These days everyone is talking about agility, mobility and ability to change in the business environment. Across the marketing department, sales and operations and by everyone from the CEO to administrators and across all sectors these words are quite often used. While some may have heard enough of them, others continue to wonder what agility, mobility and change means for their particular business. Ultimately, however, everyone seems to be seeking advice on how to successfully achieve these things. This article will provide you with 3 simple steps to getting your head around agility and change.
During the Digital Project Management Conference held in Manchester at the end of January, I had an opportunity to listen to some great experts who really know their stuff. Out of these fantastic speakers, Paul Boag really stood out and has definitely hit the nail on the head.
Here we go then… If you’re already aware that agility and change is something your business really needs to embrace to grow, that is a good start. Unfortunately, realising does nothing to making it happen. So to make it happen, you have to act! How? Let’s start with the fundamentals!
Tip no 1 – Change your outdated style of management – lead instead
Agility is the goal that will continue to be tomorrow and in the future. When embracing it, it is particularly important to realise the significance of “leaders” in your business over and above sometimes unsuccessful “managers”. Setting own employees free, allowing them to work flexibly, empowering, letting use their skills and be creative can transform businesses into an environment of healthy competition with one objective and clear outcome – increased productivity.
Instead of maintaining a hierarchal and often dictatorial based business structure the time has come for more flexibility in the way owners and MDs “lead” not “manage” a businesses. In order to be really successful we have to stop managing but leading our teams. I’m not saying scrap traditional business management styles but the idea and the recipe for a success is the ability to adapt to a changing environment – to achieve this we must make sure that our teams are able to explore their creativity, talent and expand their horizons to ultimately support your business with new insights and vision.
That organisational flexibility is also important because of generation Z who have already started entering job market and are bringing with them a demand for this different culture and approach of work. Lack of elasticity and sticking with a managerial style that doesn’t take into account surrounding reality of this young workforce will not help you to take your business to the next level. Moreover, in the future working environment and workplace ethos will be a far bigger battleground for attracting talent than mere money!
Prepare for the age of mobility! With more businesses and other organisations actively embracing business mobility in a strategy for productivity and growth, remote working and employee’s ability to fully utilise software, applications and data outside the office is an important part of daily tasks. New technologies, many cloud based, are providing an abundance of possibilities on how to mobilise a business and enhance remote working. If you already haven’t, get hold of Remote – Office not Required by 37signals – no 1 bestseller in business categories every business owner and MD out there should read to understand how remote working is the key to agility.
Tip no 2 – Form the right digital strategy
Let’s be honest – digital is the future and that is a fact any business shouldn’t ignore. The dramatic rise of digital marketing has forced businesses and organisations to respond to their costumers’ needs and to change traditional methods of communicating their message. Now, it has to be accessed instantly from any device and anywhere the consumer happens to be. Nobody buys a newspaper or trade magazine to find what they need anymore and business has to adapt. Sadly, only a few businesses have a solid digital strategy in place to effectively deliver the real value stakeholders are seeking. More importantly however, for many of these businesses who continue to neglect the necessity of adapting to digital, failure may be just round the corner.
The fundaments of a digital strategy are no different to any traditional businesses strategy and what is different than 10 years ago is just the method of message delivery and depth of communications. While developing a solid digital strategy, it is important to:
- Plan: Set a very few pivotal objectives but make sure they are consistent with the needs of your audience and business objectives.
- Implement: Create a clear framework of how these objectives will be accomplished
- Be consistent: Once you start don’t stop and continue to refine your strategy
- Measure: Once you’ve planned and begun to execute your strategy, step back measure, analyse and refine
Whatever your eventual strategy it should be determined by in-depth research into your target market but don’t forget that the focus should be on people – understand what it is that bothers them and serve them a solution for their need.
Tip no 3 – Take care of your stakeholders
Digital is the way forward and a number of successful businesses have already proved it. However, all these huge prosperous companies underwent a long journey of changing not just their strategies but their organisation’s culture. Stakeholders are not merely potential customers. Stakeholders are also the people within your organisation who are equally important to the overall success with winning and keeping customers. Therefore, the key is to make sure that your team is on-board and engaged in the change journey with you, and that filters across in the way they deliver the added value your clients need.
Perspective customers expect to be educated and your role is to provide the most accurate and personalised content you can. User centric should be the ultimate focal point of any steps your organisation takes.
In a nutshell, making an effort to comply with user requirements dictated by current trends and foreseeing future demands will have a great impact on your business. Most importantly, the flexibility and ability to change has to be rooted right through your organisational culture. The next step is to develop the right strategy with clear objectives and consistent implementation not forgetting it has to be refined all the time. So don’t just make changes, continue to change, to adapt and naturally your business will become agile.