Be Agile In Tough Times

Can you remember the beginning of 2020? Everything seemed so…normal. But in short order, everything changed. Now no person or company has been spared the impact of COVID-19.

To build a stronger, faster organization, these three principles should be on every leader’s radar.

Jen Stroud

The pace at which leaders have had to work and respond to business and employee needs has been relentless. The need for agility has never been greater.  How can organizations create agility and resiliency across their enterprise? Start by focusing on these three core principles:

1. Set the right tone 

There’s a great Sicilian proverb “Il pesce comincia a puzzare dalla testa” meaning “the fish stinks from the head.” In business terms, this means leadership always sets the tone for the company and its future. 

If an organization’s leaders believe in the importance of digital workflows in achieving agility, and if they demonstrate this by aligning resources to corresponding initiatives, this is a critical first step. Do leaders speak about and plan for digital transformation as a strategic imperative? Or is the effort consistently de-prioritized? Is the digital transformation a line item on a project plan or is it built into every aspect of their business,  including employee experience?

2. Embrace design thinking 

Leaders who embrace and exude a design-thinking mindset will see their efforts pay off in the short and long term. 

Design thinking is about actively looking outside your own perspective so you can be informed and inspired by the people for whom you are creating products and services. It’s about reaching out with empathy to uncover deep insights that will lead to game-changing services for your employees. 

Agility is a baked-in component of design thinking. By rapidly executing small experiments, ideas can quickly be made tangible. Your organization will learn first by creating, then by listening to immediate feedback from the people who will actually use your new services. 

3. Empower employees 

While it may seem counter-intuitive, providing your employees with greater choice can yield a far more agile, resilient organization. 

Over the past several months, we’ve seen a “work from anywhere” operating model arise, giving employees the opportunity to choose how, from where, and when they work. For many people this leads to greater life harmony—the long sought after work/home balance.    

The best leaders understand not every employee needs to work a strict 9-to-5 schedule. Some need a varied schedule of their own design that lets them manage personal priorities such as child or elder care while also remaining energized and focused on work. 

There’s no map for the road we travel today, but it but does has many curves, bumps and potholes. The more leaders can address these issues positively and proactively, the closer they will be to building a workforce ready to face the challenges ahead.

Article by Forbes

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