Agile Thinking for Business: How Can a New Mindset Enhance Engagement and Effectiveness?

December 22, 20168:03 am2550 views

To respond effectively to turbulent market conditions and changing circumstances, today’s organisations must develop an agile mindset and implement agile working practices, according to Hemsley Fraser, the learning specialist.

The company has published a white paper, called ‘Becoming an agile organisation’, which defines agility as the capacity to anticipate and adapt to new market opportunities by rapidly tailoring your approach, products and services.

To help assess your organization’s level of agility, the paper provides a checklist for analysing the behaviour of your leaders, managers and individual employees. It offers advice on improving agility, by outlining the priorities for training and development and highlights four key factors which must be addressed if agility interventions are to succeed.

“Companies which fail to innovate will fall behind, because they won’t be able to adapt, make decisions or solve problems quickly enough to compete,” said Valerie Nichols, Executive Consultant at Hemsley Fraser.

By becoming an agile organisation, you’ll not only enhance your employer brand and become a great company to work for, you’ll profit from significant improvements in productivity, engagement, innovation, efficiency and customer satisfaction.

See: What Can Companies Do to Hire Top Talent and Create Agile Productive Teams?

An ‘agile mindset’ is a desire to learn and a willingness to change. It involves being curious about, and open to, new opportunities and new ways to improve.

“Agile thinking is a personal quality which helps individuals at every level to accept change, embrace opportunities and adapt better to new circumstances and situations,” said Valerie Nichols.

“This creates a behavioural change that stimulates innovation and learning. Also, because ‘managing change’ becomes part of everyday practice, agility helps organisations to implement strategic projects successfully, such as mergers, cultural change initiatives, outsourcing, restructuring, quality/service improvements and new hardware/software installations.”

For HR teams, this may involve redesigning job descriptions, recruitment practices, reward packages and performance management processes.

“Agile organisations differ from traditional bureaucratic companies,” added Nichols. “Roles are more fluidly defined, quicker decisions can be made because employees are more empowered, people and teams bounce back faster from setbacks and they’re less afraid to take risks because ‘failing’ is acceptable. All of this not only helps employees to spot and seize new opportunities, it also makes them feel more connected to the organisation and more valued.”

Senior managers must become the catalysts for, and role models of, agile practice. “If leaders are unwilling to let go of the command-and-control, top-down model of leadership, then agility is not an option,” said Valerie Nichols.

“Leaders must encourage and support flexible and adaptive behaviour, and be committed to creating a learning-centered organisational culture.”

Also read: In Conversation with Dr Jim Harter at Gallup: Decoding the Employee Engagement Paradox

Image credit: Fiber Optic Now

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