Even though it’s no secret that small to medium-sized businesses often have vastly fewer resources in comparison to larger enterprises, prioritizing agility is just as critical for their survival. This is because, in today’s world, where a variety of unpleasant surprises can arise at any time, you must be well prepared to avoid becoming overwhelmed. Recent events, such as the pandemic, supply chain issues, war, inflation and The Great Resignation, serve as explicit indicators of why your SMB needs to be agile.
When the needs of your customers, employees, the market, the economy and other factors change, agile businesses can adapt quickly and keep working toward their business goals. To be agile, you must have systems in place that allow you to respond quickly to rapidly changing conditions and opportunities by preparing your people, processes and technologies.
However, agility doesn’t happen overnight. You will encounter setbacks that can make your agility journey a bumpy ride. Knowing that is the first step towards business agility.
On your journey to organizational agility, watch out for these 5 roadblocks*:
In the context of agility, this refers to a business unit’s unwillingness to adopt innovations due to risk-averse mindsets or the perceived risk of innovations gobbling up existing business.
Whenever a business unit’s goals and priorities are misaligned, it’s probably due to workplace politics. It can lead to the dispersal of innovation efforts and the establishment of competing innovation units within the same enterprise, stretching resources and diluting the impact.
It could also take the form of a refusal to restructure the innovation portfolio to focus on a few mission-critical priorities, preferring instead to keep “pet projects” going for long periods of time.
Information silos prevent business units from sharing information. When information – or any other valuable asset, such as core talent – is hoarded and kept hidden from others, the entire company suffers. Information silos, in conjunction with workplace politics, could explain why some innovations, while successful within the unit, fail to scale in the principal business.
Innovation units can become disconnected from the central business and lose sight of the company’s vision and mission over time. When this happens – which is especially likely when innovation units are in a different city or country than the management team – the innovation team may start to define its purpose in ways incompatible with the main business.
Failure is a foregone conclusion if the main business’s leadership team does not buy in or participate. This could be because they have never been sufficiently engaged or because their attention has been spread too thin across many initiatives.
Constantly keeping an eye out for the roadblocks mentioned above may be more than most SMBs can handle since it requires a significant amount of effort, time and skillsets. However, by partnering with an expert MSP like us, you can focus on your business while we make your journey towards organizational agility as smooth as possible.
We’ve also created a comprehensive checklist titled “3 Ways to Make Your Organization More Agile” that you can download by clicking below to help you dive deeper into the concept.
*Organizational Agility – IESE Business School
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