Agility Leverages Workflow

As a business learns to adapt to its environment (political, economic, consumer preferences, technological, social, etc), several traits are essential. How does your organization stack-up in the following:

  1. the ability to identify changes in the environment and market (including competitive forces)
  2. the honest self-assessmentof strengths and weaknesses in adaptability (including quality, automation and management)
  3. the reaction time it takes an organization to reassess its strategic plans and tactics
  4. the quality and flexibility of the infrastructure to mobilize in new ways to survive and/or thrive (personnel, telecommunications, supply-chain included)
  5. the emotional IQ to let go old ways in order to adopt new, more agile workflow and proceses in order to continue maturing as a system and not as rogue individuals

Each of these are characteristics of organizations that rely on several cues to register the need for agility. Having been an athlete at one time (God knows I’m not one now!), I ran and moved on the field in order to take advantage of opportunities and avoid pain. I scanned the horizon and made split-second decisions that allowed me and the rest of my team mates to mobilize all of our resources for the purpose of accomplishing our goals. The inability to exercise agility resulted in failure. On the field, failure had its consequences. In business, failure’s impact is felt across the bottom-line and among families and communities. Agility, then, is crucial.

Workflow and business process analysis are activities that enable an organization to self-assess HOW it will maintain its survival, renew the resources it requires for survival and reproduce or spread for the purpose of actualizing growth potential. Workflow analysis is self-knowledge. However, agility requires more than self-knowledge or self-assessment. It requires a concurrent assessment of the environment and the larger system. What is the opposing team doing? Where are we on the field of play? What are the other players on my own team up to?

Agility Competencies

Consider the following competencies that inform agility and ask yourself: How might I apply workflow analysis to each?

  1. the ability to identify new points of entry into the market
  2. the ability to reconfigure products and services
  3. the ability to expand and extend our services without compromising quality
  4. the time and resources required to establish a business architecture capable of delivering reconfigured products
  5. the variety of operations a distinct business unit is able to perform
  6. the versatility of personnel
  7. the interoperability of information networks and capacity to exchange vital data in real-time across organizational boundaries
  8. the cultural norm of focusing on agility and innovation
  9. the rate of resistance to change

Workflow and business process analysis, applied broadly, can serve the purpose of agility. As a matter of fact, without appropriate workflow modeling and basic workflow acumen and skills, reaction time is seriously hampered. So the next time people on your team wonder why your organization is investing the time and resources to develop robust workflow and BPM competencies, remind them that your agility – your ability to out-run threats and exploit opportunities – depends on it.

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