How An Agile Model Can Make Your Business More Competitive
“Agile” has its roots in start-up culture but can be applied to any business. In fact, it may be the key to success in today’s business landscape. So how do you ensure your organisation is doing it right?
Market dominance today happens rapidly. Brands such as Uber, Deliveroo and AirBnB have risen to the top of their industries in less than a decade. Technology and social media thrust start-ups into the market, and businesses can begin with very few overhead costs. This is great for entrepreneurs, but has also made the business world more competitive than ever.
So how do companies survive? Most business leaders know markets are changing and more agile methods (whether they use the agile term or not) are needed to keep pace. However the switch is not always straight forward. Many business include agile initiatives in their strategies, but less are successful at putting them into practice.
Here we have made a three-point checklist for businesses who want to make sure their strategy is on track.
1. Financial discipline
Keeping costs low is a priority for many companies, but investment is important too. Agile leaders watch budgets closely to see which costs make a return, and which don’t. Spend is then re-directed towards the most revenue-making areas, while deadweight costs are cut.
Financial discipline is needed during lean times and when the business is thriving. Agile management and a financially lean approach are two sides of the same strategy. When used together, businesses have a competitive advantage in changing times.
Research shows that collaboration boosts productivity and staff morale. A Deloitte study using a sample of 1,000 employees found that those who collaborate are 10 times more likely to be happy in their job. A third of participants said collaboration helps them work faster, and three-quarters agreed it improves their work quality.
All of these factors are why agile businesses ensure staff work together. Most companies promote teamwork – perhaps through weekly meetings or joint tasks – but for many true collaboration is still a far-off concept.
An all-hand-on-deck approach allows employees to see the bigger picture and input their own ideas. This not only makes staff feel more engaged with the business, but enables innovation through shared skills and knowledge.
3. Agile leaders
Agile companies need agile leaders. The success of the strategy depends on managers in the business – everyone from mid-level supervisors to directors should be aligned in their approach.
Active engagement with the team is key to agile leadership. Goals should be clearly stated at the start of a new project, and leaders should check in with staff regularly. Feedback should work on a two-way basis. Employees should be invited to comment or express concerns, while leaders should offer direction and guidance.
Agile leadership supports collaboration, and vice versa. The two evolve and develop together. Over time, traditional walls are broken down and the updated system falls into place.
An agile model to stay competitive
An agile model allows businesses to quickly respond to trends in the market. A smart approach to finances, teamwork and management are the tools businesses need to achieve agility. Once agility is part of the company culture, the benefits that come with it can be enjoyed too.