This article was co-authored with Mathew Lehnig, retired Navy SEAL officer and VP of Programs at Taking Point Leadership, and written from his perspective.
“During business reorganization, constant change is inevitable. Although uncertain and complex, we must remain agile and adaptable to ensure the desired outcomes.” — Mathew Lehnig
In today’s ever-changing business environment, a constant state of flux is inevitable and should be a part of any business analysis. The ability to be agile, adaptable, and respond quickly to change is crucial to ensuring the desired outcomes within any organization. Additionally, we must go beyond that and understand that organizational agility should always be a part of the strategic equation. Like the individual, the organization must be able to react quickly to any disruption, whether that be a fluctuating economy, recruiting, developing and maintaining talent, internal processes, organizational development, technological advances, or customer engagement and experience. The VUCA environments of the battlefield are similar to those seen during the strategic reorganization of businesses. Each has a fast-paced and ever-changing landscape, requiring shifting priorities, rapid and informed decisions, and implementing change with agility and adaptability to maintain a competitive edge in hyper-competitive environments.
Agility is how you or your organization respond quickly and effectively to constant change and disruption during business reorganization. It involves a culture that must be flexible, adaptable, and agile to enable smooth course corrections and pivoting strategies during an ever-changing industry, unpredictable future, internal and external factors, lack of clarity, and the negative implications to business outcomes if things are not aligned quickly and efficiently.
Any type of reorganization takes extreme agility and adaptability and must be handled with a sense of urgency. This process pertains to redesigning, realigning, or restoring company strategies, resources, structure, operations, and internal processes to help enhance innovation, opportunism, and industry competitiveness. This process will transform corporate culture by intertwining the company’s goals and priorities with the long-term vision and driving proactive and strategically oriented change. For example, In July of 2000, Naval Special Warfare saw a need to reorganize its entire basic and advanced training pipelines to ensure the internal and external structure was strategically aligned from top to bottom. This type of change was only possible with the entire organization’s sense of urgency, purpose, drive, and collaboration. Because of this, the reorganization led to the most innovative, agile, adaptable, and capable fighting force the world has ever seen.
Like the unpredictability of War, the Constant disruption and chaos in business are becoming increasingly noticeable, regardless of the size and type of industry, from talent acquisitions, technological advances, digital disruption, AI, rapid expansion, and unstable customer expectations and experiences. Slow adaptability with little agility to change can be a giant killer in any industry. Conversely, like the SEAL Teams, highly agile organizations will seize the day, respond appropriately to any challenge or change, and maintain their competitive edge in highly dynamic environments.
Here are “The 7 Ways To Respond To Constant Change With Agility And Adaptability.”
- Take Action: Most leaders are not agile or adaptable to change during economic uncertainty and tend to wait to see what happens before taking action. Leaders must understand that economic issues will impact their organization and that taking action and making decisions with the information they have is essential. The uncertainty and unpredictability over the last few years must be a gateway to future expectations and help individuals lead through disruption by implementing scenario-based exercises that will help anticipate potential blockages, take action, spot opportunities, make strategic decisions, and use the lessons learned from these exercises to enhance predictability and stability within your organization.
- Embrace Inflation: Organizations are fighting against inflation, its impact on business profitability, and the customers’ strategic spending decisions. Leaders, teams, and organizations are very aware of its impact and the overall dissatisfaction of their employees over the last year. Customer satisfaction and retention during times of hardship are of the utmost priority; however, in order to combat inflation, we must embrace it. We do this by deconstructing traditional structures and enhancing sustainability through workforce development and management. Like warriors on the battlefield, most companies have navigated all forms of chaos and disruption over the past few years, and when we embrace chaos and disruption, we are better equipped and bounce back quickly. Without knowing it, we become highly agile and adaptable in the process, and agility and adaptability are the keys to surviving dynamic change.
- Meet Changing Demands: All organizations understand the need for some form of organizational transformation to meet the demands of a diverse and ever-changing landscape. However, to change, leaders have found that they must be comfortable with internal transformation at a personal level – By adapting a growth mindset, implementing agile thinking, creating scenarios to enhance experiential learning, seeking out mentors and mentoring the next generation, strengthen innovation, maintain work-life balance, and ensure personal and professional wellness are all ways to help the individual meet these changing demands. In turn, the organization will reap the benefits.
- Prioritize Continuous Learning: Organizations must prioritize continuous learning and cultivate a culture of innovation and exploration to achieve true agility and adaptability. Like the SEAL Teams, business teams must recognize that data analytics is an invaluable tool that can be used to extract meaningful insight, assess and enhance performance, improve operational capabilities, and help make faster and more informed decisions. Additionally, candor at every level is paramount, and all team members must understand that mistakes are an opportunity to learn, while Psychological safety and a supportive environment are critical for organizational growth and success. Leaders should consistently drive the needle forward in all areas of growth, innovation, and business affirmation and how each can be utilized to deliver a greater customer service experience.
- Remain Opportunity-Oriented: One of the main characteristics of applying an agile mindset is an organization’s capacity to identify volatile conditions while remaining opportunity-oriented. An organizational culture that prioritizes agility and adaptability fosters an environment where team members can exchange ideas freely without reprisal, create innovative responses to complex problems, and execute corporate strategies during ambiguous and disruptive landscapes. Leaders at all levels must foster a growth mindset among employees for customer-facing projects and internal initiatives that enhance the desired results.
- Increase Collaboration: Cross-functional teams are advantageous for an agile and adaptable organization. The same tactical approaches used in the SEAL teams are as applicable on the battlefield as in business, where diverse individuals with different skills and unique abilities build strong, cohesive, and collaborative teams that work together to achieve specific goals around a common purpose. They break through the “silos” of a traditional organizational structure and focus on the big picture. They can also anticipate changes earlier in the process and identify and use potential resources scattered throughout various departments. The purpose is to bring them together, align priorities, and unleash the rewards of cross-functional teams during times of change and business reorganization.
- Bolster Resilience: Resilience increases agility and adaptability in individuals and teams that are in a constant state of flux or VUCA environments. With the continuing crises of inflation impacting businesses, leaders have been bolstering resilience by building strong, agile, and adaptable work cultures and teams, aligning systems and processes, and implementing effective management strategies. While in command of a highly clandestine training organization, Naval Special Warfare divested two large organizations and merged them into a single, highly capable command. During this volatile time, I was able to bolster resilience by strengthening relationships among team members and introducing collaborative models that break down silos and develop and create leaders that helped align our new mission, vision, and organizational goals while facilitating behavioral adjustments and mindset shifts needed to execute during constant disruption and change.
Remember that organizations live in a state of constant change and that agility and adaptability are crucial to success during both micro and micro business reorganization strategies. We must remind ourselves that change takes time and doesn’t happen overnight, but with the right tools, frameworks, and strategies, change can and will positively affect business outcomes.
These 7 performance points will help you respond to VUCA environments with agility and adaptability by taking action and responding quickly and effectively to constant disruption. Understanding that there are many strategies that allow individuals, teams, and organizations to remain agile and adaptable during change; I highly recommend starting with these to maintain a competitive edge in highly dynamic and competitive environments.
Mathew Lehnig is the VP of Programs a TakingPoint Leadership a former Navy SEAL Officer & Combat Proven Veteran, Author, Keynote Speaker, and an Expert in leadership development, organizational transformation, and building high-performance teams.
TakingPoint Leadership is a progressive Change Leadership management consulting firm focused on building alignment, accountability, resilience, and adaptability in every organization we partner with.
Learn more at www.takingpointleadership.com
Credit: Source link