Agility: Adaptability in a Changing Age

Agility: Adaptability in a Changing Age

Image result for business agility images

In the early 1990s, a study was conducted by Ken Preiss, Steve Goldman, and Dr. Roger Nagel. They determined what high-performing companies were doing. This enabled them to be leaders in their industries. And it allowed them to stand head and shoulders above their competition. They found four characteristics shared by successful companies, which they termed “Agility.” The key is adaptability in a changing age. These are:

1. Mastering change and uncertainty by reacting quickly to business changes. Change is inevitable, especially in business. Not too long ago, many of us went to Blockbuster Video to rent movies that we watched in the privacy of our homes. Blockbuster’s stores were everywhere.  Despite some competition from smaller chains or mom-and-pop rentals, they dominated the marketplace.

Out of nowhere, a firm named Netflix became the top rental company. Using the postal service and the internet, they offered us the ability to select and watch a movie. All, without leaving our home. We didn’t have to travel to the store only to find that the movie we wanted wasn’t available. We also didn’t have to watch the movie we rented within a day and then hurry it back to the store or face late charges. We could take our time watching our film at our convenience. Blockbuster’s business declined until they were no more.

2. Enriching customers by providing solutions and not just products. Successful companies provide a service element along with their products. Imagine if Apple only sold computers, phones and iPads. A large part of their business is derived from music, apps, Icloud, Siri, and many other services.

Their services business brought in over $10.9 billion during the most recent quarter. Apple is on track to double its services business from 2016 to 2020. Services bring in more revenue per quarter, than the Mac iPad, and the Accessories” group of products.

3. Cooperating with other businesses to enhance competitiveness. Many companies believe they are already doing this. But, they are not doing what Nagel, Preiss and Goldman described. What they saw were companies that had a virtual relationship with other entities. They are not bound only by a contract (An arm’s length relationship). They share what is confidential information with their business partners.

Nike, one of the largest sellers of athletic equipment and apparel, does not manufacture anything. They have a close network of companies that provide these items to them. These partners know when new items will be added and old items discontinued. They are a virtual part of the organization. This is adaptability in a changing age.

4. Leveraging the skills of the employees. Many companies feel that by encouraging training of employees they are meeting this principle. They are wrong. Top performing companies not only provided training. They require that their employees are trained in the latest business techniques and methodologies. By staying current, they are ahead of the business curve. And they will not go the way of Bethlehem Steel, Blockbuster Video, or Compaq.

One of the companies I have worked with established itself as a leading contract manufacturer. They dealt with a variety of companies. They either took their formulas or developed formulas for them. They worked with products such as:

  • Air fresheners
  • Bath and shower items
  • Cleaners
  • Skin and sun care.

They could produce in large or small quantities on very short notice. They were dependable and highly regarded by their clients.

The owners felt that there was another opportunity for them. It had nothing to do with manufacturing. By also warehousing their clients’ products, taking orders and shipping the goods for them, they would then be a one-stop-shop. They would then provide a complete service at an extremely affordable price.

This was a big new venture for them as it was not in their area of expertise.

They needed to set up the physical operation. They also had to hire and develop the manpower to operate it. and, they had to establish market-friendly price points for this service. My company and I were selected to help them.

We accepted the challenge and worked with them to define the strategy for the new business. This meant establishing what was immediately needed. We then covered how they would expand over the next three to five years. They were dealing with many unknowns such as:

  • How many customers they would service
  • The number of products each would require
  • The storage volumes needed
  • How to best store them

There was a lot of crystal balling (Predicting what the numbers would be).

An initial plan was developed. A layout was created that allowed for an initial operation. It also accommodated for future growth. Equipment was defined and ordered. The picking operation was defined and product arranged and stored.

A study was completed with a company that was already in a fulfillment business. From them we determined what charges could be made to clients based on storing, picking and shipping products. The company absorbed this information and transformed it into their new business.


They were practicing adaptability in a changing age.

This is what Agility is all about. It demonstrates adaptability in a changing age by recognizing the new needs of clients and fulfilling these. It keeps companies from being one-note or dinosaurs. This company definitely covered:

  • Mastering change and uncertainty by reacting quickly to business changes.
  • Enriching customers by providing solutions and not just products.

They are a true success story and will continue to look for new ways to better serve their clients.

Image result for business agility images

Age is not and should not be a liability for a company.

It is not a dinosaur that suddenly becomes extinct. It takes hard work and determination to deal with the maze of issues that an organization faces daily.  American agricultural economist Theodore William Schultz, whose influential studies of the role of “human capital” in economic development, won him a share of the 1979 Nobel Prize for Economics, once said: “If you don’t grow you die.” This statement describes what successful businesses must do.

For a company to do this, it must continue to gather and develop talent to fulfill its ongoing mission. I worked for a large corporation whose founder died shortly after I started my employment there. A colleague took me aside that day and showed me the company’s American flag hanging at half-staff. He said to me that despite the founder’s passing, the company would go on. It left me with two impressions:

  • The first; No one is indispensable.
  • The second;  To thrive and grow is everyone’s responsibility.

We are all caretakers of the positions we fill and the roles we play in an organization. It is our responsibility to do the best we can while we are there. We are to make things better for not only the present, but for those who will come in the future. To do anything less is selfish and self-serving. And, it often produces short-lived success, but seldom a long-term one.

