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Uncertain Times Scream for Agility

Uncertain Times Scream for Agility

Uncertainty screams for tactical agility, now.

As we charge into the Twenty First Century, whether it is business or personal, stuff is changing at an accelerated rate, demanding more operational and tactical agility. When it comes to business, fortunes can now be made or lost in milliseconds, literally! Don’t believe it? Ask some of the now filthy rich or totally broke high frequency traders preying on the World’s stock, bond and foreign exchange markets. From the boardroom to the living room, things are speeding up!

For those of you stressing to run a healthy business while remaining healthy yourself, the stakes and challenges just keep getting higher. Given today’s combination of mega trends, such as IT dependency, generational tensions, add to these new, hard to grasp economical paradigms with the elements of a perfect financial, political and social storm, you have to be increasingly quick on your feet or, as it is now called, agile.

Yet even being agile may no longer be enough!

Take Toyota for example, the poster child of the Japanese industrial boom. They were one of the companies that literally wrote the book on agility two decades ago. Yet since then, they seem to have succumbed to that success and lost their agile edge. Defeated by most of what we refer to as the prime inhibitors of change, Toyota has suffered large recalls, a damaged reputation and a lower stock price.

Becoming yesterday’s expert on corporate agility absolutely does not insure success going forward. What’s needed to continue being on top are powerful tools plus a desire to master them. This takes a constant vigilance, training and a level of consciousness that spans both the transaction side of your business all the way over to the relationship side; but don’t dare stop there. Having loyal relationships with your customers will begin to rot from the inside out if you fail to create good personal relationships with each worker and supplier. This means mastering your soft skills and body language too.

Win/Win is also a component mastering corporate agility

That will give you an edge going forward, but not even Win/Win will insure your success. Experience and research points again and again towards that you must practice looking forward instead of relying on historical facts, figures and graphs no matter how fresh they are! Just like sailing a boat or driving a car, you and your crew will be safer and more effective if you spend your time and energy looking forward through the windshield not back into your rear view mirror.

One of the clearest examples of this is demonstrated by creating a tool that can help you look forward, based upon the best eyes in your organization, your sales people. A tool like this allows you to leverage your ability to be agile with a few non-intrusive yet well crafted and thoughtful questions. These efficient questions can be asked in about 30 seconds by those who have the best access to your customers. The results can also be cataloged and tracked for trends. The more information you gather, the more you will know and be able to tackle what:

  • Details your products and services have that excite/annoy your customers
  • Customers expect from you going forward
  • Competitors offer that is tempting to your customers
  • Messages marketing should focus on to maximize your impact
  • You are correcting and improving and as time passes

Very little of this information is accessible from a typical corporate dashboard configuration or current cookie-cutter type business and CRM systems. Agility now means so much more that just flexible software development. It is now time to learn how agility can become the frame of mind that propels you and your corporate crew through the turbulent waters now gathering in front of your corporate sailboat.