“Success today requires the agility and drive to constantly rethink, reinvigorate, react, and reinvent.” Bill Gates
What is business agility?
Agility involves adopting a new mindset and a new way of thinking. According to the Agile Project Leadership Network being agile includes:
- Being value delivery focused,
- Frequently interacting with the project team and business users,
- Managing uncertainty through iterative implementations,
- Creating an environment where team members can unleash their creativity,
- Where groups hold each other accountable and information is displayed transparently,
- And finally, continuous improvement is made possible through frequent reviews and after-action reviews.
Business agility should improve Objectives and Key Results (OKRs)
What are the Objectives and Key Results? Objectives are the items that describe what an organization plans to do to meet its strategic mission and purpose. Key Results are the items that describe how each objective will be achieved and the time frame it will be achieved in.
The key benefit of OKRs is to implement them on a system that is visible to the entire organization, and that can cascade OKRs at different levels within the organizations so that they are aligned. This enables everyone to know that their work is aligned and connected to the organization’s overall strategic direction.
Business agility should improve engagement
Once an organization has implemented an OKR process that is updated monthly or quarterly they will experience improved engagement amongst employees, team members, and business stakeholders.
Engagement improves amongst team members when they know that what they are working on makes an impact on the organization’s mission and vision. Skilled employees have choices, and when they have elected to join your organization, they have elected to believe in and support the organization’s mission and vision. If they know that their work impacts the overall goals of the organization they will naturally give their head, heart, and hands to the mission.
Engagement can be measured by high-performing project teams, team members working together and co-creating solutions to difficult problems, team members embracing feedback from others, and an increase in project team productivity.
Business agility should increase customer satisfaction.
I have placed customer satisfaction last on the list because when an organization is aligned with its set of OKRs, and employee engagement is improving then a natural outcome of engaged and happy employees will be satisfied and happy customers.
For some strange reason organizations, not all, tend to focus on improving customer satisfaction scores first and then employee satisfaction. In my research of the most valued organization’s they always focus on creating engaged and happy employees who want to delight their customers.
Customer satisfaction becomes a natural outgrowth of satisfied and happy employees.
Is your business agile?
Organizations that are not embracing the concept of business agility will find that they do not have the capability or capacity to be nimble or flexible to technology or market changes. They will find themselves left behind as more agile organizations are able to pivot and adjust.
If you’re trying to determine how agile your business is then know this, you should be measuring how you are performing in the areas of your OKRs, employee engagement, and finally customer satisfaction scores.
Finally, check out my TEDx Talk to learn how practicing any skill can help you establish a productive and agile mindset.
Gerald Leonard, PfMP, PMP, MCTS, CQIA, ITIL, COBIT, is the CEO of Principles of Execution (PofE), a Certified Minority Business Enterprise, Strategic Project Portfolio Management and Culture Change consulting practice with over 20 years of experience working with Federal and State Governments and large multinational corporations. He works with organizations and professionals who want to develop a culture that works, leveraging agile strategies to do more with less and improve your bottom line results. Gerald is the author of “Culture Is The Bass: 7 Principles for Developing A Culture That Works” and an upcoming book, “Symphonic Culture: Unify, Strategize, and Execute Collectively for Optimum Results.” Gerald writes about strategic portfolio management and organizational culture change.