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Agility: everybody's talking about it but who actually applies it?

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Cindy Da Cruz Goncalves
25 / 06 / 2018

Agility can be defined as “the ability to react quickly to events and change direction without affecting the company’s dynamic or performance”.

It’s a concept that we hear about often but it is rare in reality, since there is no magic formula that a company can follow to become agile. However, in order to attempt to do this, you have to think and act differently.

More than just a way of working and collaborating, agility is a state of mind. A state of mind that everybody wants to touch on.

The need for acculturation

Acculturation is a process of changing a company’s culture which consists of helping employees adapt to a new environment. These changes must be made incrementally. Small, regular changes will be received better than big, long-term changes as they give employees time to understand and adapt without having to completely change the way they work.

#1- Identify needs in order to set effective targets

To help your employees through this transition, you need to identify your teams’ needs through surveys and feedback in order to be able to meet their expectations and find appropriate solutions that will reach your employees.

Once you have identified the sticking points, you can implement a communication and training plan that is adapted to the various needs of your employees.

#2- A strong communication plan

In order to facilitate change, you will need to create a strong communication plan. An ill-informed employee will find it more difficult to adapt and will put up resistance. The way you communicate must be adapted to each individual in the company, as your employees must feel involved with these changes.

Try something different and encourage fun communication and learning by setting up webinars, conferences, tutorials, and drinks after work where employees from different departments can mingle and play digitally themed games, workshops and challenges.

Put together a “pool of ambassadors” team to launch and lead the various events. Value them and let your employees become involved in the life of the company, strengthening their sense of belonging.

#3- Invest in user-friendly tools

In order to encourage the adoption of new tools, invest in user-friendly digital tools.

Don’t try to impose a tool if your teams are against it. Let them test the tools and give you feedback as they will be the determining factor when it comes to adopting the tool.

Find one that works for and adapts to your various teams easily. This is what Bubblz offers you – a tool that combines simplicity and power and is capable of adapting to various business needs quickly and simply.

The error culture

“The only thing holding back innovation in France is the fear of failure.” Bill GatesFrance has a negative relationship with mistakes, in contrast with countries such as Canada, Sweden, the US or the United Kingdom, where they are considered to be learning experiences.

Your teams shouldn't be afraid to make mistakes because they are only human after all, and making them often helps you pinpoint sticking points and improve. So don’t be afraid to experiment with new ways of working and continuously improve them because agility involves staying in motion, above all.

#1- Accept the risk of error

It’s important to integrate the error culture into your company because that would also mean reducing stress amongst your employees and improving their performance, strengthening conviviality, finding something that you weren't looking for, encouraging innovation, optimising work organisation and developing their skills.

#2- Anticipate errors before committing

Anticipating errors first of all involves identifying them. Allow your employees to express their fears because they could raise points that you may not have thought of. Fears and mistakes are unique to each person, which is why communication greatly reduces the risk of error.

#3- Analyse your mistakes

In order to avoid repeating the same mistakes several times, you need to draw conclusions and learn from them, but to do that you need to talk about them.  This is why creating a culture where there is feedback on mistakes will help you to learn from them and reduce them because ignoring them is not a sustainable solution.

Sources : 

The Agility Factor: Building Adaptable Organizations for Superior Performance. Thomas Williams, Christopher Worley & Edward Lawler III

Agility: It rhymes with stability. Wouter Aghina, Aaron De Smet & Kirsten Weerda, McKinsey.

Domains og business Agility, Evan, The Agile Director

Tour du monde des entreprises qui valorisent les erreurs [A look at companies around the world which value mistakes], Francis Boyer, Journal du Net


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