3 Steps for Agile Leaders to Survive Unexpected Challenges

a cartoon business man is stumbling up a bumpy growth curve

Here is what Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon, said about the importance of resilience in running successful organizations: “If you think of [resilience] in terms of the Gold Rush, then you’d be pretty depressed right now because the last nugget of gold would be gone. But…with innovation, there isn’t a last nugget. Every new thing creates two new questions and two new opportunities.”

There are few American technology entrepreneurs or investors who have as much experience or as much success as Bezos. He knows all about what it takes to build an innovative and sustainable business. It wasn’t easy. But he understood that, to succeed, one of the critical factors is the ability to be resilient…to change as needed and to be effectively agile in the face of unexpected challenges.

There are so many ways the market can shift abruptly and without warning. The economy can tank, the competition can come out with a new and better product and whole industries can collapse. Even small disruptions can threaten the viability of your business. Only those organizations that have figured out how to prepare for small or large calamities are the ones that will thrive. In fact, our recent organizational alignment research found that leadership’s ability to respond to relevant market and industry changes was the top-rated factor and employees’ ability to change the third-rated factor for achieving 58% faster growth and 72% higher profits than companies with less agile leaders.

Is there a way to build resilience into your organization? There are certainly some steps you can take that will help you overcome the bumps in that upward curve…

1. Spread your bets.
This is not to say that you should not focus on the strategy that is best designed to get you where you want to go. Certainly you don’t want to dilute your efforts by running in too many directions at once. But you should have a viable Plan B. Or at least you should be working on two time cycles at once…one for the short- and the other for the long-term.

2. Respect the power of middle managers.
One of the ways businesses trimmed their budgets during the latest economic downturn was to flatten their organizations and do away with many middle managers. But it is just these folks who can make the difference when change is forced upon you. They are often the frontline interpreters between leadership and employees. When they buy into necessary change, your organization is more than half-way there. In other words, middle management is your force for resilience. Keep them well prepared and fully engaged.

3. Welcome different working styles.
After two decades working with clients around strategy, culture and talent, we advocate building an intentional, uniform culture by design. But that does not mean that everyone thinks the same. They should share values and support the company mission as one. But there is enormous resilience that stems from different points of view and working styles. You want clear and compelling goals that your team has accepted and drives toward. However, if everyone thinks the same way, you lose the value of different ways of addressing problems and miss out on potentially game breaking insights that come from diverse backgrounds.

Build change resilience any way you can. But these three steps will take you in the right direction: having a Plan B, building the strength of middle management and including different styles of thinking on your employee teams.

Share:
Facebook Twitter Google+ Email LinkedIn

Comments are closed.

We have been able to utilize LSA’s extensive network of top-notch resources to leverage our investment in employee development. The result has been the cost effective and highly efficient delivery of quality educational and management training programs.

Steve Feller
Vice President, Human Resources

Over the years, both at 3Com and now at Redback, I’ve found LSA Global to be a valuable resource. The recent compliance program that they delivered for Redback’s executive and management team was the right solution, of the highest of quality, and customized to our business and culture. I would highly recommend LSA to any company looking for top quality solutions.

Gina Fulton
Vice President of Human Resources

We value our relationship with LSA Global. We came to LSA because we wanted to improve overall behavioral based interviewing capabilities of our managers to increase the probability of both hiring top talent and future leaders. LSA designed a highly customized solution for our business and culture. We are currently rolling out this solution to our leaders. I would highly recommend LSA Global as a top quality resource.

Rae Phillips
HR Project Manager - Training & Development, PHR

I consistently look to LSA Global when I need custom programs put together for my client groups. I can always count on LSA to do a thorough needs analysis and to put together spectacular programs that are well received. Their management development and performance management expertise and professionalism make them one of my top-rated learning and development partners.

Stephanie Webb
HR Program Manager

Rambus

Our company engaged LSA to do a specialized “train the trainer” program, and the consultant’s performance outdid our exceptionally high standards for such a program. Very crucial to the success of this program was the work done upfront to discuss our needs and to interview key members of our organization so that the program specifically met our goals. Our facilitators continue to comment on the success of the program. Thanks also for the follow-up.

