Four insights from SEACON 2022
The Study of Enterprise Agility Conference (SEACON) welcomed leaders from around the world to discuss how to succeed by focusing on purpose, flow of value and outcome delivery. And we were there to join the conversation, so we can keep you up to date with the latest agility insights.
Fuelled by insights into technology and pandemic responses, the biggest takeaway was that hyperchange is inevitable over the next decade. This will be an era of ‘make or break’ for organisations, with the ability to respond to uncertainty being the differentiator.
Leaders at the conference were particularly focused on four trends:
Net Zero targets and their related reporting will require collective change. The entire organisation will need to be involved, from data and product design teams through to operations and supply chain. It’s not enough to set up green initiatives in pockets.
As companies scale, they tend to become more complex and more wasteful. Digital infrastructure and business design must ruthlessly pursue lean processes, focusing on value delivery to achieve sustainable outcomes for both the business and the environment.
Sudden shocks like COVID-19 only make it clearer that organisational agility is essential, not optional. A siloed mindset and structure cause mistrust and confusion, making it impossible to adopt large-scale change effectively. Leadership in the pandemic required close ongoing communication, shared goals and empowered cross-functional teams.
New business technologies
The top three cloud providers have said their services will be Net Zero by 2030. And in March 2022, the US Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) put forward a proposal for all US public companies to report on their carbon emissions. As supplier innovation and government mandates increase, rethinking operational processes will be vital.
What does all this point to?
The world is changing, and organisations must change with it. Organisational agility is and will be crucial for harnessing continuous adaptability. And we know that the top 10 financial performers are 30 per cent more likely to demonstrate five dimensions of agility.
But we know that achieving organisational agility is hard. Six out of 10 leaders told us they knew they had to become more agile, but that embedding the change and scaling it was a struggle.
To overcome this challenge, Sam Bunting, PA organisational expert, shares four keys to agility with SEACON 2022.
1. Build genuine and unanimous top team commitment
Senior leaders must be hands-on and visible for agility to be possible. All the senior management team needs to be on board with why the business wants to be more agile and what it wants to get out of it. Commitment must be tangible and unshakable.
2. Create the conditions for success upfront
Making a lasting success of agility means doing work in advance, from making sure you have a culture of curiosity to deciding how to measure results and tell success stories. Just ‘getting on with it’ without preparing won’t succeed.
3. Cut out the compromises
The biggest risk to an agile transformation is the temptation to water down the design and key decisions at the first sign of difficulty. Sometimes making a success of agility means sticking to your guns and not sliding back into old habits.
4. Accept that tomorrow’s leaders will be different to today’s
Inevitably, there will be tough decisions along the road to becoming agile. Some people will embrace the change, others might resist it. New leaders might not be the obvious candidates. The potential might lie elsewhere, and you’ll need the right mix of newcomers and homegrown people to tackle the inevitable politics.