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Enterprise agility: dare to challenge the status quo

Written by Sven Van Hoorebeeck

Organisations have always faced some sort of change or disruption in their market place throughout history. However, the last 10 to 15 years the pace of change is becoming increasingly faster and faster, and traditional ways of working are not sufficing anymore to remain competitive in many markets.

Today’s dynamic and fast paced changing world is often defined by the term VUCA:

  • Volatility: changes are now more frequent and have more impact than previously experienced.

  • Uncertainty: because of the volatility, old cause and effect relationships are no longer upheld.

  • Complexity: even further, not only is the previous cause-effect relationship no longer upheld, because of the multitude of issues and affecting factors, there is no clear cause-effect relationship anymore – there is confusion.

  • Ambiguity: Because of the confusion, some situations are not always clear and can be vague.

Therefore, most organisations are seeking to transform the way they work today.

Traditional ways of working will not suffice anymore to be competitive and survive within 5 years.

Factors driving this change are often:

  • Increasing customer demands and faster changes in customer demands

  • Disruptive technologies, changing complete market models

  • Traditional governance and processes which are no longer fit-for-purpose

  • Current organisations and cultures which are not equipped to work in a VUCA environment

Enterprise agility becomes a must!

In order to deal with the VUCA world of today, enterprises should have ENTERPRISE AGILITY at the core of its functioning. This basically means that each part of an enterprise, as little as it may be (each team, department, section, unit, …), must be able to quickly respond and adapt to changes affecting the enterprise; eventually to evolve to being disruptive themselves in the future.

So basically, this means that the people “running the business” should not be separated anymore for the people “changing the business”, like it was for many years.

Now, everybody should take on the responsibility and ownership to engage with stakeholders and ensure co-creation of value.

ENTERPRISE AGILITY works on a few dimensions to make this possible:

  • Culture: ensure that the agile mindset and culture is embedded throughout the entire organisation. Change will happen, so a culture that embraces and stimulates this – not as something beyond people’s control but as a part of their daily role – will ease embracing change and even provoke it.

  • Organisation: the organisation structure must be set up to enable agility and ensure close collaboration across all individuals of the organisation, so everybody understands they are all creating customer value and are owners of change to the customer value.

  • Governance: the decision-making organs in an organisation should empower their people to explore and come up with new ideas. Stimulating to deliver value early and often and to “fail fast” (experiment) will create more value than having a rigid governance structure that controls all aspects of the idea to market throughput rigidly.

  • Processes: the way of working and the different roles in a team should be adapted to the agile principles, with a clear and coherent workflow enabling the organisation to process ideas fast, before a disruptor does it. Processes that enable delivering incrementally and iteratively, will allow for frequent monitoring and feedback of all stakeholders and will ensure valuable co-creation of value.

Has your organisation embedded enterprise agility yet?

Reach out to our experts for an assessment on your organisation’s enterprise agility and the next steps to become more a dispruptor than a follower.


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