Why business agility is essential
And what we do to get you there
A tectonic shift is reshaping organizations
The business and operating models of most organizations are the legacy of mechanistic systems that flourished in the early 1900s. They can be traced back to industry titans Frederick Taylor and Henry Ford.
Taylor influenced the course of history by applying science to the engineering of processes and management. In doing so, he was able to eliminate waste and achieve mass production.
This paved the way for Ford to dominate the auto industry. Ford employed assembly lines and labor specialization to deliver 8x production efficiencies, reducing costs to a tipping point that brought automobiles into the mainstream.
Today, most organizations still follow the static, siloed, structural hierarchy that fueled 20th-century growth. Goals and decisions flow down the hierarchy, and siloed units adhere to strict annual budgets and seek approval for initiatives at every turn.
The skeletal structure is strong—but also rigid and slow moving.
In contrast, an agile business is built for velocity and adaptability, and continuously creating new sources of competitive advantage. Agile operating models reconfigure strategy, structure, processes, people, and technology toward the pursuit of value-creating and value-protecting opportunities.
Agility allows businesses to harness the energy of change, continuously innovate, and bring desired products to market—breathing new life into the firm.
Why change now?
The term “VUCA” was first used in 1987 to describe the increasing volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity associated with the global forces of change. Since then, we have seen entire industries collapse, dominant firms get upended, and operating models become obsolete.
To surmount the VUCA challenge and drive the growth demanded by stakeholders, many leaders turn to tried and trusted techniques.
But, the statistics are overwhelmingly clear that this will not work. S&P 500 data show that corporate lifespans are contracting rapidly—from 60 years in the 1950s to maybe 15 years today.
Studies show that the vast majority of firms have recently restructured in an attempt to sustain performance. Yet, less than a quarter are successful. Typical approaches to restructuring soak up precious time and drain people’s energy.
We believe business agility offers a way to keep pace with emerging technologies, shifting consumer demands, increasing competition, and new policy and regulation.
As old models are sinking in the face of rapid change, business agility allows you to harness this energy, continuously innovate, and bring desired products to market—breathing new life into your firm. Studies show big gains at organizations that have successfully made the transition to agile ways of working.
How we can help
Any organization can make the leap to business agility—but most who try fall short.
That’s because a successful transformation requires commitment from everyone in the organization. It also means changing the way teams work, and the environment in which they operate.
We work at 3 layers of your organization to drive success:
At the top layer, leaders develop strategic priorities that embody vision and purpose while providing clarity for teams. They reorganize how work gets done, shifting ownership to their network of teams. They also change the way projects are funded, talent is hired and developed, and the culture is nurtured.
A layer down, managers and leaders learn to coach. They focus more of their efforts on aligning teams to priorities, developing capabilities, and ensuring accountability.
At the core layer, we equip your teams to become the primary unit of delivery. Agile practices drive rapid decision and learning cycles. Tools enhance team awareness and keep everyone on track. And, most importantly, team members develop mindsets needed for agility, such as getting to done and customer focus.
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