Does Business Agility Depend on Company Culture?

Author

Daniel Newman

July 14, 2016

Business agility describes the nimbleness of a company…; that is, the ability to adapt quickly while empowering everyone associated with the brand. It’s a trait many companies desire, but few possess. Agility sets winners apart, and it’s only as strong as its weakest link—people.

In the modern business world, several forces propel agility:

  • Rapid technological advancement
  • Increased globalization
  • Shifting legislation
  • Increased demand for transparency

To stay on a path of growth and development, businesses must constantly think about the future and start placing value on innovation, learning, and communication, which are all skills that revolve around human capital.

Exploring Cultural Changes

As disruptions take place more frequently, companies must consider adopting agile business practices as a means to stay current and move ahead. With the acceptance of social media as a means of communication—and as reliance on Big Data becomes the standard—some interesting trends about success begin to emerge. Treating the customer well isn’t the only variable that affects the bottom line. Employees, in both customer-facing and support roles, also play a very important role in financial success.

From a marketing standpoint, consumers want to see companies treating their employees well, and companies are learning that an engaged and empowered workforce gets more done. With this in mind, consider these three practices as a launch pad for change within your own organization:

  1. Prioritize consistent messaging. What you say to your audience and employees matters. What your employees say about your organization also matters. If you can really get behind a solid set of core values that flow through every mission you undertake, you can easily manage the message you send out across all platforms. Weave your brand into the very fabric of your culture to make an impression in the marketplace.
  1. Embrace diminishing barriers between people. Autonomous departments will soon become relics. To find the most cost-effective solutions, people with different viewpoints must work together. Develop teams with multidisciplinary leadership that can handle cross-functional work.
  1. Facilitate bottom-up activities. Top-down leadership is no longer efficient. When employees aren’t part of decision making, they rarely receive solutions to their problems. Empower your employees to take ownership of their work and allow them to make decisions that will help them (and you) to succeed.

Take the Next Steps

Changing the mindsets of leaders and people on the ground is a significant piece of the agility puzzle, but it’s not the only piece. Without the right infrastructure and content to provide teams with support, a business won’t reap the rewards of true agility.

Infrastructure means strategically investing in resources that will allow your employees to showcase their agility rather than merely talk about it. Technological solutions and policies, communication processes, and strategic techniques enable employees to actually live the agile business mantra. Content supports the need for learning and growth—hire talented individuals who are adaptable, then provide them with resources to grow their skills and add even more value.

Start Thinking Differently

Instead of thinking about business as a pyramid with some people on top and everyone else on progressively lower tiers, enterprises now see the value of thinking about a business as a triangle, where everyone plays a distinctive and important role in a company’s success.

As the rate of disruption continues to increase, a holistic and agile approach to business makes the most sense. Companies can either choose to start adapting now, or they can wait until the market forces them to change. Agility doesn’t happen overnight, however. It won’t become a reality simply because someone on the executive committee sends a memo, and it won’t work if only one department makes the change. Leaders must plant seeds of agility within people and encourage them to grow.

This article was written by Daniel Newman from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

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