Culture - 03.27.2019

Creating An Agile Organization That Capitalizes on Disruption

Why should you create “orgagility?”

Tony Hunter Author: Tony Hunter

Let’s be clear: disruption is here to stay.

Organizations need to constantly innovate and reinvent their business models. Companies and leaders should take note and act now to create what I call “orgagility.”

Because, by developing and cultivating the characteristics of orgagility, your company will be prepared to thrive regardless of what is going on around you. Build an organization capable of reinventing and transforming itself. When you do, you’ll be able to prevail in disruptive times.

Disruption is happening, and shows no signs of slowing down. Companies today no longer have the luxury of “doing what we’ve always done.” Many companies are unprepared and/or caught by surprise. The disruption to their business model requires reinvention and transformation. Business as usual won’t succeed when disruption hits your industry.

To transform in real time, companies need to inject orgagility into the fabric of their culture. I define orgagility as “the ability an organization has to drive new ideas to implementation rapidly, and to pivot frequently.” In short, building orgagility will position you for success and create a flywheel for innovation and reinvention.

Creating a company with orgagility, in its simple form, embodies these 5 characteristics:

1. Shared vision and mission

2. Leadership team that inspires everyone to do their best work

3. Culture of speed and action

4. Organizational accountability and alignment

5. Competitive and innovative team of employees

Companies that develop these characteristics of orgagility are well positioned to succeed in disruptive times. At a high level, these companies anticipate changes in the marketplace, embrace the need for innovation and capitalize on emerging opportunities.

Today’s business landscape is no stranger to disruption and transformation. Why not get started now?

1. Shared vision and mission

Get started by ensuring your team has a firm understanding of you vision and mission. You can’t expect transformation to succeed if the company and employees aren’t on the same page. Employees want to know where the company is going (vision) and what the company does to create value (mission).

2. Leadership team that inspires everyone to do their best work

While you need the full company to buy-in to the vision and mission, the leadership team is responsible on a day to day basis to communicate and reinforce the message. If your leaders aren’t inspiring the rest of the team to do their best work and continue down the path of transformation, the transformation won’t succeed. Leadership matters… and is the difference between success and failure.

3. Culture of speed and action

If you want to be the disruptor, or address being disrupted (likely to occur in the near term), you need to stay ahead of the trends by operating quickly and proactively. Slow and steady won’t win the disruption race. By being action-oriented and quick to innovate, you can stay ahead of your peers and ensure your goals are met. Make sure your talk to action ratio is in sync with the speed of the marketplace.

4. Organizational accountability and alignment

Execution of strategies and alignment across departments is critical. Drive accountability through cascading goal setting, performance management and metrics. Alignment across the organization is a step many skip, allowing competing objectives to stall progress. Strategy is important, but only if you have exceptional execution.

5. Competitive and innovative team of employees

While success is dependent on having the right talent in the right seats, it is equally important to have highly engaged people too. Is your team comprised of people who want to win? Have an appetite for change? Can they create new solutions? Companies that successfully accomplish steps 1–4 are likely going to fail if they don’t have talented people with a desire to compete and win.

With the advantage of hindsight, it’s clear that these principles of orgagility were developed, refined and adapted as my team led the Chicago Tribune through a time of unparalleled digital disruption.

During my time there, we learned everything we wanted to do was dependent upon creating a culture that supported change. In the midst of the 2008 financial crisis and bankruptcy, we had to transform a century-old newspaper company into a media and business services company that could compete in a digital world, where newspaper demand and revenues would substantially decline.

Publishing was at the tip of the disruption spear.

We recognized very quickly that we needed to transform the business model through reinvention in order to capitalize on the opportunities afforded by disruption.

We succeeded.

Preparation and planning for the future is a primary role of leaders. And while orgagility is important, it’s no substitute for a pliable, adaptable business model.

Rather, orgagility provides a framework to navigate disruptive times. It facilitates perpetual reinvention and transformation of organizations. When change inevitably comes, your business can ride the wave afforded by disruption, ahead of those caught in the undertow.