Developing Business agility is key to thriving through the age of digital disruption

Paul Jenkinson says the research-backed methods of Business Agility provide knowledge, skills and tools resulting in positive outcomes for individuals, teams and the organisation.

Consider what we already know about the world.

We’re living through a digital technology evolution – the pace and scale of which is constantly accelerating. 

The lines between IT and the business are blurring, there is ongoing disruption to your people and business model, competition to your products and services and for your best people is also on the rise. And none of this is going to slow or disappear anytime soon.

Now, let’s take a look at where business agility fits within this new world.

Business Agility addresses the simple things

Imagine if you worked in an organisation where the capabilities and traits required to be resilient, nimble, adaptable, constantly learning and improving were developed and supported all the time through your business practices.

These are simple, intuitively logical things that are rarely applied – some dismiss this as ‘new-age rubbish’ – but there’s ample evidence proving that this type of focus delivers significant business and personal value.

What if every meeting started with a 2-minute mindfulness exercise to ensure participants were present and single minded about the task at hand and had a sharpened focus on appropriate participation and required outcomes. 

What if every meeting included a quick round-the-table emotion awareness check-in to ensure all attendees were in the right emotional space to be most effective and were afforded the empathy and support required. This might mean giving the support required to allow the hard conversation to take place that everyone knows needs to happen but usually shies away from.

What if the team members self-selected their actions and responsibilities, based on their strengths and capacities.

What if every meeting concluded with a 5-minute retrospective on the behaviours and performance of those in the meeting against your agreed behavioural and performance standards.

These are simple, intuitively logical things that are rarely applied – some dismiss this as ‘new-age rubbish’ – but there’s ample evidence proving that this type of focus delivers significant business and personal value. 

Business agility drives sustainable improvement to your business performance and is a key to retaining your best talent – and getting the best out of them to remain competitive.
 

Need further proof? 

Dan Pink, the author of “Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us” tells us motivation and performance are boosted when you have a culture of autonomy, mastery and purpose.  People need these conditions to thrive.

Simon Sinek, the author of “Start with Why”, says most of us seem to start by thinking about “what we do”, then look to “how we do it”, then – maybe – we’ll consider “why we do it”.

However, he says all of the really successful people and organisations in the world operate from their purpose for existing. From there, they “then” look to how they do what they do.

So, for workers to be productive and agile, they need to start with a ‘why’ they can believe in and commit to – a sense of purpose, they also need to be in control, flex their strongest muscles and work in a collaborative, learning environment.

So, for workers to be productive and agile, they need to start with a ‘why’ they can believe in and commit to – a sense of purpose, they also need to be in control, flex their strongest muscles and work in a collaborative, learning environment.

Neuroscience research supports this, citing evidence of stronger performance, productivity and profitability where people and teams have developed a range of traits and practices including mindfulness, growth mindsets, strength based management, and self-managed teams to name a few.

How can you create real change? 

You need to start small. You need to look to boost resilience, learning, positivity, creativity, collaboration and efficiency within your people and team(s).

Start with a 1-day team-forming workshop, introducing the key attributes needed for building business agility. And do it in an interactive and engaging away that highlights where you want to get to as a team.  

Organisations that invest in building business agility see improved transparency, innovation and collaboration, in addition to better performance and decision making and less stressed employees.

Come away from the day with a set of tools for making this real, including a passion to play canvass, implementation plan and a bunch of other practical stuff to start you on your journey. Use these tools to embed these attributes within your team.

Look for a partner that will ‘teach you how to fish’ so you can replicate and build sustainable capability across your organisation. Baseline your team’s maturity against a business agility model and develop relevant KPIs and reporting metrics so you can measure the benefits and ROI from your investment. And a good partner will provide coaching until you can fish on your own!

Organisations that invest in building business agility see improved transparency, innovation and collaboration, in addition to better performance and decision making and less stressed employees. 

All of this results in greater engagement, productivity and profitability so you can compete in our markets that are being constantly disrupted.

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About the Author

Paul Jenkinson is Transformation Lead at CSC Consulting. Since joining the team in 2006 he’s delivered business transformation, change management and project management expertise to clients including the Victorian Department of Justice, ANZ Bank, Minerals and Metals Group and Fosters. He is accredited to deliver Lean Change training.