What is Strategic Agility?
Strategic agility is the ability to adapt quickly based on what's going on in your organization - and I think we all have a newfound appreciation for adaptability after COVID.
Restaurants pivoted from majority of business dine into all dine out, grocery stores hustled to add curbside pick-up, and retail stores went from in-person to nearly all online shopping. Without the ability to adapt - who knows if these organizations would have survived.
What is Strategic Adaptability?
The first step in strategic adaptability is to get a very clear idea of your business strategy by determining:
What am I trying to accomplish?
How do I get there?
How does Business Acumen help you to adapt?
Once you've got these questions answered, you should have a solid plan to move forward. The thing that really allows you to be adaptable is...you guessed it - Business acumen! Business acumen skills give you the ability to understand:
what's going on in your industry
what's going on with your customers
and then to use this information to be able to make that adaptation.
To succeed long term, it's essential that you understand your business well enough to say 'I gotta change' and then to have the agility, the systems, the processes to successfully make these changes. If you don't have the flexibility and capability to acknowledge when changes need to be made, and successfully implement them - you won't be able to keep up with the industry. And as history tells us with examples like Sears, JCPenny, and Blockbuster, if you're not willing to change and adapt, you won't succeed.
BUT, strategic agility isn't just about figuring out where you'd like to go and making a plan to get there, you'll also need the ability to successfully implement the plan. This means each individual within your organization will need to make a change, so it's essential that your team is on board. Business acumen allows your team to understand why a change must be made, and to be a real contributor on the road to change. It allows them to understand:
what the company is trying to do
what's going on around them
how to make better business decisions
A deep understanding of your business gives you the knowledge you need to determine what decisions have to be made and to change or adapt your strategic direction. The more you and your team understand about your business, the competition, and the external factors impacting the business, the more agile you can be...otherwise, you're just guessing!
Take this 10 Question Quiz to test your business acumen and see how prepared you are for upcoming change in your company:
Why is Agility Necessary for Your Company's Survival?
Why would you practice agility, when planning is key in the corporate world? Did you forget about Covid? How overnight, everything flopped? Or what about when the economy crashed in 2007-2009? We were losing money faster than we could even count it. 9/11 was a time of real uncertainty not only for our safety but economically as well! These are all relatively recent examples that require us to be flexible and agile. A recent article gave some key points for companies to focus on, to help them be more agile:
- Be Strategic About In-House Departments
- Reduce and Focus on Priorities and Goals
- Lean into Harmonized Retail
- Make Agility a Recruitment Focal Point
- Maintain an Agile Mindset
- Lead by Example
I have a favorite from this list...I know you aren’t supposed to "have favorites”... but I do. Lead by Example.
How to implement adaptability into your own company:
This is everybody’s favorite thing to say, and it’s no different in business. However, I think there are some great points to it. And – I'll even give you the best ways to implement it. Transparency, simplicity, and adaptability.
Transparency – You should strive to be beyond communicative. If you think you’ve overcommunicated, you’ve probably hit it right on the head. Make sure you're communicating different changes, and are extremely transparent with everybody’s roles. Nobody needs surprises!
Simplicity – Being an agile company means keeping things simple. Keep your systems easy to navigate, make hiring an uncomplicated process, and be sure to keep meetings straightforward. Your employees will be able to focus on the key points you’re trying to make.
Adaptability – Being adaptable individuals, will translate to an adaptable company. If you can adapt to the economy, changes in your marketplace, new competitors coming in, new employees, or a new market of customers you’ve never worked with, you can be an agile company!
Adapting to the market, your customers, and your surroundings is not only important but necessary for a company's survival. To further understand where your company stands and how you'll survive through economic turns, you'll need business acumen.
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