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The State of Agile Business Strategy and leadership in 2019

May 07, 2019

Agile, once the mainstay of project management and technology, has permeated into virtually every stage of business decision making and process efficiency enhancements today. The importance finds roots in a constantly evolving and disrupted organizational environment in the 21st century. Silos are a thing of the past, and self-organizing teams are the way forward. According to McKinsey, less than 10% of the S&P 500 component companies remained in the category between 1983 and 2013. That’s a whopping 90% drop - let that sink in. While the study revealed that around 2,000 business strategy leaders are constantly adapting and redesigning their business strategies (roughly 82% of them redesigned their entire organizational structure and operating procedures over the past three years), only 23% of the enterprises are able to transform their business operations successfully and completely. Business strategy leaders, consultants and analysts who focus on leveraging the strength of the available human capital are the fittest to lead organizations into the future, and they will not only survive, but thrive.

Adopting fluidity in otherwise orthodox and silo driven environments can be a daunting task, and many have fallen by the wayside in their efforts to transform into agile enterprises. The most common, and perhaps the most important among them, is the approach to business strategy in delivering and implementing business concepts. Some of the key changes at the strategic level include being more imbibed in daily operations of the organization and driving employee participation through inspiration and creativity: design thinking, in short.

By far the most important trait, and something that places the agile organization miles ahead of its peers is the ability to move quickly and seamlessly integrate newer functions, processes and ideas within teams and across the enterprise as a whole. But for business strategy consultants and analysts worth their salt, the roots run far deeper than cosmetic changes. It is absolutely imperative for them to incorporate a completely new outlook, a fresh perspective, on realignment within the organization.

WHAT DO AGILE BUSINESS STRATEGISTS DO DIFFERENTLY?

In the quest for agile strategy and leadership in organizations, as mentioned above, many have, indeed, fallen by the wayside. The Strategy Institute analyzed the heroes that emerged to lead successful transformation within their organizations and examined the common characteristics of successful, world-class agile business strategy leaders.

CREATIVITY OVER REACTIVITY

Knee- jerk is a thing of the past. Agile leaders and analysts are always in the know, right at the granular level. They anticipate, and move efficiently and quickly, to poise their organizations to be better suited to changes and disruptions in their market, industries and sectors. This sets them apart from the dogmatic management hierarchical structures of the past, especially in an era where every enterprise is on tenterhooks about the next big disruption in their markets. This usually goes hand in hand with inspiring creativity among their employees. Simply put, why not be disruptors themselves?

EMPOWERING SELF ORGANIZED TEAMS TO FUNCTION IN AGILE

The new era of the fluid workforce, their constantly evolving skill sets, efficiencies and roles within the organization make the case for a strategic realignment of business strategy leadership for a sustainable growth. Agile business strategy leaders firmly embody the spirit of empowering their employees to constantly innovate in their daily operations and suggests process improvements changes and efficiencies throughout the enterprise. Research showed that they encourage micro teams to be formed within departments throughout the enterprise, each corresponding to a particular skill set of the employees, the business objective, and the short, medium and long-term delivery of projects. The benefits from these practices extend far beyond just revenue growth. Employees are more engaged, they are better empowered, and the entire enterprise benefits as a result of a confident and positive culture.

DESIGN THINKING AND BUSINESS MODEL INNOVATION

Agile business strategy leaders lead from the front in innovation and design thinking. Problem solving through the common employee collectively translates into more brainpower and skills for every single project. The agile paradigm is strictly focused on accelerating the rate of growth and innovation within the enterprise. The natural consequence of this is the drastic reduction of negative consequences in the scope of any project or activity undertaken within the agile enterprise. Agile business strategy leaders are constantly innovating and conceiving of newer, more efficient, ways of getting projects and processes delivered in shorter time frames.

CULTURE – THE COMMON BOND ACROSS THE ORGANIZATION

Organizations that operate in silos are doomed for oblivion going forward. Agile business strategy leadership in this case transforms the organization to constantly launch operational improvement programs through personal employee experience journeys, both at the micro level, and in the broader scope of the entire enterprise. The agile work culture of the organization is redefined to incorporate faster decision-making, better productivity, and an overall sustainable growth path. And agile enterprise culture, pardon the cliché, quite literally transforms the entire workforce into a group of forward thinking individuals whose sum is exponentially more than the whole of its parts.

Agile is just one of the several critical disruptions in today's technology driven world. It is a simple drop in the ocean of constant transformation in the global corporate landscape of 2019. Only the strategic leaders, who are constantly upgraded in their knowledgebase and certified skill sets to implement programs like Agile leadership in their organizations, are better suited and sought after as the talent of choice by the largest employers in the world today.

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