One essential component for organizations seeking to propel their business forward in today's rapidly changing environment is creating a culture of agility. But to transform into an agile enterprise requires tweaking the DNA of your organization. Not just one function, but every part of the organization needs to embrace it with open arms. Much like the need of the hour, adopting an agile culture has led many organizations in the time of COVID-19 to improve their delivery, speed, and overall customer satisfaction.
The new normal demands embedding agility into every aspect of a business to reap the many benefits that come with it. According to the “Mastering Leadership Development for a Digital Economy” research report, 98% of participants agreed that leaders must drive innovation for their organization to be successful. So, how can you achieve organization- wide agility and reap the benefits in the hybrid workplace? Let us explore.
Understand that it takes time
When agile practices are in place, organizations can quickly roll out products and services while adapting to evolving customer and market changes. In software development, the agile framework uses an iterative development process that encourages constant communication, close collaboration, and flexibility. But the reality is, to achieve enterprise-wide agility, you need a 100 percent commitment and leaders with an agile mindset. That commitment takes time to build across every function and every team member within your organization. For instance, take the concept of discussing successes and misses, which is an essential agile practice. Your team members might not be comfortable right away to openly express what could have been done right or the team leader would be hesitant to accept such open interactions. To overcome this, leaders must provide useful training resources, sensitize team members, and develop solutions that would enable a smooth implementation of the agile work culture. Building this practice is time-consuming. You might not be able to see it in your first initial sprints but surely improvements will take place over the course of time.
Build a foundation through agile leadership
Organizations are breaking down silos, redistributing decision-making, and flattening the corporate hierarchy into connected networks. Organizations experience a high degree of openness and transparency when led by leaders convey an agile approach to leadership. Agile is not just a framework — it’s a mindset and an organizational commitment to a continuous journey of growth and innovation. One of the mandates of running an agile organization is to have cross-functional teams with little need for leaders to oversee managing the day-to-day operations. Instead, agile leaders enable cross-departmental teams, sometimes global, to execute projects and make decisions independently. When you have agile leaders, who are dynamic and connected, they can motivate teams to seek innovative solutions to obstacles. Leaders need to empower their team with decision-making authority and access to learning resources, to implement this approach. Organizations must first enable their leadership to undergo personal transformation and then pave the way for every team member to adhere to agile practices. Think of it as having a team of evangelists, much like what Guy Kawasaki was at Apple in the early years, - spreading the word and encouraging others to support the transformation.
Provide a favorable work environment
It is no surprise that motivated teams are more likely to deliver better work than unhappy ones. To build such driven teams who provide higher quality products and services, you need to give them the freedom to make decisions. And this is possible only when the organization’s culture is flat, has transparent communication, and promotes collaboration. Agile leaders encourage innovation at every level and tend to coach their teams to develop solutions on their own. This approach leads to individual team members being more collaborative and displaying increased accountability towards project success and meeting deadlines. Skillsoft and HR.com’s research study showed that 91% of the respondents believed that informal leaders are often more efficient and better decision-makers than formal ones. With more freedom to experiment, think out-of-the-box, innovate, and learn from mistakes – team members are more satisfied and better prepared to create growth opportunities.
With technology now being the enabler and backbone of the emerging hybrid workplace model, the importance of having agile teams that can seamlessly collaborate both remotely and in a physical workplace is critical. Organizations that wake up to this reality and want to compete successfully will have no other choice but to embrace an agile work culture. As organizations develop future-fit leaders and teams prepared to deal with increasingly frequent change, there should be a focus prioritizing agility.