by Rob Joseph, Director, BeaconCFO Plus

A skilled basketball player moves nimbly up and down the court with grace. She is agile, ready to adapt, and acts quickly to react to her opponent.

Does your business operate with similar agility? Are you positioned to change course quickly to react to changing market conditions or your competitors’ actions?

Consider this definition of organizational agility from Aaron De Smet at McKinsey & Company:

“Agility is the ability of an organization to renew itself, adapt, change quickly, and succeed in a rapidly changing, ambiguous, turbulent environment. Agility is not incompatible with stability—quite the contrary. Agility requires stability for most companies.”

An agile organization is one that can:

  • Respond to new market conditions and competitors
  • Proactively problem solve and get ahead of customer complaints
  • Learn, adapt, grow, and innovate
  • Minimize internal time and resources
  • Work within a flexible technical system

It can be tempting to do what has always worked in the past. You may have grown a successful organization using a top-down management structure and very controlled processes, so why change it now? If you want to become a more agile organization, you must not be too comfortable with the status quo. An insistence on “doing things the same” is what leads to bottlenecks in your organization.

If you want to take steps toward becoming a more agile organization, start small. Focus on making changes to your infrastructure, processes, and technology. These ideas will get you started.

• Teach your employees to solve problems. If you give your team members more autonomy to direct their own work and goals, they will be more motivated to collaborate, problem-solve, and find solutions.

• Encourage in-person team check-ins. Your employees update each other through virtual platforms and chat boxes all day, but nothing can replace the value of face-to-face communication. A quick morning huddle can help build stronger communication.

• Learn not to get attached. Your workflows, processes, technology, and employees—all of these aspects of your business could change at any time. When something inevitably needs to change, you will be able to adapt and adjust.

• Give your teams what they need to be successful. Employees should have clear performance metrics and expectations, along with the freedom to make decisions. Let them establish goals and work toward them—give them opportunities to think critically and be responsible for their own problem-solving.

As you work to become a more agile business, it will be key to have effective financial software and processes in place. Our experienced part-time and project-based CFOs will be your partner in streamlining your financial technology and putting the right tools in place to promote efficiency and productivity. If you are interested in learning more about our outsourced CFO services, please reach out to our team.

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