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Thursday, November 12, 2015
Why You Need to Be Ready to Change -- Quickly
One of the biggest challenges for organizations today is being able to make changes when and where they need to in order to survive. If they’re about as agile as a 90-year-old with arthritis, they’re not going to be in business much longer, as many defunct companies can now attest.
But how do companies quickly identify opportunities for growth, avoid potential threats and take advantage of a changing marketplace, all while trying to sustain quality day-to-day operations?
Amanda Setili, author of “The Agility Advantage: How to Identify and Act on Opportunities in a Fast-Changing World,” has worked with companies such as AT&T, Georgia-Pacific and UPS. She says through those interactions she has learned the keys to capitalizing on opportunities being created in the marketplace, and how to move the organization in that direction.
For example, companies wanting to be more agile must give employees the flexibility to respond to changes that they see, instead of just requiring them to stay within their job descriptions. If employees are given more leeway, then they are much more likely to notice changes earlier and react sooner and faster, she says.
In addition, organizations must also be able to ditch parts of their business that don’t fit in with a new direction and not get caught up in the sentimentality of doing things the way they’ve always been done. They’ve got to be willing to make decisions quickly, she says.
“Companies often get bogged down in indecision for months when assessing a potential change in strategy because they’re busy dealing with stakeholder objects and fretting over risks,” she says.
Setili says that becoming more agile often involves setting aside fears and concerns, and instead developing a strategy for staying ahead of the competition by being able to:
See what the competition cannot. There’s a reason that Amazon seems to jump so quickly on trends: They pay great attention to what customers are saying. Since the early days of the company, founder and CEO Jeff Bezos regularly reads customer emails. The customer focus that comes from the top has led Amazon to spot trends before the competition and to implement dozens of customer ideas.
If you’re only focused on the competition, then you’re not looking at trends and what the customer wants next. Setili suggests that if you want to be the first to respond to customers, then you need to spend more time with them. Employees need to be given the opportunity to get away from their work stations and go out into the field with customers (read more here)