You may think everyone is talking about agility – the latest buzz word in management approaches. Perhaps not – it’s only been around since the 1970’s and has often been connected to Project Management. Ultimately it is focused on gaining a competitive edge by being able to change quickly.

Charles Darwin had amazing insight when he supposedly said, “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but those most adaptable to change.” Being flexible makes for a better life at work and at home – being able to adapt to situations quickly means feeling on top of things.

Do you have weekly or monthly meetings because, “We’ve always done it that way!” It may be valuable and yet, it also may be wasting valuable time. Are the right people at the meeting? Are the right topics being discussed? Would it not be better to only have meetings when they are needed with the relevant people attending?

There are a few things that might help you and your organization be more agile:

  • Understand human nature – we generally tend to resist change if we fear it is not in our best interests, for instance, today’s meeting may get moved from the office to a boat on the nearest lake – some will love it – a day out of the office, a favorite lake, some will not – perhaps a fear of water, having to leave early to pick up the kids, there could be many reasons for discomfort
  • Communicate – have people who need to communicate with each other do so face-to-face – it saves so much time and it allows for clarity compared to the going back and forth with emails and texts which are horrendous for miscommunication at times
  • Use your network – others have often been through something similar and would love to help you if you were to ask for support – others can help you reduce the learning curve and calm some often frayed nerves when starting something new
  • Be a leader – work with your people, connect, communicate and listen to the thoughts and ideas of others – together you can make things happen more readily because someone may share better ideas because of your collaboration
  • Respect everyone – from the newest, youngest employee to the oldest and most senior – everyone wants to feel a part of the solution and this can occur only when everyone has the opportunity to feel their contribution is of value
  • Take small steps towards change – consider it a transformation, it does not happen overnight and has greater staying power when people have time to get comfortable with the new approach

According to Price Waterhouse Coopers agile projects are 28% more successful than more traditional projects. What can that do for your organization? Just ask companies like Apple and Prairie Donair who are flexible and allow the customer to make decisions about what they want rather than the more traditional way of “here it is – take it or leave it.”

The true value of being agile is finding out what’s needed by the customer instead of deciding what the customer should want. Imagine that – focus on what they need instead of what you want them to need. Today there is a method that has been gaining popularity – it is called the Ask Method. Simple, yet something organizations tend not to do – staff meet in huddles to decide what the customer wants rather than asking the customer. Not a good idea!

Always get your customer involved so you know exactly what their needs are rather than guessing and wasting valuable time and money.

Why bother with being agile or flexible? It helps you build the right product or service that can make a difference to your organization’s success or failure.

Sherry’s CORNER

Lately I had the pleasure of spending a few hours in the emergency room and then later in for tests. Talk about great clarity! I so wish that some of our people who are in management roles could take a page out of the book of the doctors and nurses who served my health needs on these two different occasions.

First, I was asked questions so they knew precisely what I might be experiencing and to make a diagnosis (team/client involvement). Then, I was informed of the tests I would be undergoing and how they would be carried out (analysis/clarity). And finally, I was informed of when my family physician would receive the results so I could go in and get the final results (results).

To say I am pressed is true! Now, if we can keep people involved in what we are doing, explain the process to find out a solution and finally to know when and how we will see results every workplace will be much better off.

What about you? Have you had an experience lately that made you feel you were part of the process instead of merely a by-stander? Please share your experience with me.

Just email me at sherry@dimension11.com.

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