July is Global Enterprise Agility Month. July is also – more importantly – the month that the Barbie movie comes out in cinemas around the world.
Now, these two things may not seem like they have a lot in common, but walk with me a minute. Before Barbie was brought to life by Margot Robbie, she was one of the most popular toys on the market, spanning all the way back to 1959 when the first doll was launched by Mattel. Since then, she has become the embodiment of agility – in 1961, Barbie was an air stewardess, a ballerina, and a nurse. Since then, she has had over 200 different careers in her lifetime.
But Barbie’s impressive CV doesn’t just highlight the need to be able to adapt to change, but rather to push even further and become proactive instead of reactive. Barbie became an astronaut years before man had even walked on the moon, she became a CEO in the 1980s and President in the 1990s – the first female President the United States has seen thus far. She isn’t just a symbol of agility, she is a symbol of dreaming bigger, and this ethos is one that all employers need to consider adopting.
However, building your company into a Dreamhouse doesn’t just happen overnight. Simply wishing to become agile is not enough, and if businesses want to embody Barbie, they need to be approaching agility from three different angles:
- Top-Down Approach – this focuses on the leader’s role in agility. Essentially, managers need to be well-versed in change management, and not afraid to dive headfirst into something new. This is of course within reason; they also need to be able to map out a trajectory of their decisions so to ensure that they are achievable from a business perspective and from an employee perspective.
- Bottom-Up Approach – this focuses on the empowerment of your team; if a manager is trained to make the company culture more agile and proactive, it can’t be assumed that their team members are also going to be well-versed in this. Agility is a profound thing, it doesn’t have one set definition or look one particular way, so it is important for leaders to ensure that they are supporting and empowering their people during this process so to achieve the desired cultural fluidity. This is also applicable to an organization’s consumer base, too – you want to empower your consumers as much as you want to empower your employees, and being agile allows for the empowerment of multiple consumer markets.
- Side-to-Side Approach – this looks at the actual structure of the business and its processes; the ‘practical’ side of agility. If employers want to become more agile, they need to have the right structures in place to be able to do so. This ties into the other two approaches, as this is what allows them to actually take place. Does the structure of the business allow for leaders to take risks? Are there processes in place to correctly recognise and reward those staff who are putting forward ideas and contributing to the agility of the company? The concept of agility is like being in a constant state of flux, it is the idea that businesses should try to be ever moving and ever-changing and be ahead of the curve as much as possible, but if the processes and structure isn’t there to support this notion then it will be very hard to achieve.
There is no set way to become an agile company, but even this is a lot like Barbie herself. There is no set way for what she does, who she is, or how she looks – it’s all about the context she finds herself in.
If you would like to discuss strategies to help make your company more adaptable and agile to future trends, please get in touch with us!