In the business world, agility is king. Defined as the ability to respond to both internal and external stresses rapidly, one can see the results of lack of agility splattered on the business highway of the market place.
For example, Collective Campus io names 10 very popular businesses that failed to innovate and thus died on the vine, including:
A company that once employed nearly 85,000 employees and had over 9,000 stores but was unable to transition into the digital age.
A company that had success for many years but was unable to cope with the transition from film cameras to digital cameras.
- Toys R Us
Once America’s top-selling toy company, Toys R US relied on Amazon to expand it’s toy sales online, but Amazon soon began allowing other toy sellers to show up in it’s listing. Thus, the company never developed its own online digital presence and which led toward bankruptcy.
Borders was another company unable to successfully forge forward in the digital age. The company also took on too much debt and tried to sell eReaders way too late.
- Tower Records
A unique innovator in the day, Tower Records was not able to compete against iTunes, Spotify, Pandora, and music piracy.
- Compaq Computers
A world-leader in the computer business, and known for being the first company to legally reverse-engineer the IBM personal computer, the company disappeared in price wars with Dell and other PC makers.
- General Motors
Isn’t GM still operating? Yes, it is, but only after going through a major bankruptcy in 2009. A leader for over 100 years, analysts say that GM failed the first time by strenuously ignoring calls to innovate and modernize by customers.
Somewhat similar to Polaroid, Kodak was split-minded between its film business and digital photography. While it did invest millions into digital photography via phones, it refused to jump into stand-alone digital photography units and was soon dwarfed b Canon and other digital photography producers.
These are just a few examples of literally hundreds upon hundreds of companies that failed because they were unable to deal with change. And it keeps on coming. Notice the carnage and the chaos when over 600,000 airline passengers were stranded when British travel company Thomas Cook recently went bankrupt.
Analyst say the main reason is that Thomas Cook failed to adapt to the online travel experience via Expedia and others, and continued to rely on walk-in customers to their travel shops.
Can agility be taught?
Organizations that actually certify people to become Certified Agile Coaches and Certified team coaches say yes, the benefits of agile project coaching can be of tremendous value for a company or corporation.
One of the first benefits of agile project coaching is that the trainers and coaches evaluate the way power flows in the company. Traditionally, most organizations flow like a pyramid, where the power flows from the leaders atop, and then flows down to the base of the pyramid where the ordinary workers are.
Organizations have learned that such top-down power pyramids tend to be faulty, as each level of the pyramid only takes responsibility for their particular area, never for the entire project.
By teaching organizations to regrow into co-opted power centers with one another, the benefits of agile project analysis soon show real and timely, dollar-based improvements.
But by far, the best and most frequent benefit of agility training and coaching is reading the tea leaves into the future. Looking back, it’s very easy to see that Sears and other retailers are falling while Amazon keeps growing, because of the development of two-day (and even one-day) shipping. People are simply willing to wait two days for their purchase to arrive, rather than spend $6 dollars on gas, and an hour’s waiting through traffic, to buy a new blouse for $20.
Local retailers are simply not that important anymore when most things can be obtained online.
An agility coach or team can sift through the trends and business for a company and see if they are built on quicksand as advancements in technology and communication advance.
For example, take a major optical chain Eyemart Express, which sold nearly a quarter of a billion dollars worth of eyeglasses last year. Fantastic, right? One-hundred-fifty stores, 31 states. Thousands of employees? What happens when some brilliant computer tech figures out how to self-diagnose glasses over a computer? You can bet it will happen, and then 90 percent of all-optical chains will practically go out of business.
Consider contacting organizations such as Scrum Alliance.org today to have a certified agility trainer or coach, who will help evaluate your readiness and determine where your company should be heading in the future.