Organizations that have made the tough decisions required to cut costs effectively and increase productivity should not think agility is a natural byproduct of their new infrastructure. If anything, a race to greater efficiency can often create less agility, as increased organizational decentralization and expanded individual responsibilities give rise to situations where the right hand doesn’t know what the left hand is doing.
Recklessly abandoning critical processes often amounts to throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Few things can cause internal chaos quicker than a simplistic approach to agility. While organizations can no longer afford to be shackled to heavy investments in infrastructure, processes should be optimized—not abandoned.
The key to effective and efficient implementation of agility rests in balance. Flexibility without process can cause inefficiencies; process without flexibility can result in lost opportunities. Truly agile agencies embrace the kind of continuous operational improvements that enhance efficiencies while simplifying and streamlining processes. The result is a reduction in organizational complexities that improves the ability to capitalize quickly on opportunities.
Agencies that embrace and embed real agility into their cultures will take best advantage of efficiencies implemented throughout 2010, create sustainable value for clients and come out of the year primed for success in 2011 and beyond.