HR Leads Business

Apr 27, 2018 | Tim Lemke, HRCI Staff Writer

HRCI Webinar Recap: What’s the Agility Shift All About?

Does your organization view challenges as opportunities? Does it effectively balance stability with flexibility? In short, is it agile?

In a HR Certificate Institute® (HRCI®)-hosted webinar, Pamela Meyer, author of The Agility Shift, examines ways for organizations to think and move faster, and act with an entrepreneurial spirit. She joins with leaders from T-Mobile including Melissa Davis, director of organizational development and learning and development, and Melissa Lanier, director of leadership development and talent management.

View the HRCI webinar replay: The Agility Shift: Best People Practices to Create a More Agile and Competitive Organization. HRCI credential holders can receive one business credit for registering and viewing the webinar.

What is The Agility Shift? Here’s a look at our key takeaways from the webinar.

It’s About Responsiveness

T-Mobile in 2016 launched a loyalty program that provided customers with a code to receive a free Domino’s Pizza. The response was overwhelming. Early in the promotion, stores ran out of pizza and by the end of one week, Domino’s withdrew from the arrangement.

T-Mobile officials quickly worked with the marketing team to change the promotion so customers would still be rewarded. Customer service teams at T-Mobile were alerted to the issue so they could respond to customer inquiries.

“We had to make sure everyone across our 55,000 employees were clear on how to respond to this definitely unexpected and pretty critical situation for us at the time,” Lanier says. “This is an example of things that you can do and do effectively when you’re dealing with an organization that practice agility.”

It’s About Resilience

Truly agile organizations find a way to stay on track even when things go wrong. In fact, the Agility Shift calls for organizations to view challenges as opportunities.

According to an HRCI poll of 77 HR professionals, 60 percent of respondents said they are not confident in their organization’s ability to stay positive and on track when a challenge hits.

“We know those opportunities will hit, and we need to be more effective,” Meyer says.

Lanier says T-Mobile was drawn to The Agility Shift approach because it focused less on how to make change and more on how to respond to change from the outside.

“People didn’t need to know how to drive change. They didn’t need another eight-step model. They just needed to understand how to plan for the unexpected and be resilient in the face of change that they were not necessarily the source of,” Lanier says.

It’s About Resourcefulness

In an ideal world, your organization has all of the resources it needs to carry out its goals. But that’s unlikely. Sometimes you need to just do the best with what you have.

“It’s our ability to make optimal use of available resources,” Meyer says.

It’s About Balance

HR managers tend to place a lot of their focus on practices that ensure stability. This has its place, but it must be counteracted by flexibility, creativity and innovation. Moreover, HR managers should seek to explore new ways to solve problems and work through challenges, rather than relying on the same old practices.

“We must have enough stability to sustain performance, but enough flexibility to respond to challenges and opportunities effectively,” Meyer says.

It’s About Reflection

Even if your organization has embraced all of the key aspects of the Agility Shift you’ll never succeed over the long haul if you don’t learn the lessons of experience and intentionally carry those forward. Organizations and their leaders must “consistently be reflective,” Meyer says.

“This is where a lot of organizations, leaders and teams struggle.”

It’s About Relationships

An agile workplace doesn’t just form itself. Ultimately, organizations are made up of people, and the agility mindset relies on individuals to trust and leverage those they work with. This can guide an organization on everything from how teams are structured to even how to design an office space.

“We were looking for something that really resonated with the T-Mobile culture,” Lanier says. “The thing about Agility Shift that made so much sense for us was the focus on relationships. T-Mobile is an incredibly relationship-driven culture, and there is a strong thread in the Agility Shift about building your relationship web and using your network of those people and resources. And that is truly how work gets done here.”

It’s About Improving Results

Ultimately, there is evidence that firms with an agile mindset are more successful in reaching their goals.

MIT’s Sloan School of Management noted that agile firms grew revenue 37 percent faster than those labeled as “non-agile.” They also had 30 percent higher profits.

“Even if you could generate a percentage of those returns, it certainly makes sense to elevate agility to a key strategic priority,” Meyer says.