The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Business

January 30, 2013

Agility vital for modern workers, employers

I’ve read about how important it is to be agile in today’s workplace.

So I tried typing that first sentence with my toes while balancing on one arm atop a cubicle wall. I fell twice and sprained my ankle.

Fortunately, that’s not the kind of agility that matters.

Being agile in the working world means being adaptable, managing change, trying to keep pace with technology and consumers’ ever-evolving needs and desires.

This is not something most American companies - and many employees, for that matter - do well. We tend to get stuck in our ways, locked in the classic conversation:

“Why do we do things this way?“

“Because that’s the way we’ve always done them.“

A new survey by the workforce research firm I4CP, or the Institute for Corporate Productivity, found that companies consider the top two “critical issues for 2013“ to be “managing/coping with change“ and “managing organizational change.“ And yet the study found that only 35 percent of the best-performing organizations are effective at managing change.

“When it comes to the leadership properties in a lot of companies, they remain status quo,“ said Kevin Martin, chief research and marketing officer at I4CP. “You have to have agile leaders. The mantra should be, ’We need to change internally as fast or faster than the market is changing externally.’ “

In many companies, implementing change is like trying to turn around an aircraft carrier. Projects often become monthslong endeavors where team members cannot make decisions without clearance from multiple rungs of management.

The argument here is that companies should function more like youthful gymnasts than arthritic octogenarians. Steve Denning, author of “The Leader’s Guide to Radical Management,“ said businesses that can’t continually innovate have short life expectancies.

He gave me several principles for a company to become more agile.

Text Only
Business
  • Watercooler: Raised to the roof

    Q: Over 15 years, I have worked my way up the corporate ladder with the same organization. I have been given a raise every year and excellent reviews, as well as several promotions.

    July 25, 2014

  • Career Coach Q&A: job search follow-up; introverts as leaders

    Starting a business:

    Q: I have a stable job that I don't hate, but I have an idea for starting my own business.

    July 25, 2014

  • How to become a leader

    QUESTION: I’ve just been promoted into a leadership role. I’m excited, but also kind of overwhelmed. What do I need to do to be good at my new job?

    July 24, 2014

  • Balancing Act: How much is your time worth? Consider outsourcing some tasks

    Todd Paton has a booming business getting customers noticed on the Web. One tool he uses is generating online press releases to build brand awareness and create links that will send traffic to a customer’s website. But Paton, owner of Paton Internet Marketing, acknowledges that writing the releases is not his strong suit. Rather than spend his time doing it, he hires out the task.

    July 23, 2014

  • The Color of Money: No easy way to get out of debt

    Many people who are deeply in debt are desperate for a quick fix. They ask the question: What can I do to get out of debt?

    July 21, 2014

  • Watercooler: When to speak up if you see problems down the line

    Q: Our organization has hired a new director. I am one of a number of division heads; above us, there's the associate director, and above him is the director. The associate director is feared and disliked for his duplicity and dictatorial nature, though few have come forward because of his vindictiveness.

    July 18, 2014

  • Career Coach: Bringing a purpose-driven spirit to work

    Increasingly, religious beliefs and practices of employees are becoming more evident in the workplace. Religious diversity and concepts of spirituality are more prevalent in organizational settings.

    July 18, 2014

  • Ask the Mompreneur: It’s best to farm out your payroll

    When my husband and I hired our first employee at our Web development company, we had it easy when it came to doing payroll.

    July 17, 2014

  • Protecting against unnecessary losses

    QUESTION: I run a small bar and grill which is open 7 days a week and have to rely on others for some of the shifts. How can I ensure employees have not become my partners?

    July 17, 2014

  • A checklist for keeping you focused at work

    A quick check of Facebook and next thing you know, a half-hour’s passed. Start chatting with a co-worker and suddenly 20 minutes is gone and the report you were supposed to finish by lunch is late.
    Workplace distractions are everywhere, especially in an age of social media and open-plan offices. In the face of so much temptation, accomplishing what you’re paid to do can be tough.

    July 16, 2014

Business Video
Stocks