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Sue Laurent

6 Traits of Adaptive, Agile Organizations
Sue Laurent Principal Product Marketing Manager | November 3, 2020
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Is your organization adaptive?

Is your organization agile?

Frankly, it doesn’t matter what word you use if you can’t sense and respond to challenges and opportunities in the market, wherever they come from. What does matter is that one of those adjectives describes your organization, whether it happens to be small, growing, or global. That’s been especially true in the months since March 2020, when the pandemic has put organizations in every corner of the world to the ultimate test of survival.

How did some organizations manage to magically pivot, when others froze in their tracks and faltered or failed? Did the agile organizations just enjoy special advantages? Did they have insider information? Or was it something else altogether?

The great news is that becoming adaptive requires no magic at all. The not-so-great news is that many organizations just don’t know where to start when it comes to becoming adaptive.

Over the course of 10 years of working with agile organizations and speaking with change agents leading digital transformations, we’ve distilled our findings to delineate six traits of adaptive organizations, also known as the House of Resiliency. Each trait has three levels of adaptability: Rigid is the least adaptive; perhaps a better word for organizations like this is rigid. The next level is Flexible, which means that the organization can bend without breaking, but it’s still a challenge. The best score is Resilient: Typically, organizations that score Resilient in these six traits sense and respond to challenges and opportunities in the market.

Let’s take a look and see if you recognize your company.

Trait #1: Focused on Customer Outcomes

Adaptive organizations always keep customer success front and center in all decisions about products and services. Of course, customers may change their minds about what constitutes success, but adaptive organizations have processes in place that allow them to be flexible, validating assumptions by implementing ongoing feedback loops.

Trait #2: Activities are Focused on Customers

Adaptive organizations know the world is ever-changing, so they make investments in validating assumptions, both internally and externally. This ensures that they capture the best data and synthesize it to make meaningful, dynamic adjustments.

Trait #3: Culture Supports Adaptive Decision-Making

Adaptive organizations typically have both feed-forward and feedback loops embedded in their decision-making processes, creating a decision-making culture that encourages and facilitates adaptive thinking.

Adaptive organizations typically have both feed-forward and feedback loops embedded in their decision-making processes.

Trait #4: Organized Around Data-Driven Value Delivery

Adaptive organizations dynamically adjust to customer needs. The ability to pivot is intrinsic to the decision-making culture, making it easier to adjust to current environments.

The ability to pivot is intrinsic to the decision-making culture, making it easier to adjust to current environments.

Trait #5: Activities are Focused on Delivery Value

Adaptive organizations are full of people who are willing to put themselves and their ideas second when someone of equal or lower position in the organization has a better idea. The entire enterprise quickly finds ways to support the idea for the sake of the organization’s growth and improvement.

Trait #6: Holistic Approach to Employees

Adaptive organizations understand and focus on developing a culture of cross-functional and collaborative roles and relationships among teams.

So what do you think? Do you recognize these traits in your organization? If you would like to learn more and identify how adaptive your organization is vis-à-vis these traits, but you’re not sure where to start when it comes to becoming adaptive, talk to us about taking the Transformation Navigator. Like other customers, you can also use the Navigator to keep your transformation on track, possibly save tens of thousands of dollars and provide data insights to keep your organization on the path to success.

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