The key to business success could be agility

By Carole Burman, MAD-HR
How will we reflect on the learnings for our businesses as we look back over the pandemic-impacted period; how do you assess accomplishment under such unusual and exceptional circumstances?
Published in Norfolk Director Magazine, Summer 2021

Human Resources: MAD-HR

How can you compare the success of a business which kept every single member of their seven-person team employed, while not being in receipt of any government grants – to the company who profited out of their sector’s core service, or the one who received grant aid and was able to cover the bills until they could resume trading? For me, I think the measure is the business owner’s sheer agility. Frankly, we’ve all had to think and behave in the manner of an acrobatic entrepreneur, trying to find new ways of working, new clientele, new resources…and new levels of dedication and devotion.

Businesses adapt in different ways

The beauty of our work at MAD-HR, is that our team get to hear every day about the challenges being faced by our clients and how they are dealing with different circumstances, and what growing pains or victories they’re witnessing.

As we work in partnership with them, they have always talked openly, using us as a sounding board. However, this has intensified throughout the pandemic.

One minute, we were chatting to the Directors at Swiss Camplings, a commercial laundry, who had to respond immediately when the sectors it served were forced into closure. Then there was The Infusions Group. John Jackaman found his restaurant and many of his customers having to shut. So, ever agile, he launched an e-commerce shop, and bought an Airstream campervan, to be able to serve as a pop-up food outlet.

Even those with doors firmly closed were showing leadership agility – acting with purpose and flexibility, collaborating with different stakeholders, developing creative solutions, and continually learning and changing.

Janene Bush, who runs several hair salons, was certainly not about to be despondent, and instead to took on a refit of her premises and, using zoom, set her team a monthly wellbeing and creativity challenge to maintain a sense of camaraderie.

Of course, there’s nothing easy about staying agile in tough situations, but it does reap huge benefits. It’s key to maintaining an optimistic mindset, to aiding resilience, and to motivating you to get from A to B.

How do I ensure my business is agile?

Agility isn’t the most tangible business quality to measure, but it’s one we should all consider when planning for our next chapter or challenge. So, my suggestion would be to ask yourself the following:

  • Am I prepared for change and have I identified what change and challenge may lay ahead?
  • Do I have alternative strategies and solutions, and what resource might these require?
  • Are my team change-ready, and do I need to do more to embed that in my culture?
  • Do I encourage agility as a leader, and applaud it in others?

No matter if your agility over this last year was learning to work from home surrounded by two school aged children, three cats, and a dodgy Wi-Fi, or it was having to turn your factory into a COVID-safe environment, give yourself some credit for what you have achieved so far.

May the challenges ahead feel ever so slightly easier to navigate.

The key to business success could be agility 1

Carole Burman is the Founder and Managing Director of MAD-HR. For more information contact: T: 01603 791256 E:  Twitter:@wearemadhr

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