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Increasing agility to get through tough times

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The pandemic has forced businesses and workers to be flexible. In these challenging times, there’s nothing more valuable than positive leadership.

Reviewing business models. Forecasting new customer needs. Positioning your business in the market. All this requires a lot of thought and frequent adjustments from senior management. Many entrepreneurs compare the challenge to playing Tetris. You have to be agile in order to fit everything in, without missing any pieces, even when your circumstances are constantly changing. Unpredictability has become the norm.

Meanwhile, everyone is talking about agility. The word pops up everywhere, but what does is it really mean? And how can companies promote it?

What is agility?

The dictionary definition associates agility with nimble dancers and quick thinkers. For businesses, being agile involves continually questioning your work while developing products and services.

In the current climate of uncertainty, business leaders need to anticipate what’s around the corner and stay attuned to changes and cues from within their organizations and the market more broadly. Entrepreneurs need to make quick decisions to help their companies adapt in the face of events and the new reality. Leaders and teams need to find new points of reference and ensure they’re still aligned with the core values of their organization and workforce.

Tracking trends and focusing on development

To protect their long-term prospects, businesses need to keep their eyes and ears open while focusing on major development projects, such as those targeting strategic priorities or with high growth potential. It’s critical to be able to get these projects off the ground quickly. And that’s where the agile approach comes in.

By involving employees early in the ideation and execution phases, managers can effectively mobilize teams and increase their engagement in the company’s activities.

Of course, staying on top of new social trends is also important, as it can help leaders decide how to adjust their product lines and practices. For example, the buy local movement has never had so much traction in government and public discourse. The same can be said of self-sufficiency and sustainable development.

Employees, partners and customers will respond favourably to businesses that successfully adjust their position in response to emerging trends and recent events.

Pairing positive leadership and agility

What’s needed is agile, positive leadership. This means turning stumbling blocks into stepping stones that ultimately lead to business growth and stronger team spirit. It’s a practice that should emanate from all organizations and the managers they employ.

When looking at facts, leaders should take a step back and consider different points of view. Asking employees for their perspectives can help you get a better big-picture understanding of the situation. In addition, a crisis or period of change can be an opportunity for some workers to shine. You never know, they might reveal a rainbow of solutions to cut through the dark clouds cast by the pandemic. Take the time to get your workforce involved and listen to what they have to say. It’s true what they say: together, we’re better.

Slowing down before bouncing back

Practicing positive agility also means knowing when to stop, reconnecting with your business’ values and making sure your decisions are aligned with these principles.

  • Do your words reflect your values? Do you pass your values on to your team on a day-to-day basis?
  • Are your work methods and actions consistent and ethical?

When going after agility, it’s easy to get off track. If you’re not careful, your judgement can become clouded as you rush to act quickly.

In order to stay on course despite the occasional sea change, keep your organization’s mission in mind and remind yourself why you invested so much time into building your business. Now more than ever, the key to staying afloat is to keep your focus on your organization’s brand identity and make sure it’s effectively conveyed to customers and employees. Otherwise, your company’s image could take a hit, leaving scars that last.

Developing positive agility starts with springing into action, spotting opportunities and responding quickly. At the same time, keep in mind that your teams need to move in step with you, with the same drive and skill.

If you’d like to discuss strategies for getting your business back on track, contact our team of experts. We’ll be happy to help you implement effective best practices for today’s turbulent times.

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