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Small and Medium Businesses face many challenges to remain competitive and operational in the market. Some companies are able to thrive, grow and reach their goals, while others have a hard time tackling the threats and obstacles that inevitably show up. The main differences between companies that succeed and those that don’t are based on these two words: agility and resilience. This article will dive into the importance of organisational agility and resilience for SMEs.
Recommended Read: How to Become a Resilient Organisation
Both of these qualities affect not just the results obtained by a business, but they have significant implications on how these companies operate and how their culture is shaped. These concepts can increase a business’ chance to succeed and survive, especially given the uncertainty of the business environment today.
For a company to survive, it needs to adapt quickly to drastic changes in the industry, and it needs to have contingency plans to prepare for the worst. Keep reading to learn more about how organisational agility and resilience for SMEs can provide these essential capacities for your business.
Organisational agility and resilience are increasingly relevant qualities in today’s business environment. Companies could remain with the same structure for decades in the traditional business world, iterating on their processes with caution and patience. Technological advance has made it so that products quickly become obsolete, and the relationship with customers and brands has been significantly altered.
This has led to the popularity of the productive mindsets feeding successful companies. The first one mentioned is organisational agility, and it consists of the business’ capacity to sense market trends and changes and adapt to maintain its relevance. An agile company is flexible and not overly attached to a specific target audience, product or service. It’ll understand what is more relevant for a particular moment and develop the skills and services needed for that situation.
An agile organisation can surf the market waves and change directions when needed. What about a resilient organisation? How do these concepts complement each other, and how do they differ?
Read: How can Cyber Resilience Protect SMEs in Ireland?
In short, a resilient business understands its core activities very well and has learned how to ensure they will remain operational. This means having an in-depth knowledge of potential threats and risks, a strategy to minimise those risks, and a plan to act if they come to be.
So a resilient organisation might not be as fast as an agile business. And the agile one may not have all recommended contingencies to avoid a disaster. Both might enable a company to survive and thrive, focusing on different approaches. The good news is: they are not mutually exclusive. Ideally, a successful organisation will have the capacity to be agile while also being aware of its risks and able to avoid them. It all begins with some changes in your workplace, which we’ll discuss in the next section.
How to improve organisational agility and resilience for SMEs? An organisation can be agile and resilient simultaneously, and to develop these qualities, a business must go beyond hiring a new management tool. These changes will require business owners to review their current structure based on the following three pillars: People, Process and Technology.
Customers and workers are vital to the value creation process in agile organisations. You need to provide them with tools and methods to acquire high-quality data and promote interactions that lead to valuable collaboration.
Beyond systems, your hiring practices must prioritise stable and flexible personality types. This means hiring those who are comfortable with change and can leverage change to better themselves and eventually the company. People are just as critical as processes in your organisation’s ability to be agile and resilient.
Related: Your Biggest Cybersecurity Risk: Your Employees
For instance, dividing positions by novelty versus repetition is a good idea (i.e., tasks with little to no context and which require a lot of research versus well-documented duties with a playbook).
Companies that use both work styles and appropriately cross-train their employees to take on both are usually better equipped to deal with changing market situations. And all of this should have a significant impact on your workplace culture.
If your people are equipped with an agile mindset, they’re likely to be seeking changes in your processes and technology to create a better workflow.
In terms of resilience, accountability and training have a powerful impact on preparing your team for tricky situations. If building an asset or risk register, it’s essential to have someone responsible for each element and aware of what to do about it.
Improving your employees’ resiliency helps your organisation become more agile. Fear of failure makes it difficult for people to accept feedback, take responsibility for problems and make decisions. Businesses should work towards creating an environment that reduces fear by cultivating a positive company culture that encourages risk-taking and accepts failure.
When your employees are confident in their resiliency, they can concentrate more on absorbing new information and appreciating its potential utility rather than worrying about how they’ll react or pass on the blame if the news isn’t favourable.
Agile businesses can adjust in response to new information about customers’ changing needs and the business environment quickly without creating employee resistance or resentment. The ability to transform insights into innovation requires effective collaboration, creative intelligence, and the ability to learn in new and meaningful ways.
It’s a good idea to plan ahead, but it’s also advisable to leave room for unexpected changes. Find the right combination for you. A process can be 70% planned and 30% improvised but knowing your typical mix ahead of time makes it easier to react quickly when the situation demands it.
To take your processes through the path of agility, answer the following questions:
On the same note, it’s vital to understand which processes and activities are most important for the organisation to establish resilience. Knowing this, you can list the most likely and impactful threats that could disturb these activities and think of ways to prevent them.
When handled properly, technology can substantially support your people and processes. However, you must make sure that the technology you use helps your business adapt to changes quickly. Otherwise, it could be the biggest hindrance in your journey towards agility.
Most of the work done by businesses today relies on technology, so when it is not working effectively, it tends to have a significant negative impact on productivity and focus. Just think about how meaningful the Cloud is to companies and how it can be affected by a slow internet connection.
Technology is also crucial in handling resilience, as we’ve explained in the article Organisational Resilience starts with Cyber Resilience. Most of the tools you’ll utilise to protect your business from cyber threats will fit this category, along with backup and disaster recovery tools.
In this context, technology acts as much more than a support function but rather as an essential component enabling business growth and efficiency.
Now that you’ve learned how important is organisational agility and resilience for SMEs, you might want to begin improving your capacities right away. And you should! By following some of the tips above, you may begin the shift your business needs to thrive.
Nonetheless, you don’t have to do it all by yourself. Especially when defining the best tools and technology to support your business’ development. That’s when we come in to assist.
Our team has in-depth knowledge of the dangerous cyber threats and knows how to prepare and deal with them. We’re also proficient in setting up and supporting most of the tools you might need to improve your processes and become more agile.
We can assist you in building a strategic technology plan, so you know exactly where you want to get and can get there with our support every step of the way.
If you want to learn more, look at our IT Strategy and Cloud Services pages. Our team will be happy to discuss your needs and provide tailored advice in a no-commitment Discovery Call. Book a call today, and let’s leverage the power of technology to bring your business to the next level!