Cultivate your strategic agility

N°242a – Synopsis (8p.) – Agility
Cultivate your strategic agility
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When it comes to developing agility, the first challenge is about information. Among all signals of change coming from diverse horizons, how can we spot those that require our vigilance?

To cope with the incessant turbulence that confronts them today, many companies are striving to develop their agility. How can they give themselves the means to respond in a timely manner to environmental shifts, whether this means countering new threats or seizing new opportunities?

Granted, adaptability has always been a key performance factor. But the greater diversity and pace of transformation have raised the stakes considerably. In just four years, for instance, over 150 organizations have vanished from the list of the top 500 U.S. corporations! The others have learned how to adapt quickly. General Motors, for example, reinstated over 80% of its IT activities in less than 3 years and brought 10,000 jobs back in house to gain greater control over company data. Similarly, General Electric launched a relocation plan to bring manufacturing of electrical appliances back to the U.S., resulting in the transfer of a billion dollars of production within two years.

The first challenge that must be addressed to develop this crucial agility concerns information. How can you identify the most critical transformations in a timely manner, when change may erupt at any moment from a wide range of sources: emergence of new business models, appearance of nascent start-ups in remote geographies, shifting consumer habits or employee behavior, economic or geopolitical disruptions, etc.?

This puts pressure on companies to adapt their practices, particularly in three domains:

- Provide employees with the keys to a strategic understanding of the business. This is the best guarantee that people can identify the changes to which they should pay attention.

- Multiply opportunities to gather information. Deliberately put people in situations where they can observe changes in their environment.

- Ensure effective information flow. Maximize the chances that the most relevant information reaches the right decision makers quickly.

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