This is part two of my blog series about the book “Does Your Brand Care?” by Isabel Verstraete. As a quick reminder: the CARE principles stand for collaboration, agility, reliability and empathy.
In this article, I’ll zoom in on the second pillar, agility. Please continue reading to discover more about it.
The second element of the CARE principles is agility: sharpen your speed and reactivity. It will prepare you for a rapidly changing world (like what we experienced during the pandemic). It allows you to be flexible, responsive, diverse and resilient when necessary. Agility enables you to pivot very fast depending on economic, ecological, technological or social circumstances.
Does this mean you no longer need planning? Not exactly. It would be best if you still had a long term vision, strategy and plan; however, when you face endeavours or get unforeseen opportunities, you need to pivot your rough planning very quickly towards the new situation in the short term.
I think you agree that this all sounds very logical. So then, why do companies struggle to be agile? Well, two significant hurdles are holding them back.
- First of all, people don’t like change. You will need a company culture that encourages change and innovation and gets the leadership team’s full support to act upon it.
- Secondly, changing processes is often poorly thought out and badly communicated. Being agile does not mean you need to act impulsively and only speak afterwards. Sit down with your stakeholders and brainstorm together on the next steps. Communicate transparently on what you discussed and the progress with the entire staff within the company. Don’t hide what the conversations are about, be open about it. And, make sure you don’t have team silos, work cross-team on agile projects - form a team of whoever provides added value or is necessary for that project. Give this team autonomy to build an added value.
When you take care of these two bottlenecks the right way, you’ll create a company that can react faster and better, resulting in happier employees, happier customers, happier suppliers and a happier community.
Some extra tips from the book and myself to become more agile:
- Hire diverse people based on gender, age, ethnicity, disability or sexual orientation.
- Learn from other businesses outside your industry. Learn from the successes and failures of others; a good article to discover more is “A Two-Person Agile Project (and what it teaches us)”.
- However, don’t just copy practices or frameworks from companies you know. Any changes need to be tailor-made to your company.
- Becoming agile is also an agile process: be flexible and implement the changes step by step, don’t try to change everything at once. Hire an agile coach if you struggle implementing this yourself or need a neutral view to overlook the changes.
- Test your ideas/products in small batches with your fans, community and followers on social media. Don’t be afraid to fail.
- Outsource what you can’t afford, e.g. e-commerce systems. Better to focus on your strengths and what you love to do.
- Communicate with the young about trends, buzz, and their vision on the future.
- Becoming agile also means a cultural change, you’ll have to let go of people who cannot adapt to this new culture to succeed with the transformation.
I hope you enjoyed this second part. Curious about the following two pillars of the CARE principles? My article about reliability will follow soon. Keep an eye on our website or subscribe to our RSS feed to get a notification once published.