Why Agility Is Important

We all know that business in the 21st century is different from what it was in the 20th century. In the 20th century, competitive advantage was based on economies of scale, hierarchy, and control. In the 21st century, competitive advantage is based on a more entrepreneurial mindset.

The key to sustained competitive advantage in today’s volatile business environment is the ability to manage complex networks of resources and relationships capable of taking advantage of short-lived opportunities. This requires a fine balance between operational efficiency and strategic agility.

Agility is defined by the Agility Forum as “the ability to function and compete within a state of dynamic, continuous and often unanticipated change”.

According to emeritus Harvard professor, John P. Kotter, most well-established companies are “optimized much more for efficiency than strategic agility,” and the “hierarchical structures and organizational processes that we have used for decades to run and improve our enterprises are no longer up to the task of winning in this faster-moving world.”

According to Werder (2021), agility is critical for organisations on their quest toward sustained competitive advantage and “the COVID-19 pandemic has shown that organizational agility is more important for organizational survival than ever before” (p. 93).

Agility is important and while it takes some time and effort to develop organisational agility, failing to do so comes with much greater risks and costs.

Steve Barlow
Author: Steve Barlow

Steve heads up The Change Gym. He is a change readiness specialist. You can contact him at steve@thechangegym.com.