Frank Abbott
Chief Financial Officer

LSA’s consultant designed and delivered a half-day team building solution for our recent conference. It included careful customization to integrate the design with our new mission and values. Everyone had fun and identified key issues with our teamwork. Altogether a great program!

Bob Ward
Director of HR

I had been working with LSA for many years with my prior company. Currently, I’m with a company who hadn’t done much basic management skills training. After identifying and presenting a program recently, our managers are excited and talking in the halls about the great experience. LSA saves us time in delivering the right training for our needs.

Phyllis Moracco
HR Director

LSA helped change our entire culture around meetings, making them more effective and efficient, thus enabling us to concentrate on driving more business.

Terry Wassman
VP of Human Resources

We signed up with LSA early on–as their 22nd Member! Since then, our organization’s learning needs have increased and decreased and increased again with the changing times. The beauty of the LSA business model is its flexibility…when we needed to supplement our own internal resources, we used LSA services knowing that we could depend on the outstanding quality of the leadership development and management training programs they provide.

Margie Bunting
HR Manager

I have worked with LSA Global at previous companies and welcomed the opportunity to bring them in to support my new organization. We worked closely with LSA to design a solution for our Client Partner Teams and Management Training on both coasts. LSA designed a customized solution for our business and organizational culture. LSA is a quality organization, one that I’d recommend to any company looking for a first class training and consulting partner that makes an impact.

Laurie Torres
Chief People Officer

LSA has been a tremendous asset to my portfolio, both at my current company and my past company. As an HR leader, I am always looking for ways to find external resources that can provide a solution to our management training needs. LSA does that for me. Their solutions are presented in a much more leadership-oriented manner so as to be crisp, business relevant, and easy to apply right back on the job. I will continue to augment our programs using LSA solutions.

Ken Boehm
VP of Human Resources

What a personal and professional pleasure it has been to Partner with LSA. They are truly a strategic partner with Wyse. For more than 5 years, LSA has been engaged in delivering various training and development solutions for Wyse, from custom on-site programs targeting specific core competencies, to working individually with clients to build job skills, and offering invaluable services to me and my team as we continue to build our learning programs. LSA’s representatives do more than sell a product, they offer a full service solution: they understand our business, our strategic initiatives, and the needs of our customers.

Jeff Rangel
Director of HR

We consider LSA our true business partner in the areas of Learning and Organizational Development. From Strategic Planning to Presentation Skills and Management Training, they continue to provide excellent value and extremely high quality solutions – not just one time events. I recommend them to anyone looking to drive true business results.

Michelle A. Mitchell
Vice President, Worldwide Human Resources

VNUS Medical has been very pleased with the effective management development programs that LSA Global has delivered for us over the last four years. The programs have been universally facilitated by experienced and best in class instructors. The knowledge gained by our management team has been put into practice very quickly. VNUS is very happy to be working in partnership with LSA because they consistently deliver excellent programs that receive exceptional feedback from our management team.

Cindee Van Vleck
Director Human Resources

Each program is preceded by an assessment of the participants. The course is then designed to fit the specific parameters and needs of the group. The highly interactive delivery is provided by recognized experts in their fields. On the spot coaching is provided during the program and each participant receives individual follow-up after the course. Courses can be delivered in-person or virtually. Given the nature of Cisco’s business and the way we operate, these remote workshops are a must for anyone who joins our company. Their work is eye opening. Great content and fantastic delivery.

Frank J. Kuypers
Business Development Manager

Evaluate your Performance

Toolkits

Toolkits

Download key published insights and tools from industry experts highlighting best practices in the areas of talent, strategy and culture.

More

Health Checks

Health Checks

Want to know how you stack up against leading organizations?  Receive a complimentary benchmarking analysis courtesy of an LSA Expert.

More

Whitepapers

Whitepapers

Get up to speed on timely solutions critical to your business. Published by LSA Experts based upon client feedback and key industry trends.

More

Methodology

Methodologies

First we identify the key metrics you want to improve. Then we assemble a dedicated team of elite experts who have successfully solved similar problems with similar clients.

More

Blogs

Stay up to do date with the latest information on how we help high growth companies align their culture and talent with strategy.

More

Case Studies

Client Case Studies

Real world consulting and training approaches from LSA projects, providing insights on how your company can outperform the competition.

More