Friday, September 21, 2012

Agile Companies

Faisal Hogue has a good post at Fast Company about how companies can remain agile.  He starts by citing a statistic from former McKinsey partner Richard Foster:  the average lifespan of a company on the S&P 500 has shrunk by decades over the past 100 years.  Companies die or get acquired in many more instances than in the past.

Hogue offers four characteristics of agile firms:

1.  They are not insular.  They are always looking at their environment and evaluating trends, threats, and new developments in technology and consumer tastes.
2. They experiment often.
3.  They can shift assets and resources quickly across geographies, lines of business, and functional areas.
4.  They build new competences to match emerging needs.  Those competences may be technological, human, or process-oriented.
I would add one other attribute of agile firms.  They are willing to disrupt themselves.  In other words, they are willing to launch new businesses that may cannibalize their existing businesses.  

1 comment:

Jim Benson said...

Right, but who are "they". Is a firm upper management, the company as a whole?

Who is making these decisions and what are the triggers necessary to make these decisions happen?