Change is all around us. The pace of work is rapidly changing, economies and industries are evolving, and the nature of how and where people work is being redefined every day. Your ability to be agile, nimble and adapt with these changes in order to thrive (not just simply ‘survive’) will be the key to both yours and your organisation’s success – now and in the future.
In becoming agile, organisations are more strongly positioned to ride the waves of significant change; from shifts in the economy, to the rise of market challenges or the emergence of revolutionary technologies. A key driver to becoming an agile organisation is about empowering your team and giving them the tools and strategies they need to effectively embrace change.
The fear of falling behind
A recent report[i] from PA Consulting found that 70 percent of finance leaders believed their competitors will steal market share from them by 2023 if they don’t reinvent their company’s business model.
The reality of becoming an agile organisation can be hugely challenging, particularly for larger and more established businesses that have entrenched processes and hierarchical structures at their heart. What traditionally made these more established businesses so strong can now potentially hamper their ability to respond and react swiftly to change.
Maria Phillips, CFO for Velocity Frequent Flyer believes that agility is a vital part of a successful business, “The problem, in my experience, is there’s a strategy on a page and everyone follows it, but the world’s moved on. You’ve got to evolve and be prepared to adapt it,” she said at a Moir Group event earlier in the year.
To stay on the front foot, CFOs and other senior finance leaders need to think beyond the numbers. It is now essential to empower your teams and embed transformation skills at every level of the organisation.
7 key ways to empower your team
- Rethink entrenched business practices – Albert Einstein famously said that we cannot keep doing the same things over again and expecting a different result. It’s important to have an open mind when it comes to change and to be able to embed this way of thinking in your company culture. Question traditional silos, structures and ways of doing things. Just because it has worked in the past, doesn’t mean it will work now. Embrace new ways of thinking. Bring together people and teams that wouldn’t normally work together to share ideas, resources and devise new ways of doing things.
- Entrust to act – Autonomous teams think independently and mobilise quickly. They offer a nimble response to new challenges and opportunities that arise. Empower your employees to make key decisions wherever you can. Encourage them to have a view.
- Foster innovation – It’s important to have a growth mindset. Create an organisational culture that fosters innovation and learning. Develop mechanisms for measuring and inspiring innovation at individual and team performance levels. Valuing progress over perfection will help the organisation to constantly move forward.
- Mix stability with flexibility – Clearly articulate your vision, values and objectives, but don’t dictate the path required to achieve organisational goals. Provide opportunities for your workforce to challenge the status quo, but also allow for periods of stability and recovery so that your workforce doesn’t fatigue. Sustainable growth is more important than growth at any cost.
- Allow for failure – The ability to change and adapt will always involve a degree of calculated risk. Build in a cultural tolerance for mistakes and acknowledge that failure is an integral part of success. Often through failure, comes an opportunity for growth. “I’m a big fan of not wasting a good crisis,” said Rabobank’s Group Executive HR, Cathy Doyle.
- Appreciate & reward individuality – Create a culture of openness and inclusiveness so that staff feel confident to let their individual strengths and viewpoints shine. Make sure your workforce feel valued and put measures in place to create connected teams that bring out the best in each other.
- Never stop trying – Market conditions, trends and technologies are all constantly changing so you can’t rest on your laurels. Stay abreast of what’s happening around you, re-evaluate regularly and look at things with fresh eyes in order to become an agile organisation.
The benefits of becoming an agile organisation
Agile organisations tend to have high levels of employee and customer satisfaction.
According to resilience and leadership expert Graeme Cowan, “trust, shared goals, respect, collaboration, awareness, understanding and support are all the foundations for building resilient and empowered teams.”
Innovative and flexible organisations are also much more likely to thrive in fast-paced and volatile market conditions. This, coupled with greater efficiencies and speed to market, make a compelling case for empowering your teams and guiding them towards becoming more agile.
Would you like help finding a strong transformational leader, or assistance building an agile team? Contact us to find out how we can help.