Staying Agile as a Business Amidst Increasing Disruption

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Agility basically boils down to how well a business rolls with the punches — it’s all about responding to rapidly shifting conditions with flexibility and innovation rather than letting change make your organization obsolete. And it’s important to remember that agility is not necessarily something that happens automatically by way of existing; it’s something companies need to prioritize and work toward every day.

The truth of the matter is every business is vulnerable to disruption — from the six-month-old startup to the decades-old Fortune 500 behemoth. In fact, a study of 3,600 large business from Accenture found that 63 percent of companies are experiencing disruption. Organizations within every industry are vulnerable to the realities of doing business in today’s fast-paced world.

Here are a few tips for staying agile as a business amidst increasing disruption.

Create an Agile, Innovative Culture

Agility begins with the underlying culture of a company. Even the most nimble, forward-thinking teams will struggle to execute their ideas if the culture at large is continually holding them back.

According to one leadership expert for Forbes, companies should consider following these three laws of Agile:

  • Law of the Customer: Maintaining an obsession with delivering value to customers above all else.
  • Law of the Small Team: Small, self-organizing teams are able to tackle work in short cycles.
  • Law of the Network: Rather than adhering to bureaucracy and top-down hierarchies, the company instead operates as a network of small teams all working toward the same goal of delivering ever-increasing value to customers.

As you can see, the agile mindset challenges business principles of yesteryear build on top-down control and focus on anything else but delivering maximum value to customers at every turn. Without the careful cultivation of this agile culture, individuals and teams will struggle to try out new ideas, make autonomous decisions and collaborate to the fullest.

Make It a Goal to Become Data-Driven

A major part of agility is the ability to make quick decisions that drive positive business outcomes. Having to hem and haw only halts progress. Decision-makers today need the right tools and culture in place to freely ask questions of data, drill down into the answers they receive and put those insights into action when the time is right.

This is why becoming data-driven as a company is a major cornerstone of true agility today. If you’re not there yet, don’t fret. As Harvard Business Review cites, a recent survey found 69 percent of executives representing large corporations “have not created a data-driven organization” yet. Over half admit they’re not yet competing on data and analytics, and more than seven out of 10 have yet to create a data culture.

Becoming data-driven requires the right tools and culture. User-friendly, self-service search analytics are a must. Data leaders are also harnessing artificial intelligence in the form of advanced AI analytics — which deep dive into billions of rows of data to detect potentially useful trends and causal relationships, then bring these findings to the attention of human decision-makers. The right combination of search- and AI-driven analytics helps organizations stay on top of data insights, ensuring fewer relevant insights slip through the cracks.

Have the C-Suite Lead by Example

The C-suite plays a huge role both in terms of the agility a company is able to achieve and the degree to which an organization is data driven. Never has leading by example been so crucial in both areas. Employees will look to leaders for cues on how to think, act and make decisions. Leaders also have the power to “provide necessary funding, training, empowerment and support” to the workforce in these areas.

Becoming and staying agile as a business depends on what leaders prioritize, how organizations utilize data in decision making and how agile-friendly the culture is.

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