Over the last few years, more and more businesses have adopted an agile mindset. In 2020, in particular, agility became one of the keys for business survival and success with COVID throwing curve ball after curve ball. So why is agility so important for businesses? In essence, agility is a way of working that aims to maximise profitability and deliver value to your target customer, in the face of internal and external factors.

Businesses constantly face uncertainty, change, disruption and fast-moving markets. Being agile helps to navigate this journey and identify the best path to creating a sustainable and scalable business model.

So how can you turn uncertainty into opportunity and stay competitive in today’s world? Here are five ways you can introduce a more agile working culture to your teams and businesses:


  1. Balance running your business with improving your business

Developing a better balance between day to day activities and business improvement will help to sustain growth and deliver value and relevance. Growth (aka change) is great, but it can sometimes stifle innovation and improvement if you don’t have the time or the right mindset to assess how growth is impacting your business and your market.

Embrace change and work out the best way to manage it – implement flexible plans which can easily respond to changes and allow for continuous improvement. Also include time for reflection, analysis and experimentation into your processes to allow you to make small improvements on a regular basis. Bring your team members along on this journey too, as they need to remain agile for everything to work efficiently.


  1. Put the writing on the wall

Do you sometimes go to bed, or wake up in the middle of the night with a head full of thoughts and ideas, unable to switch off? The best remedy is to write it down – get it out of your head and onto paper. The same goes for developing an agile business mindset.

Visualising work is a very powerful way for seeing things from a different perspective and helps gain clarity both for you and for your team members. Also try using an agile tool, such as Trello, to communicate workloads and gain feedback amongst teams.


  1. Focus on where the value lies

In most businesses, 20% of your work delivers 80% of the value. In times of uncertainty, it’s easy to get swept away in options, grappling for any and every opportunity that comes your way. However, this can also deplete you of precious time and resources trying to do everything and making many difficult decisions.

Adopting an agile mindset means developing a value-driven mindset, where success is measured on the value created. It means focusing on the creating of best practice working solutions that create the best ROI.

Take time to analyse your work and identify the top 20% that is of the most value because this helps to ensure we deliver value quickly and effectively. 


  1. Set metrics that matter

Metrics can essentially be divided into two types; vanity metrics and sanity metrics.

Vanity metrics look great – they show you what you want to see and they can paint a great picture. They make you feel good and show you what’s going well. But they can also be distracting and misleading, because vanity metrics often have no meaning.

Sanity metrics, on the other hand, show us what’s going well, where we can improve and flag early warnings. Setting the right metrics will tell you if you’re moving closer to or further away from your goals. Make sure your metrics align to your business objectives.


  1. Thing global – act local

Agile working methodology values people, collaboration, working solutions and change. Being agile is about seeking feedback, continuous improvement, refining value and being responsive in the face of the current marketplace. Remember to always have the big picture in mind, but don’t be put off by small tweaks or changes which need to be made along the way – change is inevitable, and it’s the way you and your teams react to change that demonstrates your current and future success.


  1. Short sharp regular meetings

Encourage your teams to collaborate as much as possible. Have a morning huddle to review projects or the previous days work, discuss the days workload ahead, what resources are needed or what challenges need to be resolved. Whilst there are many great project management tools on the market, nothing beats good old face to face human conversations. Use your regular meetings as a place to raise awareness, share knowledge and bring teams together to work collaboratively.


  1. Empower your teams to success

Agile is a great way to foster a healthy and positive workplace culture. Empower your leaders to provide their teams with the right environment, tools and skills to deliver value – this will help you to achieve high performing teams. Allow your people to play to their strengths and help them identify opportunities for growth and development. Leverage talent and create teams that perform at their best – afterall, employees who are happy and feel valued and the best performing and most loyal employees.


Being agile in 2021

Now, more than ever before, creating an agile workforce is imperative. It’s all about expecting, managing and embracing change, rather than resisting it. An agile mindset is also great to adopt in the home, and a great way to build resilience in children.

So what new ways of thinking or mindset will you adopt in 2021?