5 business agility benefits and 5 obstacles: Summing it all up

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Peter Maddison
August 23, 2022
Reading time: 4 min
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We made it! Over the past several weeks, we’ve discussed the benefits of improving business agility and the obstacles that can get in the way. What have we learned? In good business agility fashion, here is a summary of the topics we’ve covered:

  • Business agility practices encourage building a learning organization.

  • The sooner you learn from your customers, the quicker you can verify you are on the right track.

  • People come first as business agility is first and foremost a shift in mindset.

Without further ado, let’s dive into the benefits and obstacles and tie everything all together.

Benefits of Business Agility

There is no silver bullet you can use to fix all of the problems in your organization. Business agility is not a one size fits all framework whose application will right a sinking ship and solve everything. Instead, it is a principle-based approach to building an organization that focuses on being better for you and your customers. It transforms your company into one that understands the importance of continually learning and improving. 

We started our exploration by looking into five areas where business agility impacts your bottom line, and for each of them called out three key points.

By building an organization that is continually learning from customers, you create flexibility to adapt as those customers' needs change. A deeper understanding of customers has a knock-on effect of reducing your cost of delivery by keeping your focus on the most important items. Focus helps with quality and identifying new opportunities, influencing your top line and increasing revenue.

Aligning learning with your company’s purpose can create alignment with your customers and teams. When you create an alignment of purpose with your customers are more likely to come back, increasing your profitability. 

An organization that focuses on learning is one that people will want to work for. By establishing a culture of collaboration, you encourage learning and sharing of new ideas among your team. With this culture, team members feel comfortable speaking up because good ideas can come from anywhere, regardless of seniority. When your organization treats its team members like people, everything improves: retention rates, engagement levels, and satisfaction ratings. People are happier, and teams thrive.

Lastly, business agility helps you protect your organization by helping you build resilient systems, capable of withstanding rapid, unexpected changes. It does this by helping ensure risks are visible and the systems you have built are better able to respond when the inevitable problems occur.

Challenges to implementing Business Agility

For each of the five benefits we covered, we dived into five corresponding areas where challenges occur. As with the benefits, we picked three key points for each challenge area.  

First, we described the criticality of feedback loops. We talked about making sure they are kept short so you can learn faster and the need to minimize the noise in the system.

Next, we covered prioritization and customer interaction, covering the topics of limiting work-in-progress and ensuring focus through alignment. Together these highlights the importance of focus and how we tend to take on more than we can do.

We then discussed some of the challenges that occur when leaders focus on process and technology before people. Here we highlighted the importance of focusing on servant leadership and leading by example, accessing your hiring processes so employees have a great experience from day 1.

Lastly, we covered learning from failure and how business agility needs this to build resilient systems

Conclusion

Thank you for exploring the topic of business agility for your bottom line with us. Hopefully, this has inspired you with ideas of what to look for in your organization and how you might help it along its journey. Building an environment that cultivates continual learning will help everyone succeed and thrive.

For further learning, visit our previous articles on Business Agility as we tackle each specific benefit and challenge in-depth. You can also check out our Definitely, Maybe Agile podcast

            

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