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BizReport : Internet Marketing 101 : November 03, 2021

How Do Large Organizations Remain Agile?

For large businesses, remaining agile is one of the biggest challenges out there. And while there's no perfect formula, there are certainly a few principles that work well.

by BizReport

What Does it Mean to be Agile?

We find ourselves in the midst of a unique business marketplace that stands in stark contrast to previous decades and generations. The ongoing digital revolution has transformed every industry as we know it. According to McKinsey & Company, this can be clearly expressed in four current trends:

- Quickly evolving environment. Things are changing constantly in the consumer marketplace, which puts extreme pressure on businesses to adapt.

- Constant introduction of disruptive tech. Technology lifecycles used to last for several years. Now, software and even hardware can become obsolete in a matter of months. This requires rapid adaptation.

- Acceleration digitization/ democratization of information. With the increased volume and transparency of information, organizations must be able to collaborate with customers and business partners in real-time.

- The new war for talent. Thanks to virtualization and remote work, talent pools are now global. Businesses must be able to find and lure in top talent across a broad and diverse network.

With so much happening so quickly, agility is a must.

"The agile business is one that can respond quickly to market changes, customer and client demands, and its own accelerated timelines," Informa explains. "It can make decisions quickly, and take action on those decisions."

Agile businesses don't just materialize out of thin air. There's a lot of intentionality that goes into architecting a business like this.

4 Ways to Become More Agile

If you're looking to transform your business by becoming more agile, there are several steps you can take. Here are a few of our top suggestions:

1. Use Automation

There are too many moving parts to try to handle everything manually. Automation must become your friend. Otherwise, total efficiency is nearly impossible to achieve.

These days, almost everything can be automated. This includes backing up files on the cloud, scheduling social media posts, and even producing real-time reports with data dashboards.

2. Improve Communication

You can automate as much as you want, but if your team isn't in sync with one another, it's impossible to achieve a fully agile state. Good communication is a must.

Agile organizations don't rely on clunky modes of communication like faxes, emails, or snail mail. Instead, they use real-time, distraction-free solutions like Discord, Slack, and various social intranet solutions. The goal is to remove distractions and focus on the quick dissemination of information.

3. Fail Fast

There's nothing wrong with planning, but if you spend too much time in the planning phase, you'll never get off the ground running. And in a business world where most ideas fail, this can leave you with very little results. It's better to fail fast and learn fast.

"The key to failing fast is to develop enough of your idea to determine whether it's useful to customers," IBM notes. "You can have customers validate the function with as little investment as possible, reducing business risk. If a customer doesn't like the new function, you can find out before you invest more time or resources into developing the function and move on to the next idea."

It's not that consequences and accountability don't exist in a "fail fast" culture; it's just that people are given the freedom to pursue ideas without the expectation that it has to work right away. Ultimately, perfecting this approach requires patient management.

4. Hire Well

Even in a job market like this, you can't afford to settle when hiring. Culture is such an important component of agility. Don't hire solely on experience or line items on a resume. Look for talent that fits well into your workplace. You want someone who has the heart of a student and is willing to learn, adapt, and grow. Even if they lack the same experience of another applicant, these characteristics make them attractive in an agile workplace.

It's better to wait a couple of extra weeks to make a good hire than it is to rush a decision. The long-term ramifications of making the wrong hire can be costly on multiple levels. Be patient!

Adding it All Up

The path to becoming more agile is clear. However, that's not to say it's simple or easy. It'll require hard work, discipline, and precise execution. But if you can gradually implement these suggestions, you'll find your organization in a much better position in the months and years ahead.


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