Tag Archives: driving change

Five Steps for Driving Agility & Change

organizational agility

The speed of change noted in our previous post has had and will continue to have a profound impact on the business world. We have clearly moved into an era where the extraordinary becomes the expected and subsequently obsolete at an unprecedented rate, thus increasing the demand for much greater organizational agility.

Organizational agility is the ability to identify the developing threats and opportunities to our mission and to quickly align or realign resources to thrive in the new environment. In other words, to make necessary changes / improvements and do so quickly!

Agility requires two components:

  1. The ability to see and understand the external developments and what they will mean for us
  2. The ability to quickly adapt our resources to leverage the emerging opportunities and to avoid the looming threats

Here are 5 specific steps leaders can take to develop and sustain a creative culture of change and organizational agility, based on findings published by New Horizons Learning Centers:

  1. Encourage new ideas. Management must make it clear that they will embrace new ways of doing things. Managers whose default is to turn against new ideas will quickly stop creative thinking and negatively impact the pace of change. This simple habit alone is a critical first step toward developing a culture of creativity and change.
  2. Allow more interaction. An innovative climate thrives when team members are allowed to interact with their own team mates as well as team members from other departments. Better questions are asked, useful information is exchanged, new ideas flow both ways and new views on old challenges are heard for the first time.
  3. Tolerate failure. We have often noted that a culture of CI is one in which people must be given amnesty… a culture in which people are not afraid to fail. This holds true in an agile culture of creativity as well. While new ideas can sometimes prove too costly or might simply turn out to not be feasible, management needs to accept that time and resources will be provided knowing that the idea(s) might or might not come to fruition.
  4. Provide clear objectives and freedom to achieve them. People or teams who are provided with clear goals will be motivated to meet them. The goals provide a purpose for their creativity. Set guidelines with minimal constraints gives managers a degree of control with regards to the cost and time to completion.
  5. Offer recognition. Management must offer tangible rewards that send a clear message that creative behavior is encouraged, supported and recognized in their organization, and that the demands of the marketplace favor an organization that is, in fact, open to ongoing change (CI) and agile enough to make it happen quickly.

Change Like a Green Tomato

changeThe ability to anticipate, lead and manage change is a critical indicator of organizational success.

As suggested in a recent post,  strong leadership is a key requirement when it comes to driving change and continuous improvement; and as noted in one of last year’s posts, it is much easier to change when you can rather than when forced to do so!

This is a critically-important reality… too many organizations slip into complacency when things are going “well,” and only contemplate change when their performance is unsatisfactory — when they’re forced into it!

There are countless examples of how this latter approach can quickly lead to disaster! Kodak, Polaroid, and Blockbuster, to name just a few…

Instead, change and continuous improvement must become the “cultural way.”

Possibly Jim Press, former President of Toyota Motor North America, summed-it-up best during an interview by saying, “Toyota wants to be a green tomato.”

His point was that green tomatoes are in a constant state of change; they know their futures are still ahead of them, while red tomatoes have stopped growing.


Quality as a Driver of Innovation!

QualityDrivesInnovationIn a recent Forbes article, author Robert Reiss, who specializes in writng about CEO’s, shared details of his interviews with several prominent chief executives on the subject of the transformative role of quality today, and how quality has related to their organizations’ success.

Below are a few of the many thought-provoking responses from these business leaders when asked, “What is the relationship between quality and profitability?”

Adam Goldstein, President, Royal Caribbean Cruises: Sustained quality drives premium revenue generation. Additionally quality enables the most powerful partnerships, which can increase profitability.

Kip Tindell, Chairman and CEO The Container Store: Quality enables the retention of employees, customers, shareholders… all stakeholders of an organization.

Dan Hesse, recent 7 year CEO, Sprint: Simply stated, quality costs less.