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Agile thinking and agile work practices can enhance engagement and productivity
Hemsley Fraser has published a white paper, called ‘Becoming an agile organization’, which defines agility as the capacity to anticipate and adapt to new market opportunities by rapidly tailoring your approach, products and services. To help you assess your organization’s level of agility, the paper provides a checklist for analyzing the behavior of your leaders, managers and individual employees. It offers advice on improving agility, outlines the priorities for training and development and highlights four key factors which must be addressed if agility interventions are to succeed.
“Companies which fail to innovate will fall behind, because they won’t be able to adapt, make decisions or solve problems quickly enough to compete,” said Valerie Nichols, Executive Consultant at Hemsley Fraser. “This paper explains how to become an agile organization. By following these guidelines, you’ll not only enhance your employer brand and become a great company to work for, you’ll profit from significant improvements in productivity, engagement, innovation, efficiency and customer satisfaction.”
According to the paper, an ‘agile mindset’ is a desire to learn and a willingness to change. It involves being curious about, and open to, new opportunities and new ways to improve. “Agile thinking is a personal quality which helps individuals at every level to accept change, embrace opportunities and adapt better to new circumstances and situations,” said Valerie Nichols. “This creates a behavioral change that stimulates innovation and learning. Also, because ‘managing change’ becomes part of everyday practice, agility helps organizations to implement strategic projects successfully, such as mergers, cultural change initiatives, outsourcing, restructuring, quality/service improvements and new hardware/software installations.”
The paper outlines the value of introducing agile processes and an adaptable infrastructure that will empower employees to take effective action. For HR teams, this may involve redesigning job descriptions, recruitment practices, reward packages and performance management processes.
“Agile organizations differ from traditional bureaucratic companies,” said Valerie Nichols. “Roles are more fluidly defined; quicker decisions can be made because employees are more empowered; people and teams bounce back faster from setbacks and they’re less afraid to take risks because ‘failing’ is acceptable. All of this not only helps employees to spot and seize new opportunities, it also makes them feel more connected to the organization and more valued.”
Senior managers must become the catalysts for, and role models of, agile practice, according to the paper. “If leaders are unwilling to let go of the command-and-control, top-down model of leadership, then agility is not an option,” said Valerie Nichols. “Leaders must encourage and support flexible and adaptive behavior, and be committed to creating a learning-centred organizational culture.”
The new white paper is free to download from here.