sacrificing on quality.
  4. Business agility creates innovation and is disruptive, so in a climate of corporate takeovers and declining returns on investments, businesses can produce higher returns and maintain consistency. This is done by understanding change, adapting quickly and optimizing the variables to drive success.

Organization must realize that business agility is a key ingredient in staying relevant in today’s volatile and disruptive market environment. It gives organizations the tools to pivot and successfully get through some of the ambiguity of such an evironment thereby remaining relevant and necessary to its customers and changing market needs. But agility isn’t a one-time project. It demands consistency. Companies need to make business agility a lifestyle.

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