Being a flexible company means having the ability to act quickly and with forethought. But how do you create that agile environment?
“Being agile is about having a visionary approach to business, as opportunity will be everywhere,” said Giancarlo Di Vece, president of Unosquare. “Companies have to see change coming long before it arrives and know when to take full advantage when it’s time.”
Di Vece finds that when an organization has succeeded with an agile approach to their business, a few of the following practices are adopted in the process:
- The organization is constantly open to change.
- They are using technology to its full advantage.
- The process is simple and not overcomplicated.
- The best and most qualified candidates are sought after to do the job.
“Full-service hospitality companies are not traditionally agile or nimble, but at Pacifica Hotels, we strive to be just that,” said Matt Marquis, CEO of Pacifica Hotels. “Throughout acquisitions, operations, asset management, and design and development capabilities, we make strong efforts to empower our leaders and managers to make smart, on-the-fly decisions that best support our company’s very clear vision.”
Marquis added, “At Pacifica, we want to be known as innovators, disruptors, and superior deliverers of the experiential hospitality experience. In order for Pacifica to be a successfully nimble company, it is critical that we have everyone in the company understand and represent our vision.”
“Businesses claim they want to be more modern, more agile workplaces, to be nimble and have the ability to compete even as things constantly change,” said Thomas Bradbury, CEO of WorkplaceUX. “Every business has friction; but to be agile, this friction must be relieved, thus, making the business more collaborative. It’s up to the CEO to chart a course to corporate agility that meets the needs of the business.”
“There’s a flexible workspace revolution going on right now,” said Michael Berretta, vice president of network development at IWG Brands. “In today’s market, businesses are turning toward flexible work solutions that have scale so they can move people into a new market quickly or adjust up or down as needed. It also helps companies stay close to suppliers or customers, and they can do all of this without committing to long leases or relocation costs, which brings great strategic agility.”
A starting point “is the realization that every business is in its own unique position, operationally and culturally,” Bradbury said. “As the CEO leading the changes, it’s crucial to understand how things currently operate and what’s happening day to day. Only from that perspective can the CEO define where he or she wants the business to go, how to get there and most importantly, how to stay there.”
Chad Hollingsworth, CEO of Triax Technologies, says the best ways to stay agile and flexible are:
- Stay curious. Things are constantly changing, and it’s important to stay informed. I’ve found that the more you know, the more you want to know. You need to always keep an ear to the ground and have a pulse on what’s happening; that helps you stay ahead of the curve.
- Get out in the field. Some ideas have come from getting out on site, talking with end users and seeing how they use our system on a daily basis.
- Staying flexible means listening to your customers. Our customers and end users are our biggest source of inspiration. For us, it’s never a “one-and-done”/one-off transaction but a long-term partnership, and they feel comfortable coming to us with ideas or new challenges, and we work with them to develop and test new features or products.
- Building a team of people with different strengths than me. Surround yourself with people who are smarter than you and who challenge you and help you grow every day. Having a team in place that you trust, and enjoy working with, makes everything else possible.
- Staying flexible is a balance. Nobody knows your business like you do, and it’s important to have a strong vision of who you are and where you’re going. The beauty is that when you have a strong, curious, smart, driven team and work with industry leaders, you’re able to identify and capitalize on good opportunities. Keeping an open mind and promoting innovation and collaboration within your organization helps you stay flexible and ahead of the game.
Doug Ringer, president of Doug Ringer Consulting, feels that flexibility comes from “anticipating your next corporate moves and making sure your systems support them.”
Flexibility must be designed into your systems, Ringer said. “It doesn’t just happen. Rigidity is what is normally present in firms of all sizes. The safety of always following a rigid process is often valued over the perceived risk of being flexible. Of course, only the flexible survive.”
Ringer advises “charging your teams with developing the best processes that will provide the desired outcome instead of living with whatever outcomes your rigid processes provide.”