Is Your Organization Ready for the Adaptable Business Era?
By: Baglan Rhymes
The COVID-19 pandemic has shown us how unexpected paradigm shifts can occur anytime in business. Remote work, market and supply chain disruptions, and changes in customer behavior & preferences – organizations were presented with a slew of unexpected challenges over the last two years.
The organizations that were able to adapt to these challenges and pivot their operations quickly are the ones that were better equipped to weather the storm.
But the storm was just the start; the real challenge is the unstable & brutal terrain that lies ahead.
Business Landscape in Post-pandemic: Emerging Transformed from the Storm
Technology adoption and increased agility have paved the way to a post-pandemic landscape that is constantly evolving. Today, businesses are in the crosshairs of rapid innovation, large-scale technology disruption, rapidly shifting customer preferences & declining employee and customer engagement.
If the need for adaptability during the early pandemic years was about navigating through a challenging landscape, today it is to ensure survival & stay competitive. What lies ahead is an adaptable business era where organizations will need agility, experimentation & continuous innovation to effectively respond to shifting market and customer needs.
Preparing for Success in the Adaptable Business Era: The Way Ahead for Businesses
In a stable market with predictable customer behavior, businesses could focus more on long-term strategies and less on continual adaptability. But to succeed in an adaptable business era where changes and disruption happen quickly, the business will need to slowly transform itself into a highly adaptable organization that enables a culture of flexibility and experimentation and focuses on strategies and tools that support agility & adaptability.
So, how does an organization gradually transform into an adaptable organization? Here are a few pointers that can help:
- Adaptable organizations tend to be purpose-driven businesses prioritizing customer or stakeholder satisfaction as a crucial measure of success. Purpose-driven companies respond to changes faster, record better employer retention rates, and innovate faster. Shifting from a profit-driven to a purpose-driven ecosystem is also the most efficient way to connect, engage and commit employees toward the organization’s strategy and execution.
- Traditional organizational structure & hierarchy that does not account for blurred boundaries may render ineffective in the adaptable business era. Traditional organizations rely on top-down hierarchies and formal systems, which fall short of maximizing innovation, idea generation, and experimentation. An adaptable organization blends the formal and informal structures and aligns them to customer-focused missions to achieve the best of both worlds. An adaptable organization is also aided by flexible governance, minimized bureaucracy, and cross-functional teams to generate a free flow of ideas and experiments.
- Focusing on own strengths and strategies may not be enough for an organization to succeed during uncertain times. It is essential to constantly pay attention to the external environment to detect customers’ fluctuating needs and goals. An adaptable organization is a worker-led organization that builds a culture of environment sensing and stays receptive to inputs from the external crowd and customers.
- Adaptable organizations prioritize team performance over individual performance. They aim to create high-performing, diverse teams with a clear purpose and core values and focus on mission & outcomes. The organization’s work culture is also built around seamless collaboration and communication to unlock latent human potential and productivity. Adaptable organizations also emphasize hiring processes to get the first step right.
Adaptable organizations are incredibly receptive to early signs of change and fluctuation. The formal and informal structures enable rapid idea generation and innovation to enable agility and efficiency. An adaptable organization is equally efficient in responding to new challenges and promoting continuous innovation, giving them a competitive advantage in the adaptable business era.
The pandemic was a storm that has transported us to a harsh landscape with rough winds where adaptability is essential to sustain and move forward. But building an adaptable organization is a long-term iterative process, so we advise you to begin those tiny incremental steps as soon as possible; the cost of not taking them can be catastrophic in the coming years.
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