As entrepreneurs navigate their way through the world's new digital reality, the pace of their business can slow down. Employee turnover, changing consumer trends and innovative tech tools are just a few of the obstacles that can keep companies stuck in second gear. That's why being an agile company is an admired feature in today's business world—one that's often replicated because of its ability to adapt to any situation without losing too much momentum.
Agility is defined as the ability to move—and to think and understand—quickly and easily. But it's not the only criteria for an agile company. Much of what makes a business agile starts with its leadership.
Below are four traits that can help business owners lead an agile company and get out in front of changes taking place.
1. Be Proactive
Most business owners are reactive when it comes to making important decisions in their companies. Whether it is opening a new location, hiring employees or launching a new product or service, too many business owners make a key decision only to regret it within six months to a year.
You can become a proactive business owner by looking at the big picture and deciding in advance how you will respond to future opportunities and obstacles. You can also better prepare for what it will take in terms of resources and capital to help your company achieve its goals for the year.
2. Be Confident
Confidence is a key trait of an agile company. I have witnessed too many companies second-guess their decisions because they weren't confident enough in the work that went into making the original decision. Additionally, these same companies were indecisive when it came time to pivot their business models during the year due to changes in the market or with their customers.
If you've done your homework and understand the changes taking place in your industry and the consumer marketplace, then you should be confident in the plan to reach your goals by the end of the year.
3. Be Creative
An agile company fosters creativity among their employees. That's because the leaders know that there is always more than one possible solution to any problem or opportunity.
In the age of digital transformation and disruption, thinking outside the box must be part of any agile company. The programs and decisions your company made five years ago or even last year will probably not apply to what you are facing today and what you'll be facing in the future.
Empower your employees to come up with new ideas and programs, and you may have better programs and stronger relationships with your team.
4. Be Flexible and Responsive
Success in business rarely takes place in a straight line. An agile company can easily jump from point A to C to F then back to A—or B, if necessary—to achieve their goals.
Most agile companies are customer-centric, responding quickly to customer wants and client needs. It's important for you to understand the difference between what you think (or hope) is so, and what reality indicates. Successful companies recognize and navigate the difference between perception and reality—and can respond to a rapidly changing marketplace. It reminds me of Charles Darwin's theory: It's not the strongest or fastest who survive, but rather those who can best adapt to their current circumstances.
Your company doesn't need to be the biggest or the one with the most tech tools to survive and thrive; you just need to adapt to whatever the market throws in front of you to slow you down.
Read more articles on leadership skills.