Thinking about business agility can shake up the common view on planning, predictability, business models and other concepts that are usually on the agenda.
Have you noticed how we expect the methods we apply to guarantee control over the future of our projects? Has the chip already dropped that? If we exaggerate in expectation, this could be an illusion. The reason is simple: only some variables influencing the results are controllable.
This is why we need controls so much: they are limited. The risk is much greater if we give up what we can monitor. So what we can do is manage the threats, even without having all the guarantees.
Realizing this spurs change, innovation, and it’s all about agility. The perfect mindset seems to mix enthusiasm — the one that keeps us from giving up — with that conscience — which avoids the stubbornness of insisting on what doesn’t work. Let’s understand what business agility has to do with it.
What Is Business Agility?
Since we can only be sure about some things, how about learning to adapt? How about developing the ability to expedite change? Which is the same as saying: how about developing business agility?
We are talking about the ability of companies to adapt to changes in the scenario, the market, consumer behavior and the company itself, which needs to incorporate new technologies and methods all the time.
To better understand the concept, it is worth knowing an important detail that motivated the creation of business agility, which began in software development. Designing complex systems in a changing environment is difficult because requirements can change before completion.
Furthermore, the very idea of a system considers that the development of its parts does not necessarily imply the perfect functioning of the whole. An analyst needs to understand how a change in one role can influence all the others.
In the context of business agility, an innovative area may be constrained by other sectors. So, if they need more time to adapt, like excessive bureaucracy in support service, this will impact the relationship and after-sales service.
What Is Business Agility For?
Uncertainty and risk have always been part of entrepreneurship, but we now live in a much more volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous world.
Changes happen all the time. If the company cannot adapt quickly, it accumulates transformations that can compromise its positioning in the market and the future of the activity.
It’s like putting off daily tasks for months and seeing them pile up — until they are so late that it’s impossible to solve them without help. To avoid this accumulation of changes, the company needs to be faster than the demand for changes, at least as fast.
This includes adapting internally and externally, responding quickly and flexibly to customer needs, committing to innovation and quality, and ultimately, pursuing competitive advantage.
Why Do Companies Need Help Adapting?
Adapting processes, tools, and procedures is relatively easy. The difficulty is to combine all this with the necessary cultural change. Remember what we said about the need to plan and control? Most companies will be more comfortable taking advantage of opportunities to generate profit with as little risk as possible.
Likewise, employees may avoid changes if they threaten performance, as this is held to their own cost and for their mistakes. That is, to change, we need to be willing to fail.
The question is how to determine the balance. After all, nobody wants to live with too many mistakes, especially if it compromises the company’s viability. A good tip for fine-tuning is to separate strategic errors from operational ones. Not accepting change is a major strategic failure.
How To Make Your Company Better Respond To Changes?
The good news is that all companies can adapt to change. What differs is the agility of each one in doing this, which can be slow, moderate or agile, depending on the digital maturity it has reached, the structure and the mentality of the team.
To increase the speed of change, the first transformations need to involve the following:
- the structure: which must eliminate organizational silos and develop efforts in a multidisciplinary way;
- the processes: which must be less bureaucratic and automated;
- the company needs to work with aligned sectors with a high ability to relate and share.
Mirror In Startups
Many of the tools we use were born in the startup ecosystem, and that didn’t happen by accident, but one of the most valuable aspects of the culture of these companies is the ability to measure before you scale. This lowers risk without giving up change. It’s fantastic!
Review The Processes
The rules and formats of the procedures provided for in the processes can undermine the chances of implementing business agility. Responsibility and execution must be shared, and teams must commit and work to achieve maximum synergy.
Only some things are about the mechanics of the transformation. A good part of the business agility implementation demands involves people. For example, the traditional hierarchical approach does not suit cooperative work. All employees must feel part of the process and be involved with the brand’s purpose.
In addition, guidance, training and an efficient communication structure must be provided. If the message does not flow correctly through the internal communication channels, the team can be suffocated by excess or frustrated by the lack of it.
In this way, it is not enough for the team to feel free to take risks with balance; it needs to be stimulated, rewarded and valued for behaving in a way the company needs.