In the fast-paced complex business world we operate, the adage of “if it’s not broken, don’t fix it,” rarely applies, for leaders must now be more proactive than the old saying implies. However, finding the appropriate blend of adopting new practices and keeping old ones can be a delicate tapdance.
As leaders, our ability to be agile is irreplaceable. We are ultimately the ones making the decisions and if those decisions wind up being costly, we are responsible for correcting the ship. Even though it may be our responsibility, we can employ the help of our workforce by fostering an agile work environment.
With the high rate at which change is thrown at businesses, it is no longer enough for a few top-level leaders to posses the agility trait; leaders need to build agile teams, organizations and even customers. Leaders must create an environment in which adaptability is valued. Working to accommodate change has to be swift, or our competition will bury us. If implementing a new solution or strategy is met by enormous pushback–from our employees, our partners or our customers–our businesses will sacrifice valuable time and energy as leaders struggle to convince everyone involved that the action is appropriate.
To structure an agile environment, we must attach value on individuals being able to step outside of their comfort zones. Then, when we make a decision to implement a new solution to accommodate change, our teams are positioned to be less reluctant when asked to divert from how they’ve operated in the past.
We can encourage our teams to be more adaptable by expressing that we value continuous learning. By doing so, we are encouraging our teams to keep up-to-date on new business methodologies and better develop their core competencies. Without this focus on learning, we allow our teams to become comfortable in their norms and stringent when asked to step outside of them.
It’s our responsibility to promote agility. After all, because the business landscape is always changing, the teams and organizations that are better positioned to adapt to that change have an extreme competitive advantage. Consequently, the organizations that allow their teams to become comfortable in “the way it’s always been done” will remain flat-footed as the competition speeds by in this high-paced, constantly changing business environment.