Change is a certainty in all of our worklives now and the ability to adapt to change, to thrive in an environment that seems to do nothing else but change requires a level of Agility that most businesses are simply not equipped to deal with.
This ability, ‘Agility’, is the enterprise’ super power. It can make or break any business but those that develop Agility and make it a primary objective, will ensure success both now and in the long term.
Why is ‘agility’ and the need to adapt to change so critical?
Let’s look at what we have all had to work through and deal with over the past few years alone.
The changing nature of the workforce
All of us will recognize the enormous changes taking place in our workforce. Not only have we all worked through change in gender & race mix as society corrects in-balances from the past, the move in social demographics such as an influx of millenials to the workforce is driving necessary changes in hiring practises & norms, management techniques, compensation & more
Once again, enterprise today needs to excel in a very different climate (excuse the pun) and consider not only its’ own impact on the environment but the concerns and values of its’ staff & its’ customers.
With this shifting over time to the more careful use of resources, include emissions issues, recycling then needing to work through the impact of global warming which morphed somewhat into climate change, the challenges (especially for manufacturing businesses) are significant and for some businesses may even be existential threats.
The growth of manufacturing in Asia and elsewhere has also placed enormous pressure on many enterprises needing to adapt and adopt.
Companies that considered themselves ‘manufacturers’ and needing to remain competitive are now finding that they may need to morph their identity to become distribution businesses and outsource manufacturing for cost reasons offshore.
Competitors for many businesses can spring up overnight by beginning to import goods and hang up a shingle.
How do established suppliers then deal with what may be smaller, nimble and cost effective rivals opening up with little of the capital required that the older, established companies have outlayed.
Paralell to all of the changes listed above, a consistent theme of technology change runs throughout. Investment in software and hardware can no longer be something that is made once every decade or so if business’ want to remain competitive and relevant.
Outsourcing of key functions, mobile workers, communication systems, the need to have your technology choices quickly adapt to your needs as these change over time are all major challenges and require a focus that is foreign to many companies.
For example, today you’ll hear people refer to “Slacking” over information. We have all ‘zoomed’ with others.
Cloud based enterprise software solutions for CRM & ERP are now a must – these pose challenges in configuring and customizing them fast enough to continue to meet your needs.
Faced with all of this and more change the giant enterprise of the future will require unparalleled levels of agility.
How then do you develop Enterprise Agility?
First – realize that to develop any competitive advantage there will be a cost in time & money. Consider just the list above of challenges and all of the other change that your business is having to work through every single day.
Becoming agile could mean the difference between survival and thriving as an enterprise or complete failure. There will be a cost to this.
Next .. actively endeavour to develop agility.
Take a close look at every aspect of your business and identify those areas where you may be lagging.
Some clues .. if you are struggling with staff retention – especially those minorities above or millenials, it is a clear sign that you are not developing agility fast enough
Audit your companies practises in the areas of
- Recruitment & HR
- Work environment
- Policies (such as environmental and other)
- Technology acquisition
For example, consider adopting a flipped workplace model in which in-person meetings take place only rarely and as needed.
It is expected that by 2025 around 70 percent of the workforce will work remotely five or more days per month. Adopt communication tools like Zoom and Slack.
Consider the ability for teams to work remotely.
And, when purchasing software solutions ensuring that these are easily configurable to deal with change in your organization as without a doubt change will be a constant for a long time to come.