Four Steps to Achieve Greater Flexibility Within an Organization

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All around the world, events of recent times have demonstrated that volatility can disrupt entire organizations as well as individual lives. If you’re part of an organization of any scale, helping to develop greater flexibility can spell the difference between survival and failure. Here are some steps you can work on to achieve this goal.

Local sourcing

Many companies have at least considered the option of outsourcing various tasks or processes to lower costs. Yet every step further away from the core will reduce responsiveness; remote partners react more slowly compared to those you can visit anytime. Sourcing locally or retaining more processes in-house affords greater organizational flexibility. This also creates a superior customer experience. Customers seeking mortgage loans in Meridian, for instance, will enjoy better responsiveness and efficiency from a lender that handles every step of the transaction locally.

Keep your supply chain short and choose local partners, and your organization will adapt quickly to unexpected challenges and seize emerging opportunities.

Selective adaptation

Size certainly matters when it comes to organizations; big businesses can exploit economies of scale, but smaller outfits thrive alongside their heavyweight competition by managing to be more innovative and to deploy new solutions. A new integrated software platform, for instance, will require training, which is harder to coordinate as the workforce grows. At the same time, some aspects of an organization need to be specialized and have a custom configuration to serve their needs; rolling out one-size-fits-all software can hamper performance in these areas.

Using data analysis and the 80/20 rule, you can better identify a single solution which can standardize up to 80% of operations, while allowing other parts of the organization to remain differentiated for their specific needs.

Accommodating diversity

Efforts to increase organizational flexibility will only go so far without extending the benefits to the workforce itself. If rules are rigid or mechanical, individual expression and preferences tend to be stifled or suppressed. Some employees might have a diverse skillset that greatly benefits your team but don’t thrive in an office setting or under a micro-managing supervisor; they may desire better work-life balance and excel under a remote working arrangement.

Embracing diversity is linked to workplace flexibility. Taking steps to increase both will not only make your workplace more attractive to a higher grade of talent but also leads to improved performance, productivity, and overall output.

Communicating and collaborating

Two employees

Retaining more processes in-house or locally will increase responsiveness while accommodating differentiation and diversity allows an organization to draw upon a wealth of options and perspectives. The glue that holds these together is excellent communication and an environment that fosters more collaboration.

When people in an organization are too secular and focused only on what their team or department is doing, they may fail to make vital creative connections or understand how an aspect of their work can influence others. Cross-train more people and help them take ownership of their work by providing more transparency in communications. Doing so helps increase the ties between different units, thus developing that full understanding of how each person’s job plays a part in the organization’s collective success.
By working on these methods, you can help bring greater flexibility to any organization, increasing efficiency and competitiveness while being better-positioned to adapt in these uncertain times.

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