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Management in Today’s Age of Agility

May 15, 2023

The business environment has witnessed a faster pace of change in recent years. Technological advancements, global competition, and evolving customer needs have significantly changed business operations and priorities.

The business environment has witnessed a faster pace of change in recent years. Technological advancements, global competition, and evolving customer needs have significantly changed business operations and priorities.

As traditional management approaches fail to meet the demands of today’s workplace, enterprises and companies have come to realize the significance of promoting organsational agility.

The modern approach to management focuses on innovation, continuous learning, and employee empowerment to stay competitive in a rapidly changing business landscape. As such, organisations are increasingly adopting agile methodologies and implementing new business models.

According to the 2021 State of Agile Report, the percentage of organisations that practice Agile methodologies has risen to 95%, up from 90% in 2019. Research indicates that agile methodologies result in higher employee engagement, quicker product and service development, and better customer satisfaction than organisations that have not adopted agile methodologies.

In fact, McKinsey & Co’s report in 2020 reveals that agility can enhance financial performance by 20 to 30 percent. Embracing agility can bring multiple advantages to an organisation, but its implementation can be challenging. Therefore, it is crucial for management to prioritize clarity and transparency, specialized expertise and leadership skills, and investment in resources to upgrade employee skills to help them stay competitive.

Here are ways in which companies can adopt an agile management style:

Developing a culture of flexibility:

Encouraging a flexible culture empowers employees to take responsibility for their work and make swift decisions in response to evolving demands. This can be accomplished by fostering collaboration between departments and breaking down organisational silos. One way of doing this is through using shared tools and platforms, such as project management software or collaboration platforms. Owing to their success, a report by Market Research Future shows that the global project management software market is expected to reach $9.5 billion by the end of 2023. Additionally, encouraging employees to move between departments and teams can help break down silos and foster collaboration. This allows employees to develop a broader perspective and gain a better understanding of the organisation. Most importantly, encouraging open communication between teams and departments through town hall-style meetings and regular team meetings is critical to achieving a culture of flexibility.

Leveraging technology:

The utilization of technology can enhance operational efficiency and agility. Cloud-based tools and applications, for instance, can facilitate collaboration, automate tasks, and provide real-time analytics, enabling organisations to optimize their operations. By leveraging data analytics, organisations can gain insights into customer behaviour, market trends, and other key factors that can help them make more informed decisions and respond quickly to changes. However, to successfully leverage technology, it is essential to understand that technology itself is one part of the puzzle. Fostering a culture of agility to ensure that processes and workflows are streamlined and designed to support flexibility is the key to reaping its benefits. It takes people with the right business skills to evaluate the options and recommend a course of action.

Invest in employee training: 

Employee training is crucial for organisations that want to embrace agility. Agility requires employees to be flexible, adaptive, and able to work collaboratively to quickly respond to changing circumstances. According to a study by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) in 2022, 76% say they are more likely to stay with a company that offers continuous training. By providing training that helps employees develop these skills, organisations can create a workforce that is better equipped to handle the challenges of today’s fast-paced business environment. Training can take many forms, from workshops and seminars to online courses and on-the-job training. It can cover topics such as agile project management methodologies, effective communication, teamwork, and problem-solving. By investing in employee training, organisations can not only improve their agility, but also boost employee engagement, retention, and productivity.

In today’s fast-paced business environment, organisations must be agile to remain competitive and respond to rapidly changing circumstances. Embracing agility requires a fundamental shift in mindset and approach, from hierarchical and siloed structures to a more collaborative and flexible culture. By adopting agile methodologies, investing in employee training, leveraging technology, and fostering a culture of continuous improvement, organisations can build the resilience and adaptability necessary to succeed in today’s marketplace.

Author
Claire Roper-Browning

Regional Director of Marketing, Recruitment, Admissions and Communications, Heriot-Watt University

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