Agile Organizations: The Balance of Speed and Stability

By: Marie-Hélène Sicard
Jul 6, 2017 1:45 PM ET

The past few decades have seen unprecedented changes in technology and society. In fact, it seems that in business, the only constant is change.

Today’s top-performing organizations aren’t those that are doing business the way they have for a century, but rather those that adapt and respond quickly to change. These organizations are often called “agile” because they are nimble, responsive and quick to adapt to new technology—and are often some of the earliest to do so. Agile organizations recognize the world is evolving and changing. They work across cultures, borders, and workplaces and quickly move to market.

At the heart of agile organizations—as at the heart of every organization—are its people. Individuals and teams in agile organizations must be more collaborative, more inventive, faster at delegating and more willing to share responsibilities. This constant adaptation isn’t easy for everyone, and indeed, too much change isn’t good for any business. Instead teams at agile organizations must learn to strike a delicate balance between speed and stability.

Sodexo’s 2017 Workplace Trends Report dove into what traits help agile organizations strike that balance. Here are three main characteristics it found in all successful, agile workplaces:

  1. An emphasis on teamwork. Individuals in agile workplaces thrive in collaborative environments—and they love a little friendly competition. Employees are quick to join forces and develop collaborative networks of partners.
  2. A common orientation toward organizational goals. At agile workplaces, everything from the corporate structure to the design of the office space is aligned with the company’s goals. All employees have a clear understanding of what they are trying to achieve, and incentive structures steer them toward those goals.
  3. Change is the norm. Agile workplaces set an expectation that change is a constant part of work. In other words, every employee knows that it’s part of his or her job to keep up with, understand and adapt to change.

Agility is as challenging as it is empowering, and it’s something companies across all industries should strive for. Every organization has the ability to be agile, no matter what sector they operate in. By simply allowing employees to have more freedom and responsibility and by encouraging a collaborative environment, leaders will begin to see their organizations become more agile.

Do you consider your workplace agile? Why or why not? Tell us in the comments on Sodexo Insights.