Prioritize agility in these five key areas today.

by Jim Joyce

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Agility. It's what many successful organizations have learned to practice inherently and what many other organizations are realizing is important to longevity. I recently shared my insights on why agility is so important with Chief Optimist (look for it in the upcoming Agile Enterprise issue), and now I'm ready to take you a step further.

Prioritize agility in these five key areas today_article

Let's go deeper into your organization and discuss the five key areas to start making more flexible today.

  1. Encourage personnel agility.  
Your employees are representatives of your organization. You recruit, train, develop and rely on them to always deliver their best every day. We ask them to raise the bar higher, meet company standards and exceed organizational goals. Employees are expected to invest a lot in the organization they are working for. But to continue to get the best out of employees, you have to ask yourself three big questions and answer honestly: 
  • Am I helping my personnel engage with greater agility?
  • As an organization, are we doing enough to enable them to be as agile as competitors?
  • Is our agility framework one which allows them to perform their functions at a level that enables us to achieve our organizational objectives in the new global economy?

After evaluating how much you are empowering your employees to be agile, you can begin to implement new practices relevant to departmental roles that bring agility to the forefront. It's important to keep in mind, too, top talent desires a fully-fledged approach to next generation technology and individual agility. To keep recruiting ideal candidates, you have to exceed their expectations. 

  1. Practice market agility.  

The concept of agility is not one that's brand new. Some of the most successful organizations in the world have been practicing it for many years--especially market agility. If you are not thriving in the segments you're in, it's important to reevaluate and make adjustments.


Take Xerox for example. As technology and customer needs continued to shift markets, Xerox had to take a good look at the market it was positioned in. They were agile enough to make a shift instead of just relying on copiers and printers. Now Xerox is a huge player in document services and business solutions that enable agility in other organizations. Jack Welch, CEO of GE, frequently discusses GE's approach to market success. That approach being--if they aren't number one in every business they operate and if there is no possibility for them to hold majority of market share, they dissolve that sector and refocus on their core business. Market agility is strongly valued in progressive and successful organizations and enterprises.

  1. Be flexible in your research.  

I don't have to tell you how critical doing your research is to your organization's success. But we could all use a reminder of how important it is to stay flexible throughout the process. Being open to strategic partnerships and alliances for knowledge sharing can result in getting products and services to markets faster and reduce development costs along the way. Taking advantage of the global workforce, global intelligence, global labor economies and geographic diversity can lead to research initiatives that are inherently agile. Not to mention this type of agility can mean the difference between getting the information you need for a major breakthrough for your organization and your market or missing the boat.

  1. Keep the workspace fluid.

Agility in a strategic space is critical. But it's also important in the workspace. By bringing this concept to the physical environment, you are making integration among employees much more accessible and opening up an opportunity to enhance productivity. Organizations in industries across the board--from businesses to governments-have reevaluated and adjusted the work environment. Whether it's by tearing down walls or allowing employees to work outside the office, as organizations grow and evolve, the agile workspace can continue to align with the overall strategy and keep pace.

  1. Put agile development top of mind.

The key goal with agile development is aligning your IT more closely with the work of your employees instead of vice-a-versa. By focusing on new software strategies and infrastructure development, you can reduce costs, enhance flexibility and even improve productivity. Working with standardized platforms instead of those that are custom-developed for your strategy allow for more adjustments and fluidity to keep up with organizational changes. In the end, an agile development process will help you avoid the downfalls that large, controlling software programs can bring.


By making agility a priority across these five areas, changing times won't negatively affect your organization like so many businesses have experienced. If anything, it will help you embrace change and the positive effects it can have. Now say it with me, "Agility is essential to success and longevity."


What areas in your organization do you find agility working best? Join in on the conversation below.


Let Xerox help your organization stay agile. Learn more about Xerox® Managed Print Services at


 Plus, see how Xerox® IT consulting services bring agility to the connected workplace: click here.


 Prioritize agility in these five key areas today_Jim Joyce

Jim Joyce is SVP for business development at Xerox.


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