Business today is all about doing things faster--making decisions faster, identifying trends faster, making mistakes faster, and getting products to market faster. However, you can't become a faster, more agile organization by just snapping your fingers and wishing it so. You've got to first take a number of specific actions that will prepare the members of your team to embrace the transformation.
Says Amanda Setili, an Atlanta-based management consultant, and author of the book The Agility Advantage, "If your markets are changing, which they almost always are, what can you do to stay ahead? In a word, you cultivate agility."
Here are eight specific actions that Setili suggests you take right now to create a business that is faster, more resilient--and more agile.
1. Create focus
It's easy to be distracted by a long list of priorities--and the everyday emergencies and distractions that pop onto our schedules unexpectedly. Create focus by paring down your priorities to a short list of just three or four that absolutely must be done. As you complete each item, then add another to your list.
2. Communicate a clear vision of your intended future
If you want the members of your team to get to where you want them to go--when you want them to get there--then you've got to provide them with a clear and compelling vision of the future. The better your people understand your big-picture objectives, the more quickly they can make the right decisions for your company.
3. Hire the right people and deploy them in the most effective way
According to Amanda Setili, "To be agile, you must have employees who are aligned with your vision and values--and who have or can build the capabilities you need to succeed." This means that you absolutely must get the right people in the right positions in your company--all pulling together, in the same direction.
4. Set an example
As a leader, you set the example for the members of your team to follow. Communicate widely and often, and be honest and transparent. Set the bar high, and your people will follow.
5. Enhance autonomy
Your organization cannot be fast and agile if people have to keep running to you--or to your senior management team--every time a decision has to be made. Push decision-making authority and autonomy down the chain of command, and give your people control over how they do their work.
6. Plan for the unexpected
Smart leaders build flexibility into their budgeting and other processes to quickly accommodate changes in their business environments. While the unexpected is by its very nature unpredictable, you can build an organizational culture that can pivot quickly when unexpected events happen.
7. Implement continuous innovation
A business that doesn't innovate is a business that will be quickly left behind. Instead of only occasionally rolling out innovative and new products and services, continuously improve and enhance them in real time. Your customers will benefit, as will your bottom line.
8. Create a motivating purpose
Chances are, you are in business not just to make money, but to make a difference in the world. People want their work--and the companies they choose to work for--to make a difference. Be sure to communicate the greater purpose of your company to your people regularly, and involve them in making it a reality.