Agile Organizations are needed to survive and thrive in an ever-increasing complex business world. This post covers how to create one.
Companies that have gone extinct suffered the same problem.
The decreased lifespan of a company is a result of leaderships’ inability to adjust to changing technologies and business environments. As a leader of a company, you must make sure you create an agile organization to be able to adjust to these rapid changes. An organization should act like a body of water rather than a rigid ship that would sink if it ran into issues like a huge storm or an iceberg. Organizations that have stayed rigid, crumbled with external and internal pressure from rapid advances in technology and sudden changes in market conditions.
What you can do to prevent your company from being another name on the same list with Kodak, Toys-r-us, Blockbuster, and many others?
What is an agile organization?
An Agile organization is an organization that can quickly react to changes and threats. I believe to do this, you need not only the ability to move fast and easily, but you also need the ability to be flexible. Flexibility is not just the ability to change posture without breaking, It’s also being anti-fragile. The best state that an organization can reach anti-fragility, a state where nothing can break the organization.
How to create an agile organization:
4 elements that will define if an organization is agile and anti-fragile.
- Project and progress are treated as evolution (long, but made of small adjusted steps) not revolution (long planning and one goal that needs to be reached).
- How fast and redundant the decision-making process is and the implementation of decisions.
- Employee empowerment: Can employees in the company’s peripheral decide by themselves and which decisions can they take?
- The company structure set for rigidity or anti-fragility.
As an organization is more evolutionary in their approach to project and processes, decisions are redundant, taken and executed faster, employees in the peripheral can make decisions and the structure support anti-fragility; the organization is more agile.
Evolution vs Revolution – Organizations that take the evolution approach will perform projects and daily tasks in small steps. They will test the process, the outcome, and adjust the next steps. There will be a goal with the flexibility to change it based on reality and results. On the other hand, Revolutionary organizations will create a detailed project plan and clear goals. They will be focused on achieving what was decided and in the way it was decided.
Decision making and executing – Decision making and executing influence one another. The benefits of having a sole decision-maker are that the decision is quick. The drawback to having a single decision-maker is that they are slow to implement and provides no redundancy. On the other hand, having multiple people in the decision process will benefit the implementation process and provides redundancy. The drawback to having multiple people in the process will be it taking longer for everyone to agree. This element takes some balancing as the benefits from each side have disadvantages.
Employee empowerment – In complex environments, employees dealing with externals (customers, vendors, officials, analysts, etc.) need to be able to make a fast decision without the involvement of upper management. This concept is important when the associate is dealing with customers. This approach requires more self-management and distribution of decision making to employees.
The company structure – Many company structures such as; hierarchical, matrix, flat, a hierarchy of groups, decentralize/distributed groups, and decentralize/distribute employees are used by organizations today. All these types of structures provide different attributes to companies’ anti-fragility. From rigid and fragile structure that is easy to manage, all the way to an anti-fragile structure that is very hard to manage. Every organization needs to make tough decisions about which organization structure they want to use, or to be more accurate which elements from management systems they want to use.
Each one of these four elements influences the ability of your organization to operate in today’s world and to survive and thrive in the future. Keep in mind that each option comes with advantages and disadvantages, in which you will need to explore in detail what works best for you.
If you have any questions regarding this important topic, I will be happy to set up a time to discuss and contribute information from our knowledge and experience. Please contact me on Facebook Messanger, Message me via LinkedIn, or drop me a line to firstname.lastname@example.org )