The signs of adaptive organizations that show they have the edge over others

Our actions are signatures the soul leaves on the external world. Our movements often evoke our desire, ambitions, and above all, values. An organization has its own set of activities, modes of thinking and doing which distinguish one from another. But what are the signs that reveal a company as  wonderfully adaptive?

Validating assumptions

In the course of any team’s functioning, it is unavoidable to make assumptions. More often than not, we base our plan of action for a team based on them. What’s important is to make sure that these assumptions are grounded on reality and not on the whims or biased logic of a team leader or a manager. In fact, this sort of conscious grounding in reality is a key tenet which distinguishes an adaptive agile firm from one that’s not.

But how do you achieve the grounding that was mentioned? If the decision is based on anecdotal evidence, then you can perhaps invest in validating that information. A research study could be performed. Or maybe, you can cross-reference with other existing sources that could help ensure the information on which you have based your decision is indeed accurate.

Validating assumptions lies at the heart of good decision-making

Strategize according to outcomes than internal dynamics

It’s common enough for organizations and teams to strategize their activities according to what they perceive the internal teams could deliver rather than on specific outcomes which would help/delight the customers.

Adaptive agile firms know better. For these companies shape their actions according to customer-centric outcomes. This also entails quite a bit of flexibility within the organization-particularly when it comes to the mindset of the team members.

For one thing, customer expectations from a product or service never always remain the same. Competing products and services may have introduced new features that moves up the audience expectation from your offering as well. Or perhaps, it’s just that the customers are used to the current features of your service or product and so seek novelty now.

Regardless of the reason, all stakeholders in the company- particularly those responsible for creating the product or service- should approach their activities with a flexible enough mindset- one by which they recalibrate themselves to the shifting needs of the customers from time to time.

A container or team is at its best when it is outcome-oriented

Strong focus on value delivery

A central idea of agility is aligning teams to value streams. In a similar vein, companies that are highly adaptive also display a strong focus on delivering value. Two things are worth paying attention in this regard.

One is that the value isn’t always easily quantifiable. Teams and organizations define value in different ways at different times- this largely  depends on what customers demand or wish at  a particular time. But smarter companies go a step further- they bring  additional value to their product which the customer is not even expecting. In fact, there are times when an entire product could be premised on this idea. An example is Apple’s iPod when it hit the market the first time. It’s baseless to imagine that at that point in history anyone was actually demanding a product in which you could potentially store a thousand songs or more. And then you could carry it around in your pocket wherever you went. You could argue the whole product itself was a value which delighted the customers with its sheer unexpectedness.

The second thing to note is that for values to be delivered consistently, team members need to be all aligned perfectly. It’s not enough that a certain segment of the team is aligned. The entire team needs to be onboard for this to be realistic. But highly adaptive companies seem to have a knack for not just getting all team members onboard about the significance of delivering a particular value to the customers, but also to ensure that they all work rhythmically, in synch with each other to deliver the said value.

By aligning team members around values, you create meaningful communities

An often misunderstood factor about agility is that it is a static endeavour- that it is something to be accomplished once and then forgotten about. But the truth is that agility is a culture, a persistent movement towards higher levels of adaptability and excellence. We at Temenos+Agility have seen this play out in the companies we have consulted for. We have heard first-hand accounts of the same from the countless change agents who had benefited from our coaching. Moreover, our own expert coaches- with experience spanning decades- have helped instigate this wonderful transformations and have seen the aforementioned signs manifesting in those companies, like sparks rising off flames.

If you want to know how to help your company become agile, reach out to us. We are always glad to help.

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