Around the corporate world, a new catchphrase that is making rounds is – ‘becoming an agile organisation’. Having agility embedded in the system has become a priority for organizations. This wave of transformation has been accelerated due to the pandemic which has compelled companies to implement virtual working, manage the business impact and review the existing policies and practices.
A recent survey by McKinsey & Company found that – agile organizations responded faster to the crisis, while those that do not embrace an agile culture within their organization will lose out on the speed and resilience needed to tackle the ‘next normal’ post the COVID-19 pandemic. Also, more than 70% of the respondents are transforming to agile and changing the culture is their biggest challenge.
The success of companies like Apple, Phillips and ING bank is an example of how effective this method is, if used and adapted correctly.
Traits of an Agile Company
In the industry, there are multifarious ways of defining an agile organisation. What we can derive is that it is an organisation that is quick in reacting to changes in the environment around them. Some of the traits of an agile organisation are as below:
- The goal embodied across the organization
While adopting agility the organization is committed to creating value for the various stakeholders involved; customers, employees, investors, communities. This is achieved by creating distributed & flexible approaches to the process. To support this and give coherence, the organizations set a shared purpose termed as the company’s vision and mission, which is often referred to as the “North Star”. This North Star helps people feel related to the company and guides them with the path to be followed.
- Network of empowered teams
Rather than the traditional machine organization with a rigid structure, these organizations are more like living organisms with smaller fit to purpose cells(teams). All these teams work in alignment with the North Star and are guided by a strong leadership team. Such an environment allows the teams to work independently and achieve the set goals.
- Rapid decision & learning cycle
The concept of agility gained popularity when companies were hit by the novel virus and quick re-arrangements of work patterns were required. This makes rapid decision making a key trait. These organizations are performance-driven and encourage continuous learning on & off the job. The concepts of annual reports, appraisals are scrapped and are replaced with monthly/ quarterly reports, OKRs. This helps them track performance in real-time and take necessary actions.
- Dynamic people model that ignites passion
The culture of an organization majorly defines its success rate. Serving the clients is important but what matters, even more, is the team serving them. Take any company that has implemented agile working and has a strong leadership team that empowers and develops the people under them to foster productivity and a cohesive working environment.
- Next-generation enabling technology
In order to cater to the new demands and requirements, state of the art technology and infrastructure is a must. Traditional operations need to be digitalized. With evolution, the company needs to have a strong IT team that will help them gear up and meet all the requirements.
Innovation through Agile Culture
If you notice the above traits are all conducive for innovation. To bring in new innovation one needs to be given proper guidance, be aware of the company goals, have adequate resources; all of which is provided in an agile organization.
Every innovation is a radical leap a company takes as it brings some never-known, never-done ideas to the table and turns them into reality, successfully and incessantly. It, in fact, means converting the knowledge and ideas into new or improved products or services, to gain competitive advantages in the market.
Hence, you could say that innovation is the outcome of a process that ensures a continuous flow of projects and programs, channeling the necessary resources and getting it to a successful end.
Coming to agility, it is the concept of value and flow in all processes, thus freeing resources and integrating them especially to the innovation process.
Responding quickly to changes of all kinds and developing new products, services or business models is what most companies need, to innovate. Furthermore, they also need to innovate their own internal processes first, in order to be more competitive or to position themselves well in the right segment.
And thus, the term “Agile Innovation” was coined. Agile innovation is based on an active fusion of these two concepts:
Innovation + Agility = Agile innovation
4 steps to Agile Transformation
Gallup Workplace suggests 4 very effective steps to agile transformations.
- Fit your needs – consider internal & external factors. Map the degree of agility needed.
- Acknowledge different realities – get sponsorship & traction from the top. Give employees the opportunity to make the transformation theirs.
- Transform mindsets & culture – set a vision that resonates across the entire organization. Develop a culture where individuals and teams can thrive.
- Create team synergies – involve managers and employees in re-structuring cross-functional teams. Aim to increase responsiveness and customer value.
Keeping up with the trends is important or your organization will not meet up the industry standards. Agile culture is the next big thing in the process, have it done in the right way and it will embark your team on the right path with innovations and success.
Planning to transform your organization in a way that it’s conducive for innovation? Get in touch with our expert consultants at Kilowott and let us lend you a helping hand you didn’t think you’d need.