Having come from a large financial services group, I have a problem with the word agility. Not because of what it stands for, but because no one seemed to agree on what it meant. Speak to a designer and it was a revolutionary form of project management that was going to change the world. To someone in branch, it was multi-skilling colleagues to be able to deal with all manner of customer demands. Most people thought it meant working from home.
When people talk about being agile as an organisation, they’re usually referring to the ability to respond to change. They might want to implement new ideas, reduce the time it takes to test & learn or simply strip out layers of bureaucracy; but at the end of the day, it’s about flexibility. It’s a change to the culture so that employees actively want to do things differently, learn from mistakes and improve.
Agility tends to be introduced as a methodology or mindset, which is important as the culture of an organisation often needs to change with it. Many traditional companies have a maze of existing procedures and processes, which prove difficult to navigate with an agile/flexible mindset. This is where leadership support is really important – and actions speak louder than words. If the right level of backing is there, colleagues who deal with customers every day can make small improvements that add massive value. Often these would often take years to happen, simply because “it’s just the way we do things round here”.
So how agile is your organisation? Can your colleagues flex to meet tough deadlines or varying customer needs? What are they like under pressure and do they strive to improve every day?
If you don’t know the answer to any of these questions, we can find out for you and build an agile team.