Agility Needs To Be Seen In Everyone At An Enterprise (And Not Just In The People Running It)
Agility in entrepreneurs (and in the enterprises they run) is something we at Entrepreneur Middle East have always celebrated, and so, I admit to have been a little taken aback when I recently got to see first-hand how certain organizations, which I had thought of as being ahead of the game thanks to the visionary ideas of their leaders, were (at least in the instances that I got to work with them) actually grossly inefficient, and, well, bogged down by a steadfast adherence to inanities in the name of processes.
Now, before all of you manager-types come at me with a “processes are there for a reason” lecture, let me assure you that I respect rules that allow for people at a company to be effective and efficient- but that doesn’t mean your employees are to blindly follow bullet points off a list for no other reason than, well, because “that’s the way we do it,” or, worse, because “that’s the way it has always been done.”
The curious thing about the organizations where I spotted these flaws was the disparity between the almost idealistic paradigms the company’s leaders told the media they run their enterprises with, versus what was actually happening on the ground.
Sure, every business leader out there wants to present the best versions of themselves and their companies to the world, and this is especially true of entrepreneurs whose startups are, more often than not, a lot more chaotic than they are made out to be.
But when an organization’s flaws come across rather blatantly in the publicfacing areas of the business –be it customer service, HR, or, yes, even media relations- then this disconnect between the company’s leadership and its employees calls for further scrutiny.
After all, the idea of being agile, taking ownership of what one does, and doing things the best way they can be done is not something that’s restricted to the C-suite of an organization- it needs to be translated across all layers of the company.
As the leader of the enterprise, when inconsistencies within your organization are brought to your attention, it falls upon you, as the captain of the ship, to ask some tough questions of yourself, and how you manage your people and your business.
For instance: are you expecting your people to be simply servient and just going through the motions, or can you depend on them to do their work in the most efficient and effective way they can? When they see a fault in the way things are done, do your staff feel empowered enough to call out such mistakes, and perhaps more importantly, are their voices being heard? In terms of organizational structure, are the chains of command you have in place helping move the company forward, or are they simply dead weight dragging it down?
Now, yes, all of these are difficult things to ponder upon, but as we usher in a new year, it’s well worth our time now to make sure our enterprises are well-equipped for all of the opportunities (and challenges) that the future will bring.
And entrepreneurs, please, remember that it’s okay to find (or be shown) flaws within your organization- what’s not okay is to let them remain as such.
Make change happen in 2018!
Aby Sam Thomas is the Editor in Chief of Entrepreneur Middle East. In this role, Aby is responsible for leading the publication on its editorial front, while also working to build the brand and grow its presence across the MENA region through the development and execution of events and other programming, as well as through representation in conferences, media, etc.
Aby has been working in journalism since 2011, prior to which he was an analyst programmer with Accenture, where he worked with J. P. Morgan Chase's investment banking arm at offices in Mumbai, London, and New York. He holds a Master's Degree in Journalism from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in New York.