The article notes that Agile approaches sprung from a software development method that directs self-organizing and cross-functional teams towards collaborative development efforts. The approach includes adaptive planning and continual improvement, and centrally encourages rapid and flexible responses to change. Part of the strategy includes a short feedback loop where team members report daily on tasks achieved and possible roadblocks, and the co-location of teams to enable face-to-face interaction and cycle time reduction.
A recent PA report shows that organizational agility drives financial performance and is the most important factor in helping firms react to technology, customer, and societal change. The survey of 500 senior business leaders found that the top 10% of businesses by financial performance are nearly 30% more likely to be “agile” firms.
Ken says: “As radical change transforms the world we live in, organizations must evolve at pace. One in six of the companies we surveyed acknowledged that unless they evolve, they risk failure within five years. Yet we see organizational agility efforts transforming well-established financial institutions, household names, and industry stalwarts, establishing the conditions that have made them fit for the future.”
He adds: “This research, and our experience, proves that embracing organizational agility is the most effective way to get ahead of the competition, and ensure your organization thrives, today and tomorrow."
Other key findings from the report were that two-thirds of leaders believe that their business model needs a fundamental rethink, and that 60% believe complex organizational structures are slowing them down. A further 72% cite organizational agility as a top strategic priority, while a majority are more concerned about disruption from digital natives than traditional competitors.
Ultimately, an effective agility shift seems to depend on either having or creating the right type of culture. Two-thirds of leaders said that organizational agility is more about shifting a culture than implementing a new process. As such, PA recommends putting about 80% of their agility effort on culture. “Without making sure you’ve got the right culture and processes, any agile initiative is likely to be temporarily effective at best,” the report notes. Since culture shifts can be a complex and difficult challenge, organizations often bring in experienced consulting firms for support.
The PA report identified five factors key to organizational agility, and common to high-performing firms.
Sam says: “As a business leader right now, we've never been afforded a better opportunity to adapt and transform – to truly understand our customers' motivations, to harness the power of technology to create ingenious products and services and to find creative and effective ways to engage and empower our people."
He adds: “We've seen first-hand how organizations can beat their numbers and deliver higher all-round performance as a result of taking these five perfectly achievable steps."
Did you know the top 10% of financial performers are 30% more agile than the rest?