What is agility in business? You need not worry if you can’t answer this right now.
No doubt, by the time you’re done going through every section of this article, you’ll have an in-depth understanding of what this term means and its various applications in business.
What Is Business Agility? – What Is Agility in Business
Business agility is when a business can skillfully respond, adapt, and provide value to a complex, ambiguous, uncertain, volatile, and ever-changing world.
You can also add that a business can deal with uncertainty, complexity, and changes at all times and gets excellent and improved outcomes.
The quicker a business can adjust its strategies to meet fluctuations and changes in the world and market, the higher its agility.
For a business to be agile, it needs to be stable and fast.
Characteristics of Agile Businesses – What Is Agility in Business
Below are some of the traits that can indicate an agile business:
Quickly Adapt to Changes in Market
Changes frequently happen in the market.
This is because people’s interests, wants, and needs can change for different reasons.
Several businesses struggle to keep up with these changes.
But, businesses that can quickly adapt to these changes are considered agile.
They waste no time in changing their strategies and coming up with creative ideas or innovations to meet the changes in the market.
Rapid and Flexible Response – What Is Agility in Business
Another characteristic of an agile business is its ability to flexibly and rapidly respond to customers and their needs.
They stay on top of issues concerning their customers.
When they need to be flexible, they don’t waste time doing that.
For example, an agile business can easily attend to the needs of its customers at very short notice.
When you talk about companies that lead change, you refer to agile companies.
Agile businesses are the ones that bring about new development and movements that other businesses imitate.
They know when and how to start the new big thing that will make them keep thriving in any environment they find themselves in.
Continuous Edge over Competitors – What Is Agility in Business
Finally, agile businesses can quickly respond to customers, adapt to market changes, and lead change.
As a result, they continuously have an edge over competitors.
They don’t struggle to get customers or fight for the market because they continuously do things that will make customers seek them.
So, you can say that business agility can help businesses achieve success.
The Framework for Business Agility – What Is Agility in Business
Organizations or companies should create a framework that will help them thrive and survive in ambiguous or complex environments to achieve business agility.
This framework has five essential elements.
The agility of these different elements combined determines if a business is agile.
These elements include:
A company’s culture gives it its identity, which is mostly influenced by different factors ranging from beliefs, size, and values.
Events and people can also influence it.
Hence, this is why building an agile culture that will help you thrive in a volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous world of business is essential.
Some of the values, practices and beliefs that will help you build an agile culture in your company include:
Transparency and Trust – What Is Agility in Business
To build an agile culture, you need to practice transparency and value trust.
In other words, promote openness and honesty in your company’s workplace.
Be open with your employees, and encourage them to be open with one another.
When a company practices transparency and value trust, the employees will be free to share their creative ideas and innovation.
Overall, this will help such a company have different great ideas to help them thrive and survive in different situations and environments.
Distributed Authority and Collaboration
When you don’t practice collaboration in your workplace, it will be difficult for people to brainstorm and work together.
For a company to have an agile culture, its employees should be capable of effectively working with one another to achieve their desired results.
Furthermore, authority should be distributed in a workplace to promote an agile culture.
This is because one person cannot make all the decisions and rapidly respond to different issues.
A company that wants to be agile should promote a culture where team leaders and sometimes team members can make decisions concerning their job.
Fulfilment and Well-being – What Is Agility in Business
A company that promotes the well-being and fulfilment of its employees has an agile culture.
Your company cannot swiftly and easily deal with changes and fluctuations if its employees are stressed, unhappy, unaccomplished, burned out, and exhausted.
This is because they will not have the right mindset to generate ideas and innovation to deal with issues, challenges, or problems.
So, to promote an agile culture, you need to promote the well-being and fulfilment of your employees.
Personal Learning and Mastery
Promote a workplace where your employees can learn and master different skills.
Allow them to make thoughtful experiments and reflective practices to help them build their strengths.
When your employees are skilled, you will enjoy the benefits of your business.
Adaptableness to Change – What Is Agility in Business
Promote a workplace where change is accepted and adapted to.
Teach your employees that change can occur anytime, and they need to be ready to face it whenever it comes.
Overall, a company’s culture will be agile when it implements the above.
Agile Leadership – What Is Agility in Business
Leadership significantly determines the success and abilities of a business.
A leadership that is only involved in influencing and guiding the actions and thoughts of the employees within the company will not achieve business agility.
This is because such leadership will only guide the employees based on their knowledge and skills.
This is what sets traditional leaders apart from agile leaders.
Agile leaders seek to see their subordinates grow and also become leaders.
They believe that everybody has the potential to grow and still work towards organizational goals and shared purposes.
These leaders know that different ideas, views, and perspectives are needed for business success in a world of complexity, uncertainty, and ambiguity.
In light of that, companies with agile leadership are more flexible, adaptable, and resilient than others without.
As a result, they can easily respond and adapt to different situations and environments.
The following are principles that can make you an agile leader:
More Your Actions than Your Words
To be an agile leader is to “do” more than “say”.
It is not about promoting or driving for change but about being that change.
In other words, you should lead by example.
Actively participate in your business responsibilities and inspire people.
Develop yourself to be empathic and humble by portraying qualities such as kindness, care, and compassion for your subordinates.
Work on yourself first before helping others.
Improved Thinking – What Is Agility in Business
Agile leaders know that their thinking habits affect their actions and results.
So, they value good thinking habits.
When there is a problem, they view it from different angles.
Agile leaders make sure that they stay grounded in reality while seeking information for their problem-solving and decision-making.
Furthermore, they give themselves time to think and focus on their priorities.
So, to be an agile leader, you need to have improved thinking to help you achieve better results.
