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How to Reshape Your Organization to Be More Agile

Organizational agility refers to the ability of an organization to renew itself, adapt, and change quickly. Agile organizations tend to thrive in an environment characterized by rapid change, ambiguity, and turbulence. Agility does not mean removing all structures and processes. However, it does require a higher degree of flexibility. Agile organizations have processes and structures that provide stability and consistence, but allow for flexibility to have competitive advantage. 

An article by CIO described three key ways to reshape organizations into agile ones by focusing on people, structure, and process:

1. People: Recruit a flexible, dynamic team

Most job requisitions and traditional employment recruitment methods do not support organizational agility. This is because hiring is focused on a narrow skill set aligned with a specific discipline. A way to help increase agility is by changing hiring style. Instead of focusing on a skills checklist, seek out candidates who are creative, collaborative, and curious—individuals that do not easily fit into a box. 

2. Structure: A framework for informed decisions 

Another way to improve organizational agility is to remove layers of complexity that slow down the business. Organizations should also empower employees at all levels to make informed decisions. This entails rethinking the role of the manager. In traditional organizations, managers determine the work to be done, provide employees with this work, and ensure employees follow instructions. In an agile organization, managers communicate shared objectives and metrics in a transparent manner. They also encourage their employees to make informed decisions about the work that needs to be done. They also encourage employees to regularly seek improvements. This approach removes hierarchy. To ensure success, the process requires that the right information is visible to those responsible for decision-making. Similarly, progress and insights must also be communicated back up the leadership chain. 

3. Process: Establishing scalable systems to drive visibility and information-sharing

Startups are typically the most agile. However, they tend to have a lack of processes which oftentimes leads to lack of accountability. On the other hand, large, reputable organizations typically have structures and processes in place. However, they have difficulty with flexibility which leads to the inability to quickly adapt to customer and market demands. Agility requires organizations to have core processes and systems to support the free flow of information, collaboration, accountability, and quick decision making. In doing so, organizations can balance agility and stability.

Interested in identifying agility levels among your potential new hires? Check out CMA’s assessment services