Examples of Organizational Agility

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  • 0:03 Agility in Organizations
  • 0:50 Common Examples
  • 2:49 Culture of Change
  • 3:35 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Lucinda Stanley

Lucinda has taught business and information technology and has a PhD in Education.

In this lesson, we'll learn about how agility can be applied in business situations. We'll explore some examples and see what it takes for a business to become an agile organization.

Agility in Organizations

We all know what it means to be agile, right? It means to be nimble, supple, lithe, sprightly, alert, responsive, swift, or active. So, what in the world does that have to do with organizations or businesses? Let's consider the synonym 'responsive.'

If we owned a business we would want that business to be responsive to customer needs, wouldn't we? So, in effect, that would make our business an agile business. How do we know if our business is responsive or agile?

One thing we could do is a SWOT analysis, which stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. If a business can identify internal as well as external changes that can affect the company and then act on those changes quickly, that would certainly make it an agile business. The quicker a business can react to these changes, the more agile it is.

Common Examples

Businesses need to be able to adjust or respond quickly to a myriad of potential changes in their business environment. Let's look at a few common examples of how a business might exhibit its agility:

Competition

What happens if the business you own has been the only provider of a service in your area, but suddenly a new business comes to town offering the same service? Do you continue business as usual or do you look for ways to differentiate yourself from this newbie? Hopefully you answered that you would differentiate yourself. But how quickly? What if the other company offered an add-on service you never thought of? Can you come up with something similar in a short amount of time so that you don't lose your customers? If a business can make rapid changes due to the arrival of a new competitor, it is most definitely agile. It's important to have enough flexibility in the structure of an organization and its processes so it can adapt quickly, perhaps by offering a new service so that the competition doesn't put it out of business.

Technology

What about new technologies? How can a business show its agility when it comes to technology? Technology is constantly changing, and organizations that rely on technology must be able to adapt to new technologies as they become available so that they do not fall behind in their industry. Let's say Brown's Business began making hair dryers forty years ago. They bought machines that did the job. But as the technology for manufacturing processes changes and becomes more efficient, Brown's Business needs to adapt to the new process. It they don't, they are not going to produce as much as their competitors and will slowly lose market share. It can be daunting to change technologies, but a truly agile business will constantly be on the lookout for technologies that can streamline its processes or help it offer a new product line.

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