How agile is your business?

What factors affect the agility of a business? Is it the simple case that if you are running a small business, then you are agile?
I don’t believe so, as there are other really critical factors that mean that a larger business can also be agile whereas a smaller business can also be slow and unresponsive.

For example, in order to be agile, a business needs to be able to make decisions rapidly and have an environment where staff are empowered. The culture needs to be one that focusses on the customer as their purpose, rather than the customer as an inconvenience and an interruption and a source of frustration. Believe me when I say that I have experienced senior business leaders speaking about their customers in very negative terms, and bemoaning their approach to suppliers.
Ownership of issues is also a factor that is critical in ensuring your business can be agile or not. Large or small, having simple processes that ensure that the business does not simply rely on people passing emails to each other and responding in a timely fashion, is critical. A customer with a requirement is only interested in a partnership with another organisation able to understand them and an ability to execute.
So in summary the following are necessary to enable your business to operate with agility:

> Customer focus
> Empowerment
> Decision making
> Process – simple and effective.
> Ownership

And an agile business, like a successful sports team, needs a high degree of collaboration and teamwork focus.

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