How to Take the Pulse of Your Organizational Agility

Today, organizations must rise to the challenge of rapid speed to market and a constant influx of disruptive technology and services that challenge organization viability. They are forced to “adapt or die” in response to the head-spinning rate of change in organizational agility across industries.

You don’t have to look far to see how organizational agility and adaptability directly impacts success. Take General Electric (GE), a major multi-industry conglomerate that once dominated the production of large commercial appliances. While GE remains successful in other sectors, it largely failed to adapt to the speed of change when it came to maintaining profit margins in the face of emerging technologies. The numbers bear this out: the appliances and lighting branch of the company, GE Appliances, generated roughly 6% of the GE Industrial segment’s revenues in the second quarter of 2016 — yet accounted for only 2.3% of the segment’s operating profit. This led to the acquisition of GE Appliances by Chinese electronics company Haier.

Meanwhile, a small Korean chemicals company known as Lucky-Goldstar expanded the scope of its business model to fill the market demand for new technologically advanced appliances. Today, Lucky-Goldstar is known as LG, and — alongside Samsung and Whirlpool — it has dominated the major appliance market for the last few years, capitalizing on the internet of things (IoT) and enjoying healthy profit margins in the process. LG has reported its results for the second quarter of 2018, posting $771 billion in operating profits (up 16.1% over the same period in 2017).

What sets LG apart from GE? It may come down to a concept known as change fatigue, which occurs when the need for continual change leads to mental burnout and apathy among employees. When burnout happens, innovation and problem-solving stall. Change impacts levels of employee engagement and workplace accountability, ultimately resulting in the failure of new projects, programs, and initiatives to take hold.

So how can corporate leaders accurately anticipate changing trends in their industry and rise to the challenge efficiently and effectively — while sidestepping the negative effects of change fatigue?

Remaining Agile in the Face of Change

According to experts, there are six primary factors driving major societal and market change: commoditization; the digital revolution; social media; globalization; turbulent geopolitics; and acceleration. Ultimately, the first five come together to shape the latter, which has to do with the speed at which organizations innovate and their effectiveness in adapting to the other categories of change.

Consider how many of these factors are influencing your organization. In order to truly thrive, organizations today are forced to master all of these drivers of change, keeping a pulse on technology trends, political happenings around the globe, and emerging marketing tactics — all while staying one step ahead of their competitors.

The Critical Role of Organizational Accountability: People Matter

Before leaders are able to navigate the rapid pace of change in the marketplace and meet new demands with innovation, they must address something more elemental: the mindsets of their own employees. Employees are every organization’s greatest asset; as such, attempts to proactively respond to any major driver of change can fall flat without high levels of accountability in the workplace.

Accountability, according to the New York Times bestseller The Oz Principle, is the “personal choice to rise above one’s circumstances and demonstrate the ownership necessary for achieving desired results.” When employees, teams, and organizations take accountability, they recognize critical gaps between current and desired results, employ creative problem-solving to develop effective ways to close these gaps, implement solutions effectively, and fulfill their promises to hit key targets.

When accountability runs through every level of an organization, all employees feel connected to Key Results and the purpose of their work — which leads to greater satisfaction in the workplace. This is good news, especially considering that, according to our “Happiness at Work” survey, when employees are happier at work, 85% take more initiative and nearly 50% report caring more about their work.

With a strong sense of purpose and increased levels of employee engagement, companies are well-positioned to adapt to the rate of industry change and introduce innovative solutions into the marketplace at speed — all while avoiding dreaded change fatigue. It’s clear: to achieve organizational agility and flexibility to meet the demands of market forces, organizations must purposefully create a culture of accountability.

New Survey Indexes Your Company’s Ability to Handle Change

Our new Workplace Accountability Index offers valuable insights into critical accountability metrics for your organization, from individual employees all the way up to the departmental and organizational level. By evaluating progress based on key accountability indicators — including feedback-seeking, personal psychological ownership, creative problem-solving, and rates of effective action-taking — the Workplace Accountability Index enables leaders to identify areas for improvement and implement proactive strategies that reduce change fatigue and improve employees’ ability to recognize and react positively to change.

Built-in predictive data analysis enables leaders to recognize that there is a simple yet powerful way to manage how your organization reacts to change. While surveys like Gallup’s State of the American Workplace provide analytics on the changing workplace, the Workplace Accountability Index is like no other survey system in the market today: rather than providing high-level diagnostics, it is prescriptive, offering concrete steps to address change fatigue within your organization.

What’s more, the Index provides vital insights into other crucial indicators of accountability, including speed to market, employee engagement, individual and team growth potential, and rate of achievement. Equipped with this valuable data, leaders can tackle accountability gaps from within — maximizing the organization’s adaptability and ability to flourish in competitive markets.

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