We live in a world of constant change -- globalization, automation, artificial intelligence, and machine learning are rapidly transforming industries. Corporate departments are evolving to be more cross-functional, and the pace of work and information sharing is faster than ever before. \nOrganizations need to not only adapt to this change, but also harness it as an opportunity to quickly meet market and customer demands and \u201cout change\u201d the competition.\nTherein lies the need for organizational agility. \nWhile varying definitions of \u201cagility\u201d exist, a report published by McKinsey & Company defines it as an organization\u2019s ability to \u201crenew itself, adapt, change quickly \u2026\u201d and then thrive in an environment characterized by rapid change, ambiguity, and turbulence.\nThe report stresses that agility and stability are not incompatible; in fact, organizational agility requires stability. Becoming agile doesn\u2019t mean throwing out all the structures and processes you\u2019ve worked hard to build and refine -- hang onto those. What your organization will need is a higher degree of flexibility at every phase\u2014from concept to execution.\nHere\u2019s an illustration: Imagine that your colleagues are playing a basketball game on top of a high rise -- with no barriers in place between you and a 300 foot free-fall. Would you remain agile and open to taking risks? Not likely! In fact, you\u2019d be more likely to play harder and faster if you knew there were some boundaries in place.\nIn an agile organization, there are processes and structures in place that provide stability and consistency, while allowing the speed and flexibility to move around \u201cfull court\u201d for competitive advantage.\nTo reshape your organization to be more agile, start by focusing on three key areas: people, structure, and process.\n\n \u00a0People: Recruit a flexible, dynamic team\n\nIf increasing organizational agility is your goal, human resources is a good place to start, according to an article in the Harvard Business Review.\nSimply put, most job requisitions and traditional recruitment methods don\u2019t support organizational agility. Why? Because they optimize for hiring specific, narrow skill sets mapping to a discipline-specific silo (the marketing team, engineering team, design team, etc.).\nA style of hiring that helps increase agility, according to the article, forgoes a skills checklist and instead seeks candidates who are creative, collaborative, and curious - and don\u2019t easily fit into a box.\n\u201cThese are the generalists with an entrepreneurial spirit,\u201d HBR writes, \u00a0\u00a0\u201c\u2026 the multi-faceted tinkerers who have specialized in a discipline like design but turn out to be pretty good coders.\u201d\nBy taking this approach, organizations build a flexible, dynamic team that can quickly shift as changes occur to work or business priorities.\n\n Structure: A framework for informed decisions\n\nOne \u00a0common approach to improving organizational agility: remove layers of complexity that slow down the business, and empower employees\u2014at all levels\u2014to make informed decisions.\nSteve Denning, author of the Leader\u2019s Guide to Radical Management, believes rethinking the role of manager is a critical first step towards organizational agility. He contrasts the roles of a traditional manager and a manager in a more agile organization as follows:\nTraditionally, a manager\u2019s job was to determine what needs to be done, assign employees accordingly, and then make sure the instructions are followed. A manager in an agile organization, on the other hand, clearly communicates shared objectives and metrics, then encourages team members\u2014especially those on the front lines with customers\u2014to make informed decisions about what needs to be done, and how -- and to regularly seek improvements.\nThis approach removes the hierarchy that typically slows down an organization. However, this is only effective if there is process in place for making sure the right information is visible to those with decision-making authority -- and also, critically, a way to communicate progress and insights back up the leadership chain.\n\n\u00a0Process: Establishing scalable systems to drive visibility and information-sharing\n\nStartups have a reputation for being agile, but they often suffer growing pains when a lack of process breeds chaotic workstreams and lack of accountability. Large, established companies are often on the other end of the spectrum\u2014they have structures and processes in place, but have difficulty being flexible enough \u00a0to quickly adapt to customer and market demands. \nTo master agility, organizations need to have core processes and systems in place that support the free flow of information, collaboration, accountability, and quick decision making, among other things. \nThese should evolve with the organization and strike a balance between agility and stability. \u00a0They should also foster a culture of collaboration and learning, and change leadership from \u201ccommand-and-control\u201d to a combination of \u201ctop-down\u201d and \u201cbottom-up.\u201d\nAs with everything, organizations should experiment in these three areas and build additional successes around what works best for their culture and organization.\nLearn more about how Smartsheet can empower teams to execute with speed and accountability\u2014and make better decisions, faster.