The first eight months of 2020 have presented a number of cultural, social, and business challenges for companies to navigate. Leading an organization in this environment can not only be scary, but also quite difficult. It’s important to not make decisions too quickly, particularly those that cannot be undone, yet speed and agility are also critical to success. Select businesses have performed well amid these unpredictable times, with a key reason being their ability to leverage diversity and culture for improved business agility.
Being agile and reactive to change in the right way can help leaders ensure they’re making prudent choices for their businesses and teams. There are several steps executives can take to effectively manage unplanned change and imbue their business – and themselves – with greater agility. One is evaluating workforce composition.
Hiring for diverse skillsets has never been more important. Factoring in behavioral capabilities can give a business the capacity to adapt quickly to changing circumstances. It’s easy to hire in one’s own image, but the growth and success of a team and company requires eliminating such behavior. In order to remain competitive and ensure that products and services are truly focused on customers and clients, leaders must evaluate and assess the skills they have and any gaps that exist. It’s not the business itself that’s agile; it’s the agility of its people that makes it agile.
However, hiring the right people isn’t enough. Leaders must also create an open culture and foster an environment of creativity and collaboration that’s inherently programmed to generate new ideas and deal with ambiguity. Balance is extremely important. Too much freedom, and the company will deal with chaos. But too little freedom, and the company will stifle creativity.
In Wipro’s Talent and Change practice, we’ve introduced the concept of innovation labs. These sessions allow us to meet as a team every few weeks to generate new ideas and products. These labs are not just for engineering and tech companies. They can be adapted to meet any organization’s needs and promote a more-collaborative working environment.
It’s also important that organizations learn from failure. The rate at which businesses and products are evolving today shows how critical it is to embrace feedback about where things haven’t worked as planned. Given the pace of change, it’s easier to move onto the next thing and simply hope that people forget about the failed elements of a previous project. But actively seeking to learn from those failures, not forget about them, can result in faster deployments and better overall products.
Any organization can adopt these attributes, though it can be difficult to know where to start. Wipro’s Talent and Change practice advises company leaders about how to design their organization around new technologies and optimize their structure to better support business objectives. We also help devise strategies for culture change and hiring diverse skillsets that will support their future growth. As executives seek to navigate their companies through these uncharted waters, ensuring such diversity and fostering the right culture can be critical steps to improve business agility.