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Strategic agility is a term businesses use to describe their flexibility and ability to be responsive in the marketplace. The best tips for achieving strategic agility include positioning, building knowledge, and engaging in proactive management. Each one alone can help a company achieve part of its goals. In most cases, however, a company needs to engage in at least all three of these or more in order to truly achieve goals and maximize success. Owners and executives will most likely set the tone for agility and how a company reacts to various business situations.
Flexibility can be one of the most difficult goals for a business to achieve, especially in large organizations. Companies must be able to recognize changes in the economy or business environment and react accordingly. Strategic agility demands flexibility as a trait for business success because the business environment or marketplace rarely remains stable. A company can achieve stability by not engaging in activities that result in entrenchment, such as purchasing facilities that keep the business in one locale. The use of debt can also restrict flexibility due to demands for use of cash.
Building knowledge is a way for a company to remain at the forefront of trends in a business environment. Owners and executives must set the trend for building knowledge, first among themselves and then everyone else in the company. One way a company can engage in strategic agility in business operations is to require periodic attendance at various conferences or meetings that build knowledge. Each department within a company may have its own requirements for building knowledge among its employees. The use of external agencies to collaborate on knowledge can also be successful.
Proactive management means handling issues or planning for potential problems before the issues become big drags on company resources. Ways to accomplish proactive management in terms of strategic agility include the adoption of new ideas, mobilization of resources and people as necessary, and the creation of internal or external coalitions to meet the needs of these issues. Owners, executives, and other managerial positions set the tone for this management style. Failure to set the tone at these levels can result in reactive management. In short, take-charge leadership is part of this process.
Businesses must remember to view operations in terms of strategic agility. Answers to questions should not only provide a means to higher profits but the ability to remain competitive in the marketplace. Long-term planning is not often a part of the strategic agility process. Short-term planning essentially maintains the goals of agility while achieving success in business.
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