How can you plan for the future and continually prepare your organisation to expect the unexpected? By driving enterprise agility. Explore the four pillars of the agile and adaptive enterprise, as well as key questions that can help your organisation move beyond quick fixes—and toward a complete reimagination of how to operate.
Looking back on the past year, organisations had to pivot like never before. While maintaining business continuity and the physical and mental health of their employees, organisations had to adapt to an economy in crisis, new virtual ways of working, and rapidly changing consumer behaviours.
Now, with the gradual distribution of vaccines, organisations are increasingly planning for more changes. In the face of this unknown, organisations must be adaptable, with the ability to embrace change and rapidly respond to internal and external forces.
Before, an organisation’s desire to become more agile and innovative was an indicator of success. Now, being an agile organisation is an imperative for survival. So how exactly do you design for agility and adaptability? First, recognise that an organisation is both a technical construct that needs to be engineered for efficiency and a social construct that needs to be nurtured to empower its workforce, customers, and communities.
A private, not-for-profit clinical research center was burdened by a complex and bureaucratic organisational structure. An assessment uncovered an abundance of shadow organisations, undefined roles, and inconsistent leadership responsibilities. The research center began with defining a purpose and refreshed operating model that intentionally centralised its functions around defined capabilities for each team, eliminating shadow organisations. Through reducing unnecessary layers of decision-making and driving role clarity, the simplified organisation structure reduced time to market by 50% and reduced costs while introducing employees to a more productive, straightforward way of working.
The COVID-19 pandemic forced organisations to rise to unprecedented challenges that required fast decisions and an empowered workforce to survive. Now, these organisations can carry these changes into the next chapter of their journeys.
While the four pillars of enterprise adaptability paint a picture of “what good looks like,” it’s up to organisations themselves to move beyond individual quick fixes toward a complete reimagination of how they operate. Leaders can start by asking themselves the following questions:
The need to be adaptable in these challenging times is self-evident, but the path to get there requires continued investment and organisational persistence. On the other side of this effort, though, is a workplace that has unleashed the full potential of its people by bringing more meaning, impact, and—dare we say—fun back to work.