Between rising prices, an unpredictable labor market and the looming threat of a global recession, a constantly changing business environment is the norm for companies operating today. While it’s impossible to predict what obstacles will appear next, cultivating a team that can handle anything that is thrown at them is essential to overcoming challenges.
Below, 13 Forbes Business Council members offer advice on specific actions leaders can take to ensure their teams are staying agile and adaptable in an ever-changing business environment.
1. Put In Adjustable Frameworks
Every leader must have a framework in place that will provide guidance for their teams in a changing environment. A framework empowers team members to advance the mission of the organization while also adapting to internal and external changes. Leaders must also encourage and demonstrate a learning mindset to ensure their teams are adaptable to evolving circumstances. – Kent Ingle, Southeastern University
2. Encourage Continuous Learning
Encourage your team to stay up to date on industry trends, technology and training. Then, have each member share what they’ve learned with the rest of your team. Utilize tools like ChatGPT to push your team to innovate and explain difficult topics or approaches to a problem you are facing. – Tyler Weitzman, Speechify
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3. Create A Culture That Welcomes Creativity And Diversity
Leaders have the ability to create and nurture a team culture that’s creative and diverse. Doing so will enable employees to have the freedom to explore and learn in order to improve personal growth within the work environment. Leaders can also create a reward system that reinforces and rewards team members for showing initiative, further encouraging a more entrepreneurial approach. – Dani Stephenson, Straight Forward Music Group
4. Encourage Change Acceptance
Lower the perceived psychological risk of change. Companies get caught up in status quo bias where employees secretly fear change rather than embrace agility. Agility is seen as scary compared to the comfort of known processes and systems. Articulate the lost opportunities of a fixed yesterday’s mindset and reassure teams that the imagined worst state results from limited agility, not change. – Nuala Walsh, MindEquity
5. Be Clear On Expectations
Clarity of agile and adaptable expectations are a must. In some cases, this is a willingness to shift skills and knowledge to employ new tools and approaches. In some cases, this is a shift in how that work is done. In other cases, this is agility in culture evolution and the very expectations of work and team. A focus on where agility is needed will help a team continue to rise to the occasion. – Lowell Aplebaum, Vista Cova
6. Actively Support Learning And Experimentation
Leaders can keep their teams agile and adaptable in an ever-changing business environment by creating an environment that supports learning and experimentation and encourages employees to take risks. Additionally, by promoting open communication and collaboration across departments, leaders can foster a sense of teamwork that empowers employees to adapt quickly to new challenges and opportunities. – Sabrina Graf, Heartbeat Consulting
7. Promote A Growth Mindset
Having a growth mindset within the team is the key here. Encourage your team members to share interesting content, as this can help the whole team to learn something new. Share industry news, interesting blog posts and emerging new ideas. The more people get involved in these knowledge share activities, the more agile and adaptable the team will become. – Aslak de Silva, Selfly Store
8. Lead By Example
Leaders need to set the tone. Leaders that are stuck in the past and dedicated to always doing things the same way are not true leaders. Having an open mind is the key to innovating. There’s no innovation without risk, and team leaders that don’t take risks create a culture that fears trying something new, killing innovation. Learning from the past and then disrupting is the only way forward. – Valter Klug Filho, Samba Rock Marketing Consulting LLC
9. Monitor KPIs
The business world, like a river, constantly flows. A company stays agile when leaders are responsible for monitoring key KPIs and engaging staff to review them and propose new paths to success. The KPIs must go beyond the traditional snapshots of sales, revenue, performance and retention. They should focus on trends in and outside the company. For instance, look at how other firms are using generative AI. – Jerry Cahn, Age Brilliantly
10. Ask For Feedback
Measure, gather input and then refine. You can’t make decisions on anecdotal evidence alone, so be sure to measure these processes. Pair the results with input from teams who are supposed to be agile, then ask them how they’d like to implement change. Letting these teams own the changes that will directly impact them is a great way to keep them comfortable. – Ty Allen, SocialClimb
11. Nurture Intrinsic Motivation
It all comes down to motivation. I believe no amount of meetings and training can “invigorate” a team that feels tired, underappreciated or simply unmotivated. If the workplace culture is nurturing with open communication encouraged and if work relationships are based on trust and understanding, that team spirit will promote agility and adaptability, minimizing the risks of quiet quitting. – Sal Pazhoor, Naztec International Group LLC
12. Provide Opportunities For Personal And Professional Development
Regular training, mentoring and coaching sessions across a wide range of disciplines can assist in both personal and professional development for each team member. The agility and adaptability of the team is strengthened by ensuring that staff members have continuous access to a pool of educational resources and by fostering a work culture that thrives on collaboration. – Ryan Godinho, Specialty Batch Coffee & Stomping Grounds
13. Embrace Mistakes, Risks And Change
Leaders should ensure that their teams remain agile and adaptable by learning from mistakes, taking risks and embracing change. As the aphorism goes, “It’s not enough to be flexible—you have to be willing to bend.” This holds true for businesses too: Only through embracing change can teams truly stay agile and become resilient in uncertain times. – Ashley Saye, Daily Rays Inc.
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