As market space becomes expansive and the world shrinks further in terms of global connectivity and availability, almost all sales organizations find themselves looking at a new challenge every day. In this competitive landscape, it if difficult to survive if one does not have the flexibility to adapt to emerging trends and changing market demands. Managing organizational change requires the right mix of agile technology, business process design, and sales performance management expertise.
If an organization fails to adapt to continuous changes in the market, they run the risk of becoming obsolete and irrelevant. One example of a trigger of change is competition in market place – from both companies and technology solutions. Almost every day someone comes up with new solution to perform tasks faster and with more accuracy. Or a cheaper clone of current top-of-the-line solution springs up almost overnight.
Agile methodology is the key to staying on top of organizational change. Let’s look into what does organizational agility mean and how the methodology is adapted for business.
What is Organizational Agility?
Organizational Agility is an approach of doing business:
- It’s the ability to quickly and simultaneously try out new things and move on if they do not pan out, without incurring losses.
- It’s the confidence and courage to expand the organizations’ offerings to things outside its comfort zone or expertise.
- It’s the freedom to launch new projects without the need to plan every detail in advance. It is enough to have basic guidelines in place for moving into execution. The next steps can be fleshed out with the help of feedback.
Agile methodology is the key to staying on top of organizational change.
So how do you know if an organization is agile? You will spot some traits and signs in their employees and their culture:
- Employees support change: Constant changes in strategy with least resistance from the employees.
- Agile methodology concepts actively applied: Agile best practices and philosophy are adapted and applied to regular business processes.
- High engagement: Management and employees are extremely engaged and invested in seeing the projects succeed.
- Vision-driven culture: Organization’s vision is deeply rooted in the culture and also the hearts and minds of the employees.
- Dedicated leadership: A leadership team that believes in the agile way of working and is committed to establishing and sustaining an agile-driven organization. Without their initiative and commitment, it is difficult to get the agile initiatives off the ground.
You may ask why an organization would want to become agile if everything is going fine for them. Why fix it, if it isn’t broken, right? While it sounds counter intuitive to start implementing an initiative that is disruptive by nature, the advantages that an agile organization reaps are many.
Benefits of having an Agile Organization
- Change does not cause stress: The organizational culture shifts to accommodate change. No matter the cause, the way to handle change is so obvious to the people at various levels of the organization that it the time and effort required to bring people on the same page is almost negligible.
- Individual goals tie in with organizational goals: People no longer feel disconnected with the organizational level shifts in structure, process or short- and long-term goals. Everyone is prepared to tweak their roles and their expectations – from co-workers, organization and themselves – with every new shift.
- Feedback becomes second nature: Every process is built to take in and correctly process the feedback that it receives. Many processes are good at collecting feedback, but absorbing the lessons and adjusting the process according to the feedback is just important to the process.
- Right people in the right places: People who can drive the desired results, behaviors and systems are in charge.
- Processes with checkpoints, autonomy to key people: All processes are developed to have various checkpoints, where its integrity and relevance is re-checked and adjusted repeatedly. The key drivers have relative autonomy to ensure that they are able to execute their tasks, without having to look over their shoulder and constantly justify each of their decisions.
- Flatter hierarchy: Constant communication of strategy, direction, and purpose from the management results in employees feeling more connected to their jobs. They are motivated to contribute towards the collective success and go beyond personal agendas and job descriptions. The management cannot afford to be bureaucratic and rigid to sustain agility.
Once you have decided to go agile, cultivating some cultures and mindsets can help you adapt more smoothly and easily.
Communication drives change and fosters organizational agility.
Cornerstones of an Agile Organization
Culture of Innovation: History has shown time and again that organizations that keep a channel open for innovation and keep digging for new possible revenue streams, even when things are going great, end up reaping the benefits of their forward thinking. Something that sound too far out today, may end up being the most mainstream and popular product tomorrow. Not everything will succeed, but keeping this channel open will ensure you find a gem every once in a while.
Readiness to Adopt Flexibility: This is not as easy to develop as it may sound. It may seem like flexibility is already an integral part of the work culture, as people are getting flexible with their time, roles, and resources. However, when it is looked at in the context of organizational agility, flexibility often comes to mean how easily, effortlessly, and efficiently leaders, people, and units are able to change and align to new key goals.
Collective Sense of Direction: Without the right direction and focus, even the most robust processes would not be able to contribute to the growth of the organization. The direction comes from the leadership, which should ideally trace its roots from sound market trend analysis, which in turn arises out of data collection and analysis.
Clear, Precise and Consistent Communication: The intent, reasons, and benefits of embracing organizational change and agile methodology must be communicated effectively to everyone who would be affected. Communication is the key to bring in the organizational agility that can sustain continuous change and leverage it for growth and market share.
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