Business agility refers to an organization's ability to adapt to market changes, customer demands and internal shifts in an efficient and cost-effective manner. Businesses that best respond to unexpected situations are the ones that integrate adaptive qualities into their leadership, work culture, strategic outlook and day-to-day policies.
How Does Agility Help?
Most companies would describe themselves as adaptive, but not every company actively integrates agility into everyday practices and long-term planning. A 2017 survey by HelpNetSecurity found that a surprisingly low percentage of companies are not as agile as they claim.
While nearly 85% of survey participants said agility gives their companies a "distinct advantage" over the competition, only 10% of executives said they are leveraging business agility across their entire organization. Roadblocks to fully implementing the benefits of agility include:
- Complex work environments (64%)
- Cultural barriers (58%)
- Lack of financial commitment to change (25%)
- Outdated tools (25%)
Companies must adapt to consumers. Services like Uber Eats, Amazon Fresh and home delivery companies are just a few examples of businesses that are growing because they align with trends in the consumer market. The growth of delivery services is a win-win for both consumers and private companies.
Agile businesses can generate new forms of income by observing cultural shifts as well as consumer habits. Consumers are becoming much more health conscious, for example, so large soft drink corporations like PepsiCo and Coca-Cola are changing their marketing to appeal to consumers who may prefer tea and vitamin water to traditional beverages.
Know What the Customer Wants
A recent article in HuffPost gave advice on how companies can quickly adapt to consumer trends. The article suggests that companies develop IT systems that engage with consumers while compiling data on their spending habits and interests. Relationship management and customer service are time-tested tools for ensuring that customers feel comfortable when voicing feedback.
Work culture also plays a major role in making business decisions quickly and efficiently. A business's culture is defined by its core values, practices and behavior. When employees do not trust each other, it can slow the implementation of new policies. Agile companies exhibit trust, transparency and a commitment to collaboration.
Being agile is not simply about reacting. The most successful companies observe and lead in their respective industries. A company that knows its customer base can be a thought leader that anticipates innovations.
Learn Business Flexibility With an Online MBA From Pittsburg State University
Business leaders who can successfully implement agility across various departments must have a wide range of skills. At its core, agility is a human quality. The leadership and communication skills taught through a Master of Business Administration degree program are critical to understanding how to cultivate an agile workplace and work culture.
Pittsburg State University's online MBA program prepares tomorrow's business leaders with a broad-based curriculum that covers topics like business analysis, behavioral management and marketing. The online program is taught by PSU faculty and can be completed in 12 months. Approximately 90% of graduates are employed or enrolled in advanced studies within six months of graduation.
Learn more about the Pittsburg State online MBA program.
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