4 Ways Disruption Can Inspire Your Team to Be More Agile

If you are exhausted by all the disruption happening around the world, you are not alone. Leaders from companies around the globe are grappling with how to best navigate the current hurricane force winds of change. Those who move the fastest have a competitive edge.1 

Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff said at Davos in 2016 that “speed is the new currency of business, predicting that only those agile enough to transform their teams to meet this new demand would survive. The many crises shaping 2020 have only increased this need for speed.  

Agility drives a number of benefits from faster decision-making and market penetration to increased profits and higher customer satisfaction. Yet while 92% of global organizations believe that organizational agility is critical to business success, only 27% consider their companies highly agile.2 

Strengthening that agility muscle requires companies to re-evaluate their talent strategies to ensure that teams are aligned and ready to achieve results even in the face of disruption. Here are four ways to prepare your workforce to do just that. 

Create Shared Vision for Transformation 
Years ago, Google conducted an experiment to see if the company could succeed without managers. It failed miserably. Within months, the company learned that without leaders, employees were left searching for answers and lacking a clear vision for how their work connects to the big picture. As a result of that disruption, Google developed their “Eight Habits of Highly Effective Good Managers,” and one key element was the importance of developing a shared vision for teams.3 

By creating that shared vision, agile leaders ensure that everyone’s work feeds into a singular mission and employees are inspired to work towards it with passion and solidarity. 

Takeaway: Companies need to coach employees so that they understand the shared vision their company is trying to achieve and their role in helping to accomplish it. 

Cultivate Talent Treasures  
Even if leaders lay out a compelling vision, they will have a difficult time achieving success without high-performing teams to make it a reality. 

When TomTom, global leader in navigation, decided to pivot from creating GPS devices to providing embedded mobility solutions, their transformation had implications across the organization. This required different types of leadership from engineers to software developers with extensive machine learning skills.  

TomTom partnered with ManpowerGroup’s Right Management to help assess over 750 managers for leadership potential in 35 different countries. By leveraging leader assessment, TomTom was able to determine who had the highest potential and provide the right skills coaching to overcome generational differences and work styles. “We felt it was imperative to help our leadership transform with new ways of leading their people....and this really helped us uncover hidden treasures within our company,” said TomTom’s Chief HR Officer Arne-Christian Van Der Tang. 

Takeaway: Make the investment in finding the hidden leadership gems in your organization and provide the right coaching to keep them engaged and productive. 

Align People & Innovation  
Tesla, considered one of the world’s great innovatorsshattered industry paradigms with its game-changing electric cars. But it’s facing some well-documented struggles on the people front as leaders exit and the company continues to face production issues, low morale and layoffs. It’s a stark reminder that agile companies recognize that fostering disruptive innovation needs to align with optimizing talent. This is where coaching would be beneficial to encourage more collaboration as well as transparency among team members. It could also help identify skills and competency gaps and help Tesla maximize what it’s good at - innovation - while building up more of what the company needs including process and stability.4 

Takeaway:  Even if you have the most innovative product in the world, if you don’t engage a ‘talent first’ strategy which aligns culture with innovation, you are going to run into roadblocks. 

Empower Problem Solvers 
For years, ‘fail fast’ was a mantra at many tech companies to encourage risk-taking that could lead to the next great discovery with useful lessons in the process. But recent research finds that empowered teams -- and adept questioning – lead to faster problem solving and better outcomes.5  Amazon, the world’s leading online retailer, gets this right by incorporating their motto “make employees think like owners” and encouraging small ‘two-pizza’ teams of 6-8 people. This leads to faster and smarter decision-making even during the most disruptive of times. All of this is supported through a strong coaching system that supports team members when they run into challenges.6 

Takeaway:  Agile teams enable more autonomous problem-solvers who are prepared to take responsibility for their decisions. 

Need more agility in your workforce? RightCoach™ is a virtual on-demand coaching solution that helps leadership ensure workforce readiness of team members and builds agility boosting skills so employees can better respond to the next major challenge. 

For more insights on how RightCoach™ can benefit your business, visit Right.com


[1] https://www.accenture.com/us-en/insights/competitive-agility-index
[2] Forbes Insights and the Project Management Institute, “Achieving Greater Agility: The Essential Influence of the C-Suite
[3] https://www.inc.com/michael-schneider/google-helps-its-managers-create-a-team-vision-with-this-simple-5-step-formula.html
[4] https://www.predictiveindex.com/blog/this-is-why-tesla-needs-talent-optimization/
[5] https://mitsloan.mit.edu/ideas-made-to-matter/forget-fail-fast-heres-how-to-truly-master-digital-innovation
[6] https://chiefmartec.com/2019/07/want-innovate-like-amazon-heres-formula/

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