The Ledger No. 57: Building an Agile Organization

July 7, 2022 Sarah Dameron

leadership team in talks building an agile organization

Welcome to The Ledger where we sum up the latest finance and accounting news and trends for you. On this week’s entry, we’re diving into the topic of building an agile organization in a continuously changing world. Read on to explore agile principles your company can follow, how to manage resistance to change within an agile organization, a CFO perspective on leading agile change and the anatomy of an agile business.

The Weekly Ledger building an agile organization

Agile Principles Your Organization Can Follow

It’s easy to move your company forward, despite obstacles, when your company practices agile methodologies. Moreover, having employees that are willing to adapt on a moment’s notice adds to your business’s overall success. But how exactly do organizations achieve success? And most importantly, what agile principles should leaders keep in mind to get there?

  • Be open to new situations. An example of this would be offering communication in multiple formats such as email, social media, text, etc.

  • Execute decisions quickly. Some decisions need to happen fast, others require careful consideration.

  • Engage motivated employees. Your workers are the cornerstone of your business – motivating them produces higher productivity and engagement.

  • Be adaptable. In today’s world, being adaptable is key. Thinking outside your usual ammo is what invites success.

  • Have two-way communication. Don’t foster a culture that looks down on differing opinions.

  • Inspire and support teams. Your team is looking to you, their leader, to direct them. And as a leader, you need to support your team through difficult situations.

  • Give real-time feedback. Don’t wait for your one-on-one meetings to give feedback to your employees.

To learn more about what principles your company can follow to start building an agile organization (including the complete list), check out the full article on forbes.com.

Managing Resistance to Change in an Agile Organization

If you want your company to succeed, you need to embrace change. And the only way to do that is by being adaptable. But being adaptable is more than just offering new services and calling it a day; it begins with your employees. The truth is, you’re probably going to get pushback when you introduce change into your org – some workers might be resistant and that’s completely normal. However, you’ll need to combat change resistance to keep your business agile. Here’s how:

  • Establishing an agile workplace culture. The easiest way to do this is by making flexibility and versatility company core values. Changing your culture is not an overnight process – it takes time.

  • Breaking up bureaucracy. Sure, bureaucracy has its advantages, but on the flipside, it leans more towards the status quo, which can be a hindrance to agile processes.

  • Making unfamiliarity and discomfort acceptable norms. Introduce unfamiliar situations more frequently. By starting small, your team will end up being more at ease with bigger and more significant changes to the workplace climate.

  • Setting an example. You’re doing your team a disservice when you follow the same routine every day, never breaking the pattern. However, if you’re trying new things and are open to new ideas, your team will be much more open to change.

  • Providing individual feedback. Sometimes, people just need a little push in the right direction. Having a conversation with those that are resistant to change encourages them to be more open minded about potential changes in the future.

For more on how to overcome change resistance in your company, read the full article on entrepreneur.com.

Leading Agile Change: A CFO Perspective

In the wake of the pandemic, many financial leaders are making the shift towards being more agile. But what are the advantages of moving to agile?

  • Increased transparency. Everyone in your organization should know where your business is going, what the business is working on and who is working on its key strategic priorities.

  • Better teamwork among leaders. Breaking down the silos of executive leadership duties enables more informed and accurate completion of leadership functions.

  • The evolved role of the CFO. In the past, CFOs were considered number-crunchers. But today, CFOs are shifting to helping shape the company’s key strategies.

And to understand the benefits listed above better, businesses need to overcome business process challenges. Challenges like:

  • Prioritization. What takes precedence in your org and how do you set those parameters?

  • Performance management and reporting. Without performance management, it becomes difficult to shift to established ways of working, align individuals between organization priorities and foster a business owner mindset.

So how can companies become successful in their agile transformation?

  • Invest time in building long-term priorities. They don’t have to be definitive, but they should be agreed-upon.

  • Build a bulletproof process. Priorities should start at the top and then filter down. The only way to do this is by creating strong processes around performance management and reporting.

  • Think about culture. Your employees will be the ones to deliver on your priorities. Pay close attention to your culture as that can make or break your business.

Only agile organizations are well-positioned to thrive in a post-pandemic world. To discover the impact and challenges of leading an agile transformation, head over to mckinsey.com to check out the full article.

The Anatomy of an Agile Organization

Agility is no longer a nice-to-have, it’s a necessity if you want to thrive in today’s unprecedented market. Many organizations lean towards predictability, while others lean into the unfamiliar. And while others are content with the status quo, being an agile company means transforming your business no matter how uncomfortable the journey may get.

The pandemic highlighted the need to adapt to shifting customer and employee demands. The reality is, major disruptions, such as Covid-19, often forces a business to show its true colors and how well it can pivot. So how can you help your company become agile?

  • Seeing opportunities during a time of uncertainty. Your organization must always keep an eye on what’s happening – from trends, competition and more.

  • Adopting new technologies. Companies that were successful in their response to the pandemic were also the ones using advanced technologies.

  • Retaining your talent. In light of the Great Resignation, it’s imperative that companies work hard to keep the staff they have on hand by offering flexible work arrangements.

To explore how to start building an agile organization, check out the complete article on forbes.com.

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