Agility is an ideal quality in an employee. You want someone on your team who can balance multiple projects while being able to adapt quickly, think clearly and work efficiently. It’s a quality that should be sought out not just in individuals, but in your company as a whole.
To this end, we asked the members of Business Journals Leadership Trust to share their strategies for strengthening their team’s overall agility. Follow their recommendations to make your organization more nimble and adaptable.
1. Hire people who like a challenge.
Hire people in all facets of your business who like a challenge and who desire continual improvement in both themselves and the organization they work for. Reward employees for anticipating challenges, developing new strategies for success in various areas and constantly challenging the status quo in a respectful and creative way. – John Bennett, Renasant Bank
2. Understand how your organization and its people change.
While change is constant, the velocity and scope of change today is very different. Leaders must first understand how the organization and its people change and evolve, as these systems frequently move at different speeds. Managers must now also move from managing a linear notion of change to an exponential one. In other words, don’t wait to be disrupted. Be your own disrupter. – Fred Ross, Custom Truck One Source
3. Demonstrate agility to your team.
If you want your team to be agile, you must lead with agility and demonstrate it regularly. Ask for input from all levels and all departments. Let your team members know their voice matters. It can’t be just a trite “value” that hangs on the wall. It must be nurtured, cultivated and demonstrated. Agility occurs when team members feel engaged and a part of something bigger than themselves. – Jodi Low, U & Improved
4. Provide opportunities to upskill.
Providing educational opportunities to upskill and earn credentials is an important strategy that enables agility for your team. This can be accomplished by creating impactful partnerships with academic institutions that can support your company’s need for rapidly changing skills training. This also positively impacts the lives of your employees. – Vivek Sharma, InStride
5. Be fast and opportunistic.
In today’s day and age, we are constantly seeing things shift very quickly — especially in the field of marketing. We have learned to shift our mindsets as an organization to be fast and opportunistic to keep up with the latest trends and stay relevant. If we base our strategy on optimization, we allow leaders to embrace change and make decisions with the company’s long-term vision in mind. – Scott Harkey, OH Partners
6. Learn your industry inside and out.
Just as an athlete has to train to be agile in their sport, leaders have to train to be agile in business. There are many options out there for executives, managers and administrators to polish up their leadership skills. But if you can’t see the obstacle coming, it will be harder to dodge it. Get to know your industry inside and out. Be a student of your business. – Dustin Hopson, Synergeer Engineering
7. Regularly review your processes.
Change is the one constant in our fast-paced world, and a company’s ability to adapt to change is make-or-break. We have an open dialog that encourages team members to review their processes each quarter and find any improvements they can make using automation, as well as utilizing consultants who might have stronger expertise. – Rachel Namoff, Arapaho Asset Management
8. Empower your team to pivot.
It is critical now to empower our teams to work in new, more creative directions. The new word for “agility” is “pivot.” Companies need to move quickly — sometimes, at the last minute — in a new direction with a different plan than had previously been considered, with limited information or specific attachment to the outcome. – Leni Miller, EASearch, LLC
9. Help your employees understand their authority.
Communicate clearly to your employees what authority they have. Have a clearly established process in place for when that authority is exceeded. Make sure there is a timeline for critical decisions. – Samir Mokashi, Code Unlimited LLC
10. Prioritize continuous learning.
At our organization, we believe that training isn’t something that’s done — it’s something you do. Continuous learning is the only way to grow. Every team member has an ongoing training development program throughout their employment. Employees work toward improving their skill sets and building their capabilities every day. We want them to continue to improve, grow and become greater assets. – Zee Ali, Z-Swag
11. Set up a plan to monitor success.
Companies need to know when to pivot based on current results. A good leader will not only be able to effectively manage parameters with their teams but will also set up structures to monitor the success of a new initiative to determine if changes need to be made. When introducing any change to your organization, walk through every aspect of the system to ensure it will be executed perfectly. – Amber Duncan, Jackie
12. Systemize and automate as many processes as you can.
Instead of running lots of individual tasks, think about how you can organize the workflow so that every process has the same amount of inputs and you can predict the output. You’re still going to have some manual or semi-manual tasks, but automation is going to save you time and resources that can be used for other, more important things. – Solomon Thimothy, OneIMS
13. Create overlapping cross-functional teams.
It’s wise to create an atmosphere in which team members not only understand the work performed by their colleagues but also in which they are invited to learn and participate in projects and tasks with other departments and divisions. By purposely creating certain overlapping teams, companies forge strong links cross-functionally and create stronger managerial bench strength. – Jeffrey Bartel, Hamptons Group, LLC
14. Implement ideas from your team.
We’ve created role officers who focus on unity, branding, celebrations, and health and wellness. These roles not only allow our team to showcase their skills, creativity and leadership and create success for their teams but also to help move their careers forward. These leadership positions support and grow our culture while having a direct impact on internal communication and success. – Scott Scully, Abstrakt Marketing Group
15. Get everyone on the same page.
You want to make sure everyone on your team is on the same page. You want to be “full speed ahead” most of the time, but at other times you want to make sure you step back and think about exactly what everyone is doing to make sure they are a well-oiled machine. The flow of your team is what creates the best results. A motivated team whose members are all on the same page is off the charts when it comes to agility. – Brandy McCombs, IBC
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