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Hanif Lalani Believes Agility May Be A Company’s Most Important Asset

We are all familiar with the feeling of annoyance that comes with realizing that a housefly has infiltrated your home. The pleasant silence is suddenly interrupted by an unrelenting buzzing as a bug zips around the room, landing intermittently before zipping off again and again. You creep up behind it and pull your hand back with your weapon of choice, only for it to dodge out of the way at the last second, buzzing away for you to chase after it in the hopes of catching it the next time you do it. Even though most of us despise these pests, the humble housefly is the most agile animal on the planet, according to the World Wildlife Fund. Although they may drive us insane, they are an insect from which leaders and their organizations can learn a great deal.

Human beings are driven by a desire for predictability and stability. We want to reach a point in our life where we can expect predictable results in every part of our lives, and this includes the way we conduct our enterprises. A stable market environment would allow our leaders to accurately plan for a future in which everything is set out in front of them, and this is something we hope to achieve shortly. Unfortunately, the world does not operate in this manner. Because change is an unavoidable part of life, and because markets are famously volatile, attempting to maintain a straight course across a changing landscape might result in greater inherent risks than one might expect. It is essential for a company’s survival that be able to adapt to new situations and circumstances. To fully succeed, however, a company must go beyond flexibility and become agile to do so. “Agility is the ability to adapt and respond to change,” says Jim Highsmith, an executive consultant with more than 30 years of experience as a software developer. Rather than seeing change as a danger, agile firms see it as an opportunity.”

As a result of technological and social advancement, the market has always tended to fluctuate. However, the market in today’s world is becoming increasingly unpredictable and unknowable as a result of unparalleled unpredictability and near continual upheaval. While on the one hand, this has resulted in the development of new methods for analyzing and forecasting trends, the reality of the issue is that there will always be far too many variables for any such equation to be completely accurate. Given that markets are man-made constructs, it is reasonable to anticipate some level of irrationality to accompany them, just as we would expect it to accompany humans. A smart strategic business plan recognizes the inevitability of volatility and makes it a major part of the plan’s development.

While a company that adapts to changes is important, an agile business adapts rapidly, guiding change in a way that is both productive and cost-effective while maintaining the quality of the product or service that they provide to customers. A company’s ability to adapt quickly not only benefits them in times of market change but also provides them with a competitive advantage over other companies that are slower to act. An agile business also accepts failure as a necessary evil, is willing to fail early, and has put in place a fail-safe environment to protect its customers. Without this, innovation will almost definitely suffer, resources will be squandered, and competitors will gain an advantage over the competition. Agile approaches can assist organizations in preventing the misallocation of resources from the start. “Success now necessitates the agility and drive to constantly rethink, revitalize, adapt, and innovate,” according to Bill Gates.

The interactions in the workplace are usually an excellent place to start when trying to improve workplace agility. “Innovation and agility are as vital for the finance function as they are for the entire organization,” according to Hanif Lalani, a successful British businessman. This indicates that businesses must have a holistic approach to agility. They must strive to keep up with –– or better yet, ahead of –– technological breakthroughs and trends, and they must be on the lookout for new approaches and methods that will help them become more agile in their job. A cross-functional, creative, and successful work environment is essential in every organization’s structure. Productive meetings are the starting point for agility, and firms need a healthy conflict culture to identify the best answer for their specific needs.

Ultimately, it is the people who work for the organization who bring about change; rather than processes, it is important to ensure that they have the resources and tools they need to do so. For employees to feel engaged, they must be given clear, succinct goals that are oriented toward value generation. Rather than focusing only on budgeting and controlling performance targets, management views change as a chance to improve performance. It all comes down to trust, empowering employees, and delegating decision-making authority to those who have the best understanding of the problem. Finally, culture is likely one of the most reliable markers of a company’s ability to adapt. When it comes to agility, a firm prioritizes its purpose over its mission, promoting experimentation and mistakes while placing a strong emphasis on learning and improvement.

A firm may become more robust and adaptable to destabilizing developments if it ensures that every area of its operations is agile. Recent years have seen significant destabilization and disruption in the marketplace and economic systems, and organizations that operate under the assumption of a stable market are not equipped to endure these shifts in the market environment. It is crucial to highlight, however, that being agile does not imply that one should sacrifice stability in the process. An overcompensating strategy that results in the loss of any feeling of centralization or risk management may prove equally harmful as moving your organization sluggishly and strictly. Organizational stability should be considered the backbone of a company’s operations, with the few basic characteristics that will change little, if at all, identified and used as a springboard from which to become more dynamic.

When it comes to evaluating where a company should fall on the spectrum between speed and stability, there are a plethora of aspects to take into consideration. Large organizations that have been around for decades may realize that it has been far too long since they last reviewed their strategy, while a start-up that is just getting off the ground may discover that by focusing solely on innovation, they have failed to build a company with a long-term structure. Every organization must identify for itself the optimal balance that will allow it to achieve peak agility –– the capacity to quickly maneuver through times of change and uncertainty. Putting your faith in any sort of standardization of agility can frequently end in devastating outcomes, as formulaic approaches are opposed to the concept of agility.

Even while there is no single answer for a firm that does not have a culture of agility, there are several modifications that can be implemented that will assist leaders and their organizations to establish a culture of agility. Instead of seeing change as a threat, they may urge their employees to embrace it and see it as an opportunity. It is necessary to strike a balance between allowing for individual autonomy while still maintaining a focus on a small number of ambitious and well-defined goals at the same time. As Jim Highsmith, Bill Gates, and Hanif Lalani have all pointed out, agility is a critical component of a successful business, opening the door to opportunity, reinvention, and innovation while also reducing risk.