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Business Agility needs leaders to put people first

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Peter Maddison
August 3, 2022

As we’ve mentioned in a previous article, business agility can create a culture that increases retention and morale. While business agility can do this, it requires that leadership puts their people first. Here are three practices to help you focus on your people.

Assess your hiring process

The hiring process is the first experience a new team member will have with your business. A hiring process that seemingly never ends or where the process isn’t clear gives the applicant a bad impression. While long hiring processes can help organizations get to know an applicant before working with them, you risk the candidate going elsewhere.

A faster hiring process that makes it clear what you are looking for shows the applicant that you’re organized and that you respect them as a person. For the employee, a faster hiring process will remove the fear of whether they can support themselves and their families.

Once you’ve agreed to hire somebody, also consider the onboarding experience and the impact t...

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Recently I was talking to one of our customers about how they feel about our services. This reminded me again of Dave and my conversation on the Definitely, Maybe Agile podcast on this very topic. Which is indeed the topic of this latest entry in our business agility series: why business agility needs customer interaction.

As we have in previous weeks, we will highlight three areas of consideration on this important topic, building on last week’s topic of business agility success depends on feedback loops. 

Now we’ve known this for decades. It has been common knowledge that it is an essential skill to frequently ask your customers to guide your direction yet, perhaps in recent years it has become truly essential. We see companies that if they take their eye off the ball can find themselves becoming obsolete extremely quickly. The pace of change is only accelerating. 

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Whether individually or for an organization we have a tendency to spread our focus to multiple projects at the same time. The illusion of efficiency this creates is fulfilling. After all, it is fun to start something new, we get a rush of engagement and learning. Whereas finishing a task comes with much more peril. If it is a task we enjoyed, we’ll be sorry to have finished, and if it is one we hate, we’ll want to find something else to start on. While starting a new task gives us a sense of achievement and moving forward, in fact, it slows us down.

In this week’s article on business agility, we will be exploring how confusing having lots of work underway with moving quickly. Put another way, confusing speed with focus. This is important as the sooner you can deliver value to your customers, the sooner you can learn. In turn, this prevents teams from reaping the benefits of business agility practices, such as reducing delivery costs and increasing revenue. Below we discuss three ways in...

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In the first half of this series, we talked about five benefits you can get from your business agility journey. Now, as we introduced last week, we are switching topics to talk about the first of five aspects that support you in your journey or will be barriers if not overcome. In this article, we’ll be exploring feedback loops, an essential element to business agility.

Big changes come from a series of small changes. Large transformative programs are too disruptive and take too long to produce results. To see the results of your series of small changes, you need feedback loops. Without them, you won’t be able to see if you are going in the right direction and course-correct as you go.

Feedback loops inform you of what is happening in your system of work. They tell your developers the impact of their changes, inform your product team what your customers are looking for, and tell operations where to focus. 

So what makes a “good” feedback loop? 

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Over the last few weeks, we’ve talked about five specific benefits that Business Agility can bring to your organization. Among them are:

While Business Agility brings many benefits, implementing it effectively is a challenge. When adopting Business Agility, businesses are bound to encounter both internal and external challenges.

These challenges must be addressed if you wish to get the most benefits from implementing business agility into your organization. Below we discuss five of these challenges. We have also discussed these on our Definitely, Maybe Agile podcast. Let us take a look at these obstacles, and how to work through them. 

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Business owners tend to underestimate the cost of recruiting and retaining the talent needed to grow. In 2022, it was reported that companies spend an average of over $4,683 and about an eighth of the financial year for recruitment and training per new hire. Recruitment costs can add up, especially if your business has a high turnover rate.

Losing top talent is clearly a cost that businesses have to consider. Perhaps the most immediate impact that losing employees has on an organization is lowering team morale. Employees enjoy having a friend or confidant in the workplace and seeing their colleague leave will weaken their connection to the organization. We saw this in mid-2021 as the “Great Resignation” had millions of employees leaving their jobs in droves. 

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