How can businesses deal with the constant major shifts going on right now? It starts with Organizational Agility.
Think of an athlete. Basketball. Tennis. Football. Players make quick but controlled movements, in response to a constantly changing situation, in order to reach a goal. They are prepared. They’ve trained to build the natural reflexes required to adapt to evolving conditions. This is agility.
To reach peak agility, organizations must make sure the people within have the right tools and characteristics to support it (i.e. that secure foundation that allows for the nimble responses).
Here are five characteristics of individuals in an agile organization.
1. They have a positive perception of change.
It’s not about being merely okay with change. This is about viewing change as essential. For us to be happy with change in our organization, we have to be willing to experience change on the individual level. Does this mean we all have to become daredevils, performing daring feats on a daily basis? No. It just means your perspective on transitions has to be positive. Instead of approaching change from a place of fear, poking it with a stick from a distance, we must approach it with possibility.
2. They have a learning and growth mindset.
Besides being open and receptive to change as it comes to us, we must also be proactive in our own personal development. As this pandemic continues to change the way we live and do business, we must be willing to seek out new knowledge to adapt. How willing are you to learn something new or improve a skill you already possess (whether it’s a hard or soft one)? Besides being personally fulfilling, this characteristic makes you invaluable to an organization.
3. They are resilient.
What’s interesting about all these characteristics is that the same ones that make an organization agile also better equip you for challenges in your life outside of work. Now that’s a premium perk. Resilience is the ability to bounce back after a misstep. In fact, it’s also the ability to see a misstep as not an error at all— but an opportunity for learning. No one is exempt from failure. The more we normalize failing and capitalize on the inherent opportunities in it, the more potential we have for skyrocketing growth and success. Resilience stems from confidence. Confidence stems from a learning and growth mindset. This mindset can’t exist without a positive perception of change. Are you catching on?
4. They have solid communication and collaboration skills.
When you’re playing on a team, quick movements are only possible when players are communicating with each other. If I make an abrupt move and fail to let my teammates know that it’s coming, we’re likely to all crash into each other. It’s a waste of time and energy. Someone is bound to get hurt. And we definitely don’t win. Sharing information and listening to truly hear are crucial components of organizational agility. Collaborating towards a common goal is the only way. Which leads us to the last characteristic.
5. They are purpose-driven.
Successful organizations care about their customers and their people. When this idea is in place at the foundational level and people are on board with it, everything else tends to fall in line. Egos and personal agendas dissolve, and what’s left is the genuine desire to give value and put people first. To maintain agility and move forward in a world of sudden change and unpredictable twists and turns, we have to be looking at the same point on the horizon. That point is people.
We no longer have the luxury of standing still and deliberating moves for long, drawn out periods of time. Visualize the classic paperboy on a bike, slinging newspapers onto porches with one hand as he steers with the other— dodging potholes, keeping off the curb, pedaling fast to avoid barking dogs, and watching for pedestrians in his path. He must hit each goal and continue to move forward, no slowing down. This old-school visual is the new-school way of business. And these five characteristics are those your people should have if you want to keep up.
“The best possible way to prepare for tomorrow is to concentrate with all your intelligence, all your enthusiasm, on doing today’s work superbly today. That is the only possible way you can prepare for the future.”