Wikipedia says this: “Agility refers to the ability of a business system to rapidly respond to change by adapting its initial stable configuration”. Whoa! Haven’t we done this before? Probably, but not at the speed required today. The saying “nothing is as stable as change” is still relevant. What has changed is the speed of change.
While in the 1950s it took years for a new product to reach a million units sold, today it sometimes takes hours or days, depending on the product. One reason for this is the vast amount of digitally available information that makes it possible to compare products. And that in turn influences purchasing decisions.
Large companies acting like small ones
In order to keep pace with this rapid development, large companies now also have to demonstrate the agility of a small company. We have to find out quickly what needs to be done and who is best suited for it. And then it’s time to get going.
These altered processes have consequences that large companies sometimes have difficulty with:
– Employees must feel comfortable taking on responsibility (empowerment).
– Managers must feel comfortable giving up responsibility and focusing on supporting and empowering employees.
For this to succeed, certain processes have to be defined so that nothing gets out of hand and also so that mistakes are accepted, even desired, in order to learn and gain new insights.
People remain the key to success
Most large companies want to become agile or are already agile. But if everyone does, where is the competitive advantage? In people. This is not a new insight either, but today it is truer than ever. In our fast-moving VUCA world it is important to know the skills and talents of our employees as well as possible and to use them as extensively as possible. Then this competitive advantage can really make a difference. Do you want to know how to do that? Then call me!
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