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Agility In Business- The Tin Man



Being AGILE as a company is important because it allows us to adapt to the needs of the market, our clients, and our employees. The recent changes that COVID-19 put on businesses and the way companies could do business was a great test in agility. Companies and even employees who were not willing to be agile did not survive 18 plus months of strict restrictions and ever-changing customer demands. So, can we say that we are now agile if we survived the pandemic and came out a successful business? Maybe not…


Remember the ever-faithful childhood movie containing the Tin Man (representing the shutdown of factories during the depression) and Dorothy (representing nobility of Midwestern America) as she slowly adds oil to each joint allowing him to move slightly more and more as she works to help him? So, while we have added oil to the parts that needed more movement immediately, we may have neglected other parts in the stress of the moment. Some of those now neglected parts may be pieces of our business that we prided ourselves on being agile in the past, like employee satisfaction or on-time delivery. It is a fluid concept to keep agility a focus in a company because it affects so many areas of our business and is ever-changing. It is constantly affected by outside factors thus making it hard to control without diligent monitoring and unemotional oversight.

Here are a few statements that will give you the ability to check in on your company’s agility and if you need a little oil in certain places:


-Employee turnover rates are steady or declining even though there is a worker shortage.


-Employees feel empowered to make decisions in the best interest of the customer and/or company.


-Employee satisfaction surveys are sent on a regular basis so we get feedback we can utilize.


-Managers are trained to facilitate open idea discussions to get the best ideas out of our employee’s ideas and firsthand experiences working IN our company.


-Our clients willingly leave feedback, good and bad, along with referrals.


If you answered no to any of these questions (and there are plenty of others that can be asked in place of these), there may be a need to take a step back and work ON your business rather than reactively IN your business for a time to make sure that the current economic space is not causing you to make hasty decisions. They may not feel hasty right now, but hindsight is a real thing and while my reference to history earlier in this article alluded to, history does tend to repeat itself.


Economies are a cyclical thing, so we do it due diligence to lend a watchful eye where we can avoid unnecessary pitfalls before they happen.

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