Organizational Agility to Drive Growth

Having advised clients on sales and marketing challenges for some time now, our experience shows us they typically have challenges in one or more of the 4 key areas:

  • Alignment
  • Process/Delivery
  • MarTech Enablers/Technology
  • Organizational Agility/Design

Organizational agility is definitely worth focusing on because of how rapidly things are changing right now in the business world. 

Organizational agility is the capacity of a business to respond quickly.  Having a team that can easily pivot is invaluable. However, even outside of these unprecedented times, organizational agility is an important trait.  Alison Farmer identifies key traits for organizational agility in this interview. 

What are some of the barriers that you find with building great cultures at any company?

  1. Organizational agility begins with intentional leadership. The old adage that people create the culture is true. However, leaders are what lay the groundwork in terms of what they allow, encourage, and promote. This creates a container where company culture is, well… cultivated!  As a result, the wrong leadership can actually be a barrier.  You can’t treat company culture like a normal business initiative, where you have a meeting, announce the plan, then roll it out.
  1. Creating clearly defined mission, vision and values is key.  Faltering here means that your team won’t understand how to move towards organizational agility. People need empowerment and a poor vision undercuts this since you constantly need to check to make sure people are following your guidance.
  1. Open communication is important as well. Communication matters because it helps people point out where there is a gap between the stated company culture and the actual company culture. Work-life balance is a good example. Right now, during the pandemic many people have less of a boundary between work-life balance.  If there isn’t work-life balance, and there isn’t a communication channel where people can communicate this divide this may end up eroding your agility foundation.

When it comes to organizational agility, what are some of the key do’s and don’ts?

Start with a strong foundation. Organizational agility is accomplished through speed AND stability. When thinking of foundation, it starts with leadership. So, your business should be investing in leaders who manage results rather than tasks. Strong leaders who listen and engage employees make the difference in any culture. 

One example here is the fallacy of an annual survey for employee feedback. Many companies think this is empowering enough, but so much can change in a year that this is more of a missed opportunity than anything else. Strong leaders should be ready to listen, engage with questions, and fully understand how happy and engaged their teams are.

What is the biggest opportunity that CEO’s have when it comes to organizational agility? 

The focus on speed – Many people have speed blinders, and they come from a good place, trying to stay relevant and innovate.  However, those things don’t work without that stable foundation, as it just leads to a lopsided focus. Many CEOs think that investing in speed, innovation, and agility is the only thing to focus on.  However, if you don’t balance that with investing in employees and creating a solid foundation, your plan will collapse under pressure.  The solution: Culture is something that is built over time.

Organizational agility is an invaluable asset to any business, but it can be difficult to implement. With that said, it’s well worth the time and effort.  If you are struggling in this area please reach out to Alison and our team of advisors to help.  We are happy to have a conversation.  

Be sure to follow the Mahdlo blog and for more information and news on the marketing world and how to improve your business.

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Watch the full interview here.

Picture of Alison Farmer

Alison Farmer

Advisor, Executive Coach

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