In this age of digital disruption, no sector is safe. Millennials are turning to bots—not brokers—for solid financial advice. Factory workers are assembling widgets alongside collaborative robots. And artificial intelligence services are finding job candidates faster and more efficiently than veteran HR managers. Executives wonder how to change their companies to satisfy customers.
The answer: Achieve greater agility. More than simply a single process or methodology, organizational agility is the ability to:
- Adjust strategies on a continuous basis
- Empower employees to make key decisions on challenging projects
- Respond to ambiguity and uncertainty with flexibility and speed
- View unanticipated change as an opportunity for transformation
By introducing flexibility and adaptability enterprise-wide, organizations can respond faster to fluctuating market conditions, improve overall organizational efficiency, and enhance customer satisfaction. Utilizing approaches that support greater agility can result in bottom-line benefits such as new revenue streams and first-to-market positioning.
A recent report by Forbes Insights and the Project Management Institute, “Achieving Greater Agility: The Essential Influence of the C-Suite,” examines how companies can achieve and best use agility. Based on a global survey of more than 500 senior executives, as well as interviews with some of today’s foremost executives, the study delves into questions such as: How aware is the C-suite of agility’s importance? What role should the C-suite play in driving greater organizational agility? How can companies create a culture that encourages dynamism and innovation? What capabilities are required to adapt rapidly?
Some key findings:
- Most C-level executives agree organizational agility is critical to successful digital transformation. Yet many organizations are ill-prepared to quickly adopt and implement new strategies.
- The advantages of agility are far-reaching—from driving revenue and accelerating speed-to-market to attracting talent and meeting customer expectations.
- In addition to key capabilities, culture is one of the biggest enablers of organizational agility.
- People management, procedural overhaul and a new mindset are the three pillars of cultural change.
- A CEO must act as a key catalyst for cultural change and an evangelist for greater agility. However, CEOs come in many flavors and bring about transformational change in more ways than one.
- Savvy organizations fully utilize the PMO to shape and influence a responsive culture.
A staggering 92% of surveyed executives believe that organizational agility, or the ability to rapidly respond to market conditions and external factors, is critical to business success. Eighty-two percent of respondents report that proficiency in agile approaches is important for the implementation of strategic initiatives. And 84% agree that organizational agility is necessary to succeed in digital transformation.
Yet only 27% of the executives we surveyed consider themselves highly agile. Ill-prepared to pivot quickly and adopt new strategies, these organizations run the risk of being sidelined by faster and more nimble competitors.
Regardless of project management approach, agility plays a significant role in accelerating production cycles, enhancing product development, spurring collaboration, and supporting fail-fast strategies for digital transformation and innovation. But as our research indicates, and executives corroborate, these gains are more than anecdotal.
If executed correctly, our survey findings indicate that agility is a game-changing approach to business, with significant bottom-line implications and a key competitive differentiator.
Organizations that consider themselves highly agile are seeing several business benefits.
- 41% of respondents say profits and/or revenue have improved because of agility
- 50% credit agility with their ability to be faster to market
- 47% credit agility with helping them make faster decisions
- 47% say agility has helped with responding to and meeting customer/consumer expectations
In financial terms, 31% of organizations that characterize themselves as highly agile have increased EBITDA by 20% or more as opposed to 1% of organizations that characterize themselves as having average agility.
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