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The difference between adaptability and agility

by jcp gbaf

Believe it or not, we’re no longer tied to our desks, hooked up to our workspace via wires and telephone lines. The world of work is transforming, and smart businesses are making sure they’re ahead of the curve. If business is booming, your staff are working tirelessly and phones are ringing off the hook, you might not notice a problem. But, before you know it, your old-fashioned way of working will be overtaken by swift, forward-thinking competitors, and, if 2021 showed us anything, it’s that an ability to adapt is invaluable. The world around us isn’t static – it’s constantly evolving, and businesses must learn to change with the times

Here, Matt Parker, CEO of Babble, explains the inherent differences between adaptability and agility and why both are vital.

Agile working connects people to technology that helps to improve effectiveness and productivity. Therefore, agility is defined by the way a business proactively evolves in order to thrive. Agility allows a business to realise its full potential through implementing new systems. As technology evolves and the way we work changes, businesses can’t just stand still. Continuing a way of working because “this is how we’ve always done it” will get mediocre results and hinder a business’s progress.

For example, a company that embraced agile working is Aquavista. The leading leisure and mooring supplier that needed to implement a scalable cloud technology solution that would align to its rapid growth. To enable employees to operate efficiently and remotely, Babble deployed a fibre grade connection and a hosted telephony platform. These solutions facilitated agile working, reduced operational downtime, boosted productivity and ultimately enhanced customer experience.

Adaptability, however, is a business’s ability to respond to these changes. Businesses must recognise the importance of both of these competencies. It’s how prepared a business is to change or evolve its practices to overcome challenges or align with environmental changes. Businesses should be able to adapt to new changes in a productive, positive way – with company culture emerging unscathed and business processes improved as a result. Maintaining business effectiveness through times of change will ensure a business can thrive, no matter what life throws at it.

Whilst “agile working” in a software development sense isn’t wholly aligned with the term used when discussing business, there are some shared principles and key takeaways. Fundamentally, viewing change positively and approaching new processes with flexibility helps businesses adapt. Improving internal processes benefits the business, its staff and ultimately customers as the service provided is more effective.

Businesses need a unified vision and passionate leaders to ensure agile adoption. Problem solving with a positive, productive mindset will ensure successful agile transformation. It’s all about understanding what currently works but being open to exploring what could work better.

Businesses must be both agile and adaptable in order to weather new storms and safeguard its future. However, achieving agility and adaptability is a fine balancing act. Constantly striving for change without strategic rationale may cause a business to flounder. You should always aim for the final goal, with a strong end result in mind and a clear idea of how you’re going to get there.

Implementing change within a business can be a challenge. It’s true that leaders can sometimes be too close to their own operational processes to be able to clearly see better ways to work, but partnering with a specialist such as Babble offers a unique advantage.

Flexible, scalable solutions ensure that a business can adapt to new challenges or changes in circumstance. As we’ve seen from the COVID-19 pandemic, there’ll be times when businesses must adapt to new ways of working almost overnight. Think ahead by utilising an optimised network and deploying cloud-based communication tools to allow your business to work in an agile way. This results in maximum efficiency, maximum benefit to your customers and maximum business productivity.

Being agile requires business leaders to identify change and understand how it could impact the business. Seeking new opportunities and deploying the resources needed to secure these opportunities futureproofs a business and helps it succeed. Although it’s worth noting that there’s no set formula for agile working. Businesses can’t follow a ‘how to’ guide for agility. Every business has its own way of working; its own processes. Identifying where there’s need for change is unique across each business. However, ultimately, businesses that don’t adopt agile working will stagnate as proactive, forward-thinking competitors take the lead. Don’t just wait for new ways of working to become a necessity – take the initiative now.

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