The Imperative of having an Agile Organization Structure

Brian Lucas begins this blog post with a quote from Jack Welch: “change before you have to.” That working philosophy is what gives the post its teeth: if you and your organization aren't willing to fit into the Agile mindset of doing business – emphasizing more fluidity and ability to move with competitors and changing customer demands. Lucas points out, however, that many surveys indicate executive managers believe they are not nearly Agile enough to take advantage of market swings. The latest decade of the 2000's has been the “Learning and Agile Strategy” phase of business, as Lucas explains: We are now in the Learning and Agile Strategy phase where businesses must change their structure fluidly in response to ever changing customer needs and market pressures. Jack Welch says in Straight from the Gut, “Change before you have to”. The need to precede market demands with organizational adaptability, which can anticipate those demands and meet them at the beginning of a cycle, is the difference between enterprise success or business failure. The market turbulence of the last 5 years has clearly shown the influence of globalization and volatility which will remain constant for the foreseeable future. Even with a rebuilding economy, the underlying fluctuations in commodities, currency rates, energy and the emergence of a vast array of new and non-traditional competitors will constantly challenge traditional business and operating models making them obsolete. He goes on to explain that a lattice organization – while a “radical departure” from traditional structures – leads to a business being able to inherently be agile. A lattice organization has no fixed or assigned authority, sponsors instead of bosses, and objectives set by those who must make things happen, among other principles. Shifting to a lattice organization can be the first step – and sometimes the final step – in facing the new business environment head on.

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