Adaptable organizations revere themselves and the environment that supports them. They don’t try to dissociate themselves from this atmosphere, but to thrive in it. Survivors are adaptable organizations. They are the ones that took to change before it destroyed them and rode the wave while others struggled under the currents. In the current economic conditions crippled by multiple lockdowns and heaving under changing regulations every few weeks, adaptable organizations are those that not only survive a change in the hope of flowing into calmness again. Rather, organizational adaptability makes them flexible enough to take more of these changes, and make them work by changing their working model according to the new requirements.
Humane values in the face of change
Plans for profitability have been replaced by hopes of business continuity for many adaptable organizations. Keeping up their end, these organizations put away long-term goals to deal with the demands of a workforce worried over their future, stakeholders facing uncertain demands, and operational bottlenecks. In industries where remote work is possible, the problem of workforce planning is stemmed to some extent. But it also means more unlearning and upskilling requirements. While some firms flagged against the new demands due to the lack of digital readiness, purpose-driven companies kept the spirits flying and the order volume clicking by delivering online.
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The heartening fact is that as individuals deal with anxiety and uncertainty for well over a year, they show indomitable spirit. The teams of adaptable organizations didn’t rely on adrenaline; they spurred themselves ahead, grateful for the jobs they had and for what they could do online if they couldn’t meet their co-workers in person. Business agility was followed in the letter and in spirit to make teleworking possible; a host of virtual collaboration tools came to be widely used, and numbers were tracked with as much sincerity as pre-pandemic. Several of the adaptable working tenets and policy changes taken on during the fateful time of uncertainty and emergency fire-fighting are still continued. Why? Simply because they yield results and keep adaptable organizations on course with progress.
What are the building blocks of adaptable organizations?
Infrastructural support: Clients and stakeholders often worry about sensitive information falling in the wrong hands when teams access databases remotely. Added layers of security in the form of masking, network support, and encryption are crucial for large corporations or even small ones to consider workforce flexibility.
L&D up-to-date: Crash courses and hands-on learning, often carried out alone, add the crucial element of adaptability to bring about this huge change in modes of working, and engagement. India’s young workforce is unafraid of change. Study shows that 53% of the workforce would even consider switching jobs if it means added workforce flexibility.
Trust: The factor of trust is more basic than any other organizational code of ethics. Trustworthy employees are those who enjoy the challenge and the privileges of being a valued part of the day-to-day challenges and triumphs of an organization. They return the trust reposed in them by showing dedication to the organization when it most needs them.
Feedback to support change: When everything is up in the air, people are stronger by staying together and helping one another in small steps towards a definite purpose. Designated changemakers should spearhead these changes. Frank discussions and even spontaneous exchanges of views can help hoist change.
Experiment, test, document change: It’s no secret that adaptable organizations rely on key people they trust in periods of sweeping change. A burning desire to ride through change isn’t enough, it has to become a consistent workable model with a roadmap and measurable milestones.
These real-world factors intertwine into organizational change, helping adaptable organizations make headway while others take longer to lay down ground rules and goals.
- The Secret of Adaptable Organizations Is Trust | Harvard Business Review | Joerg Esser | March 15, 2021
- 53% of professionals willing to switch jobs if they could work remotely | Business Line | Hemani Sheth | November 27, 2020