In almost every industry, small businesses are learning that staying competitive and growing revenue require taking a long hard look at their current organizational structures and finding ways to become more agile.
Given that today’s business world is so drastically different than it was even just a few years ago, company executives must be able to check their egos at the door and make decisions they know will either need to be modified in line with the fluidity of the market in which their business operates, or that will prove to be the wrong decisions altogether.
Which brings to mind a quote by the late French novelist, Marcel Proust: “All our final decisions are made in a state of mind that is not going to last.”
Put another way: Irrevocable decisiveness is the enemy of agility.
The leaders who successfully guide their small businesses moving forward through the rapidly evolving sea of social media, content marketing, The Cloud, big data, BYOD, and flexible workplace dynamics, will be progressive-minded individuals who implement safe-to-fail policies knowing their teams are agile enough to learn from mistakes and quickly develop improved products and services.
Clearly, the common thread that runs through almost every new business process is software. Software developers build the tools that enable businesses to market their offerings online through social channels and via crowdsourcing. Software runs The Cloud and provides advanced tools for mining and monetizing hoards of data. Ubiquitous software apps allow companies to implement BYOD policies for their employees, which in turn helps foster workplace flexibility, mobility and, you guessed it, greater agility.
Because we’re still in the relatively early entry stages of so many new, game-changing business technologies and methodologies, almost all of which coming from the software industry, it’s time even for non-IT businesses to implement processes that mimic those by which successful software development companies operate.
In the McKinsey & Company article, “Competing in a digital world: Four lessons from the software industry,” the authors expertly lay out a compelling argument.
Specifically related to agility, the authors write:
“Software creation is inherently team based; as a result, the vast majority of software companies have built teamwork into their ethos. Teams assemble and reassemble based on specific projects, often resulting in flatter organizations than may be seen in other industries. To the uninitiated (and sometimes even to those in the industry), this way of working feels like barely controlled chaos. Companies that do this well depend on core organizational elements, including increased transparency, a laser-like focus on aligning culture and mind-set, and clearly defined, common goals.”
I encourage every small-business owner out there who isn’t already embracing this shifting workplace paradigm to read the entire McKinsey & Company article, and to keep checking this blog for more helpful commentary on the world of small business solutions.