How to Achieve Business Agility: These Four Shifts in Mindset Are a Must

Entrepreneurial skills are in vogue today. Management consultants market the agile methodology as a tonic to ward off agile opponents, a vaccine containing interruptions from COVID-19 or simply a panacea for anything that affects your business.

But acquiring entrepreneurial skills is more difficult than training some team members as scrum experts and implementing day-to-day standups. All levels of your organization – employees, middle managers and perhaps the most important of top management – need to change their perceptions and behaviors in four fundamental ways.

Change 1: from results oriented to results oriented

Let’s face it, most marketing departments and agencies are content and advertising factories. They send emails, blog posts, advertisements, web pages and other promotional materials, as a montage. Then, they justify all activities with vanity metrics: open email, blog traffic, ad reach and frequency, web page views and more.

But this approach requires the following questions:

  • Do customers want more marketing noise?
  • Who cares about the business side?
  • Who cares about vanity statistics?

Marketers and other team members who want to be more than just a support function for their core businesses must focus on results: sales, revenue and profitability.

While this may seem obvious, a specific focus on the results (and the customer behavior that he offers) in organizations can be lost when you leave the board. The focus on results must still be present throughout the organization. Increasing sales and profitability is not enough.

Many employees, individual employees and middle managers cannot see how their work affects the big picture. CMOs and other senior executives should help them identify specific customer behaviors that lead to higher revenues or margins.

For example, instead of measuring web pages, marketers should ask what kind of visitors and what behavior by website visitors contributes to increasing revenue.

Change 2: from campaigns to continuous improvement

Traditional marketing campaigns take weeks of planning. They require the coordination of different teams and skills, from marketing strategy to creative development, web implementation, testing and measurement. Most campaigns are presented only once and the victory is explained by all the measures that tell the success story.

Many marketers think about campaigns. But instead, everyone in your company needs to think about continuous, incremental improvements.

Continuous improvement starts with an idea, a hunch about what might work or work better. This hypothesis is tested on a small scale. If it fails, there is no need to justify the test with nullity statistics. Fail; try something different.

Change your mind and try again.

Some adjustments may not lead to improvement, but others may produce large and unexpected positive results. Only when an idea has been researched and optimized can it be implemented on a large scale with a budget equal to the size of the campaign and the total reach of the client.

Change 3: From an internal focus to a customer focus

Customer attention can provide real results:

  • Customer-centric companies achieve compound annual growth rates of 7 to 30% higher than their competitors, which were lower, Forrester Research found.

Likewise, 49% of companies with strong customer success programs experience double-digit growth each year, according to the most recent study by Deloitte Business Customer Success.

Agile offers specific techniques to improve customer focus, including using user stories, personas and customer journeys. Agile also drives decision making based on customer data and analysis, rather than opinions and conventions.

Companies with a solid implementation of marketing technology (or stack, as they are called) can achieve much higher levels of customization for their marketing, leading to happier customers who receive less promotions and more targeted advertising.

Issue 4: Top-down for decentralized decision-making

The transition to decentralized decision-making can be the most difficult and the most important of the four changes.

A flexible implementation that keeps delays from top to bottom and the rework associated with approval will inevitably fail.

Senior leaders must ensure that people understand it’s OK to fail, particularly if they’ve followed a good decision-making process.