Solicit Constructive Feedback
Some leaders perceive receiving feedback from their subordinates and others to be a negative or unnecessary experience.
However, it is not.
To be an agile leader, you should receive and solicit constructive feedback.
Receiving constructive feedback will indicate where and how you need to improve.
Don’t stop there!
Make the needed improvement and show those who provide the feedback that you value them.
You should model receiving feedback, as it will make those under you more open to receiving yours.
Share Purpose and Meaning – What Is Agility in Business
People work better and enjoy their work when they understand the purpose and meaning of their work.
Giving or allocating tasks to someone without letting them understand what they are for might make them less motivated to perform well.
When a goal is to be achieved, work to align your employees’ mindsets and values by sharing a common purpose and meaning.
Ensure that people know and understand what they are working on.
Let People Be Human
To be an agile leader, learn to inspire and encourage others to be their best at their task.
You need to understand that humans’ emotions are a great fuel in bringing out the best in people.
People can achieve more when they work and rely on their emotions.
When you can respect and encourage your workers to be human, they will become more innovative and creative.
Recognize, Appreciate, and Develop Potentials – What Is Agility in Business
Agile leaders develop more leaders.
They do this by recognizing, appreciating, and developing potential.
You cannot do this without giving people opportunities to lead.
Doing this works to improve people’s abilities and creates an agile culture where people can thrive.
Empower and Motivate
Agile leaders know that people perform better whenever they are engaged, enabled, and energized.
Being able to empower people is necessary for agile leaders to balance any emerging need and reduce tension in people for them to effectively and swiftly respond to the market.
You need to understand that empowering people is not a “go big or go home” concept.
Rather, it’s a continuous leadership behaviour and action that effectively respond to the pressing change context.
Build Good Relationships – What Is Agility in Business
Agile leaders develop and maintain good working relationships based on respect and trust.
They provide their subordinates with all they require to operate while letting them function autonomously within their jurisdiction efficiently.
These leaders promote a positive working environment by being forgiving, generous, positive, and showing gratitude.
Building good relationships and promoting a positive working environment will encourage development and learning that will benefit your business.
Listen to People’s Ideas
Anyone can generate a good or great idea.
To be an agile leader, you need to understand this and be ready to listen to people’s ideas regardless of their position or status.
Allow people to share their opinions and ideas, listen to them, reflect on those ideas and see how you can effectively use them.
Even if an idea is bad, don’t shun it.
Rather, appreciate it, encourage people, and help them understand that not all ideas are great.
Agile Strategy – What Is Agility in Business
Companies utilize strategies to develop, adapt, describe, and implement advanced plans to accomplish their high-level goals.
Agile strategies are different from traditional strategies as they are more detailed and capable of evolving to respond to events or issues at a relevant pace.
When implementing an agile strategy, the following can help to enhance its success:
- Ensure that everybody involved in implementing and executing the strategy is aligned with it and understands that there can be a need to make changes.
- Apply it step by step and watch how effective it is and if it needs to change.
Agile Governance – What Is Agility in Business
Governance in business determines a business’s method of setting and meeting its objectives, the approaches to managing its risks, and the method of optimizing its performance.
It is the process and structure for building accountability and making decisions in business.
Agile governance is set on core agile practices, values, and behaviours that enable a business to thrive in an uncertain, complex, volatile, and ambiguous world.
It is characterized by portraying consistent control and transparency in all performance and processes throughout the different levels of a company.
In other words, it is when you can govern all your organizational work at different levels while providing clarity and transparency.
The following tips can help you promote agile governance:
Efficient Team Collaboration
Every organization needs its teams to collaborate.
Agile governance promotes sharing knowledge between all levels and teams through an organization while fostering collaboration.
It doesn’t do this by forcing the teams to work effectively and perform together.
Rather, it provides tools and workspaces that enable them to be organized and deliver.
Agile governance works to improve and promotes an agile culture in an organization.
Measure Performance Metrics
Some teams are responsible for carrying out the decisions of agile governance.
These teams need to track their performance metrics to promote the success of their agile governance.
Therefore, utilizing empirical and agile performance metrics will help them track their delivery effectiveness.
While doing this, agile governance will encourage them to learn fast after they fail.
This will help them constantly track their delivery and performance and quickly improve whenever or wherever they are lacking.
Focus on Team Practices and Behaviors
Agile governance encourages agile mindset throughout an organization.
So, to promote agile governance, you need to work to improve employee engagement and good communication.
Agile governance is supportive and simple.
It trusts its teams and appoints them with authority to make decisions that will ensure it delivers well.
So, you should regularly communicate with all your team members and assure and offer them support.
When you monitor them, you should do that in a soft tone.
Reflect on their delivery and seek ways to help them improve.
These people are naturally inquisitive and apt at developing their talents and skills through study and experience.
They are comfortable in agile companies and organizations because they can easily learn and develop themselves while working for or with them.
Agile people can develop creative ideas and innovations to help them deal with different situations.
Overall, some qualities that characterize agile people include adaptability, listening skills, proactiveness, collaboration skills, disciple, and continuous learning.
Conclusion on What Is Agility in Business
Agility in business is the ability of a company to effectively and rapidly respond and adapt to changes and complexities in the business world.
Likewise, a business that has agility is referred to as an agile business.
Their swift adaptability characterizes them to changing markets, quick and flexible responses to customers, lead movement, and continuous edge over competitors.
Therefore, to be truly an agile business, a business needs to have several agile people working and thriving in an agile culture enabled by an agile leader with agile governance and strategy.
In a nutshell, a significant percentage of a business’s agility depends on the company’s leadership type.
So, you should earnestly work to improve yourself to be an agile leader.