It is not reasonable to expect that everyone in an organization has the same value or drive. That goes back to the three groups with varying levels of motivation and commitment. They are:

  • The 20% who need no prompting in order to get things done.
  • The 60% who wait to see how their efforts are or aren’t rewarded.
  • The bottom 20% who won’t take any initiative no matter what incentives are given to do so.

By encouraging and rewarding the top group — those highly motivated and productive — we incentivize the middle group to also participate. That is being Agile. It is also reinforcing Continuous Improvement, something that happens every day forever. Companies that continue these practices will be successful. They will continue to grow and prosper. I have experienced it first-hand and know that it works. Those who do not remain agile and improve continuously will stagnate and ultimately fall by the wayside. Those who do are exhibiting adaptability in a changing age.

66 thoughts on “Agility: Adaptability in a Changing Age”

  1. I thought it was going to be some rehashed old information, but Im glad I visited. I will post a link to this site on my website. My visitors will find this information very useful.

  2. Hey, your blog is very interesting.. Plus it was something I can definitely relate to Ill constantly visit to your blog therefore i hope you continue making fun and interesting posts exactly like it ^_^

  3. It’s in reality a nice and helpful piece of information. I’m satisfied that you shared this useful info with us.
    Please keep us up to date like this. Thank you for sharing.

    Also visit my web-site – best kratom

  4. Im happy I found this weblog, I couldnt discover any data on this topic matter prior to. I also run a site and if you want to ever serious in a little bit of guest writing for me if achievable really feel free to let me know, im always appear for people to examine out my site. Please stop by and leave a comment sometime!

  5. That is really fascinating, You are an overly professional blogger. I’ve joined your feed and sit up for seeking more of your great post. Additionally, I have shared your website in my social networks

  6. I want to say your blog is almost amazing. I always like to learn something new about this because I have the similar blog in my Country on this subject so this help´s me a lot. I did a search on the subject and found a good number of blogs but nothing like this.Thanks for sharing so much in your blog.. Greets, Ana

  7. I guess you have made some really interesting points. Not too many ppl would really think about this the direction you just did. I am really impressed that there is so much about this subject that has been revealed and you made it so nicely, with so considerably class. Brilliant one, man! Truly great things right here.

    1. So glad you stumbled upon the site and that you enjoy it. Working on next blog right now and more to come. Stay tuned.

  8. Have you ever thought about adding a little bit more than just your
    articles? I mean, what you say is valuable and everything.
    However just imagine if you added some great graphics or videos to give your posts more, “pop”!
    Your content is excellent but with images and video clips, this site could
    certainly be one of the greatest in its field.
    Very good blog!

    Feel free to surf to my site :: heraldnet

    1. I appreciate the recommendation. The site was primarily created to promote my books. In that regard it is really structured that way. I will consider what you are saying as I have a number of podcasts that could be added. Thank you for your advice. Much appreciated.

  9. I like how you manage to communicate your opinion effectively while keeping the content simple to understand for anyone regardless of his knowledge on the subject.

  10. Its Pleasure to realize your blog.The above articles is relatively extraordinary, and I extremely enjoyed reading your blog and points that you expressed. I incredibly like to glimpse back on a typical basis,post additional during the topic.Thanks for sharingkeep writing!!!

  11. Have you ever thought about publishing an ebook or guest authoring on other websites? I have a blog based on the same topics you discuss and would love to have you share some stories/information. I know my audience would value your work. If you are even remotely interested, feel free to send me an e-mail.

  12. Undeniably believe that which you stated. Your favorite reason seemed to be on the internet the simplest thing to be aware of. I say to you, I definitely get annoyed while people think about worries that they just dont know about. You managed to hit the nail upon the top and defined out the whole thing without having side effect , people could take a signal. Will likely be back to get more. Thanks

    1. Glad you are enjoying my articles. Much appreciated. Not sure what you are referring to regarding suggestions. Please elaborate.

  13. Beautiful and even precise in fact. I for instance the content understanding in home-page. Also the several options designed for blog and even full-width sites. Looks like this is usually a great area for young adults.

  14. Hi would you mind sharing which blog platform you’re working with?
    I’m looking to start my own blog in the near future but
    I’m having a difficult time deciding between BlogEngine/Wordpress/B2evolution and
    Drupal. The reason I ask is because your design and style seems different
    then most blogs and I’m looking for something completely unique.
    P.S Sorry for being off-topic but I had to ask!

    Also visit my web blog … delta 8 vape cartridge

  15. This is really interesting, You’re a very skilled blogger.
    I have joined your rss feed and look forward to
    seeking more of your excellent post. Also, I have shared your web site in my social networks!

    My page :: can i give a child cbd gummies (

  16. This definitely be the next preference. You are perfect, theme team. I Really enjoy the system, fonts along with the perfect subject. Thanks for a great valuable project. Great work! Keep up the ultra do the webjob!

  17. I think youve created some truly interesting points. Not as well many people would actually think about this the way you just did. Im genuinely impressed that theres so much about this topic thats been uncovered and you did it so nicely, with so considerably class. Excellent one you, man! Really terrific stuff right here.

  18. Greetings from Carolina! I’m bored to death at work so I decided to check out your blog on my iphone during lunch break. I enjoy the knowledge you present here and can’t wait to take a look when I get home. I’m amazed at how quick your blog loaded on my phone .. I’m not even using WIFI, just 3G .. Anyways, fantastic site!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *