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Business agility: 1x effective approach

Adrian Sita
7 Oct, 2019
3 m read

What is Business Agility?

Business agility or agility in organizations refers to distinct qualities that allow them to respond rapidly to changes when these appear, without losing their vision.

There are three concepts which are a must for long-term business agility:

  • adaptability
  • flexibility
  • balance

But what is the purpose of using these characteristics? To bring great competitive advantage for your clients into the market! Is in it the same for agile organizations? Almost… still there is a sizeable difference. Agile is in the first place a state of mind, but comprise also frameworks. Agility is the same, like agile mindset without the frameworks. That's why you can find out there agility in organizations but not necessarily to apply at the organization level any agile framework.

Where companies face uncertainty and rapid change, business agility saves the situation - or the growth mindset or the agile mindset and not the frameworks.

Business agility is important for firms looking to survive long-term and who work in quick-paced industries.

Innovation is often the key to maintaining long-term agility in organizations. Companies that don’t innovate and rely on ‘proven’ methods of doing things often fall behind the competition because they can’t adapt quickly enough to shifts in the environment(business agility)

From a HR perspective, agility involves ensuring the human capital in the organisation has the right mindset, skills and abilities to respond quickly to fresh developments.

business agility

Agility values and principles

Agility in organizations have these values:

  • individuals and their interactions
  • collaboration
  • driving toward outcome
  • constant learning

The principles that serve the foundation of business agility include iteration to learn and reflect on feedback and adapt both product and process. Usually these types of organizations plays the Infinit game as Simon Sinek is naming it.


There is no prescribed set of roles appropriate in an agility organization. Rather, any role appropriate for that organization’ context and helps the organisation embrace change and deliver value to its customers is appropriate. Usually, the roles are:

There is no prescribed life-cycle for business agility. Any life-cycle that allows an organisation to iteratively and incrementally deliver value to its customers and respond accordingly is appropriate.

Make customers the central focus of your organisation

In an environment of constant, rapid change, it’s more important than ever that businesses remain fully focused on bringing to right competitive advantage into the market for assuring success to your clients.

The old ideas and measures of “customer satisfaction”, “customer service” and even “customer relationship management” do no longer capture consumer sentiment and develop strategies to keep paying customers.

We no longer live in a transactional or product-centric world economy–we live in one powered by incredible amounts of widely available data and built around an economy of reputation.

It drives value faster, better and more efficiently

Business agility drives value faster by:

  • quality
  • innovation
  • increasing customer satisfaction
  • responsiveness
  • productivity
  • revenue

Execution agility makes speed and performance in your client competitive advantages. Improving cycle times can significantly affect your client bottom line as speed helps monetise incremental value and gets you to revenue sooner.

Organizations must be able to leverage data and insights to become better, faster and more efficient - but we need the right mindset - playing the Infinite game.

The highest level of business agility requires organising people around the creation of successful outcomes and not outputs as usual managers are still expecting to receive. This means connecting agility throughout your organization by breaking down internal silos and forming value-focused teams.

Breaking down functional silos is imperative to minimising dependencies, reducing waste, improving collaboration and allowing you to respond to opportunities and threats quickly.

In our digitalisation world, just doing agile is not enough, you must be agile - this is referring exactly to the agile growth mindset equivalent with business agility.

Business agility is neither a fad nor a free-for-all. It’s an extremely disciplined approach to business that requires a new mindset for everyone in the organisation.

It can challenge, but ultimately, it will help your business turn ideas into outcomes under the following conditions.

  • regardless of industry
  • problems to solve
  • customers to please

Some (final) thoughts

If you’re interested in redefining your business as an agile enterprise, contact one of our agile coaches to see how we can help and let's do things efficiently.

This article is part of a bigger topic called: 

Agile Software Development

Resources related articles

Scrum Framework Fundamentals

Agile Test Automation

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