Driven by innovative technology, the 21st century is a time of rapid change. Organizations find themselves investing resources in reaction to these changes just to stay relevant. Some organizations anticipate and lead change, while others track it. Some organizations manage to close the gap and handle change successfully, while others are left behind.
What makes the difference? How do some companies manage to succeed while others don’t? The magic word here is agility.
An agile organization is an organization that can adapt and react quickly and appropriately to change. It is a journey in which you learn and improve continuously. A study conducted by MIT suggests that companies that embrace agile principles grow revenue 37% faster and generate 30% higher profits than non-agile companies. Organizations that embrace agile principles will adapt better to these rapid changes in technology.
So, what does it take to become an agile organization?
Mindset change in all layers of the organization
We need to expand our perspective and understand that the solution lies in changing the mindset and behavior of the people in the organization – management and employees alike. Managers at all levels are the force that drives organizational agility, and they do so by designing a flexible, lean organization and simpler processes—and more importantly, by exhibiting and encouraging behavior that enables agility. To execute real change, managers must trust and be trusted. They need their employees to follow them, not because of their title but because they minimize hierarchy, grant more freedom at work, and listen to and trust their employees. Once managers understand that they become leaders through the trust given by their followers, change will take place.
This trust can be earned by assimilating the idea that change can be achieved from employees, not just management. Employees need to initiate, lead ideas, and spread change alongside their managers.
Crowdsourcing: “We are smarter than me”
Crowdsourcing is the practice of engaging a crowd or group for a common goal – innovation or problem-solving, for example. Thanks to increased connectivity, it is now easier than ever for individuals to collectively contribute – whether ideas, time, or expertise – to a project or cause. This phenomenon can provide organizations with access to new ideas and solutions, deeper consumer engagement, opportunities for co-creation, optimization of tasks, and much more.
Sharing, cooperation, collaboration, collectivism, crowdsourcing – these are the keys to true agility. Employees should know that collaborating with their peers and managers will lead to greater results and help them adapt easily to change.
Through crowdsourcing, leaders and organizations can learn from their employees how to become an agile organization, including what key elements they can change to become more agile. Crowdsourcing not only enables endorsement of change, it provides leaders with real-time feedback on how to manage change successfully. In addition, it can encourage behavior that enables individuals to express their opinion and become part of the change.