The Short Read: What Executives Should Know About Agile Transformation
A 2-minute read to deliver you value-packed info. No fluff included.
On a scale of one to 10, how uncomfortable do the following ideas make you?
1. Rapid experimentation
2. Deconstructing traditional leadership hierarchies
3. Decision making amid uncertainty
If these concepts make you uneasy, keep reading. These are core traits of organizational agility, and ones executives must learn to embrace.
What is agility?
Agility is the ability to quickly pivot organizational strategy to face external factors, and execute without causing major disruption.
Agile organizations rely on adaptive strategy, rapid experimentation and testing, and continuous improvement efforts. Collaboration, creativity, and entrepreneurship are key tenets of organizational agility.
Agile transformation is a strategic necessity
Companies need business agility to maintain an edge in today’s dynamic markets.
As the pace of change continues to accelerate, organizations require flexibility to bend to external forces without buckling from the inside. Leaders must adopt a new mindset, and company cultures must embrace a key shift.
Here are three tips to make your agile transformation a success.
1. Enable greater team autonomy
Traditional leadership hierarchies usually do not allow for agile transformation. This is because employees are conditioned to operate based on systems of authority.
Instead of feeling empowered to contribute innovative ideas, lower ranking employees defer to leaders. Silos across departments prevent collaboration, and bureaucracy can slow the pace of change to a grinding halt.
Instead of a top-down approach, leaders can facilitate agility by granting greater team autonomy.
By giving employees more freedom and trust, you can truly capitalize on the ideas, skills, and creativity of your workforce. An authentic spirit of innovation and ownership will become the cultural norm, as well as the working expectation.
2. Reimagine talent management
A successful agile transformation often requires a new approach to talent management and recruiting. HR and the C-suite should work together to:
- Embed agility as a core brand characteristic to attract the right talent
- Consider new ways of measuring individual employee performance
- Reimagine compensation structures and benefits
- Offer employee development programs and promote nonlinear career paths
Managing talent in an agile organization often requires an investment in advanced HR systems. Training HR staff and employees throughout the company to use these systems effectively is a critical yet often overlooked aspect of agile transformation.
3. Don’t copy and paste
Agility must be implemented thoughtfully. Although the basic principles are universal, agile strategy must come from a deep understanding of your companies needs. Using another company’s strategy as a blueprint for your own, or even relying on the same patterns you may have used in the past, simply won’t work.
An agile transformation can only be successful if the process and structural changes fit your company’s goals. Planning the transformation requires the same traits as maintaining it: creativity, communication, and collaboration.