‘Agility’ seems to be the buzz word at the moment. Over the dinner table recently a friend working in a Project capacity in a large UK blue-chip said all he hears about at work is, ‘agility’. His organisation is clearly striving to be a ‘Geesink’. In John Barnes and Richard Richardson’s book, ‘Marketing Judo’ the authors refer to ‘Sloth’ organisations and ‘Geesink’ organisations which is terminology used to describe how receptive and able an organisation is to change and responds to customer and environmental trends in the discipline of Marketing.
What they really hone in on throughout this book is how a business is structured and how receptive Directors and senior employees’ attitudes are towards accepting the need for, and then responding, to change. Often in our experience the former is the key and the latter will follow through well thought out and planned structural change, provided it is supported with cultural and leadership follow up initiatives. In these difficult economic times it is so important that you have your business structure and corresponding processes right to allow your business to be the most efficient and lean it can be.
Twice this year we have facilitated separate organisations become more ‘client and customer centric’ in their approach, which has reaped dividends for them commercially with customer feedback and loyalty translating to their bottom line.
How can you do this too? Well it’s relatively easy; I’m sure every business book, business coach, guru and mentor will encourage you to have a clear vision of where you are going with your business. From profitability to market segment and beyond, but what is often missing in the business strategy jigsaw is the configuration of your people to help you achieve your aims. Why? Because what is often hard for business owners and management to do is to take the ‘person’ out to the scenario and focus on what the business needs. When we work with people we generate relationships, understanding and get to know their family. It’s inevitable. Through time we accept strengths and weaknesses and develop our own biases towards what people can and can’t do. It’s often these biases that hold us back and consequently hold our business back.
So how can you proceed to achieve your aims and free yourself from your biases particularly if you are considering reconfiguration or restructuring in your business? Step one: Take a holiday. No seriously, take a break from your business. Sometimes, ‘can’t see the wood for the trees rings only too true.’ Step two; Start with a clean sheet of paper. No! I am not insinuating that you sack your whole team and start again! What I am saying is look at your business strategy, the one where you state your aims and objectives and then draw the job titles, duties and functions that would support the achievement of these aims. Then, and this is the most important part, create, a person specification for each role, the old fashioned, ‘essential and desirable’ criteria that the job holder should have in their armoury of skills and experience. You can then measure your existing team against this to evaluate and ensure the right people go into the right roles. If you are then discovering that there are skills gaps in your present incumbents or across your team you can then work to fill these skills gaps. Solve. can support you with this.
As a result, when you have the correctly skilled people in place with clear direction and an understanding and aspiration to deliver to the business objectives, that’s when you can truly describe your business as ‘Agile’.