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Is Agile Today's Business Buzzword

24/02/2016 12:18 PM AEDT | Updated 15/07/2016 12:51 PM AEST
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In The Sydney Morning Herald on Tuesday I read an article that focused on where the sentiments of Corporate Australia currently stand. The following statements given between 4th February and 23rd February 2016 show that major corporations in Australia are aiming for agility to remain on top of their game.

".. a more agile company ready to respond to the challenges and opportunities presented by a rapidly changing global marketplace" -- BHP Billiton, ASX announcement, 23 Feb 2016

".. record result reflects a stronger, leaner, more agile Qantas," -- Qantas CEO Alan Joyce, investor presentation, 23 February.

"People -- continuing to invest in our people to strengthen organisational capability and agility," -- Caltex investor presentation, 23 February.

".. assisting us to create a platform to become a more lean and agile organisation for the future, fully capable of anticipating and responding to market opportunities," -- Coca-Cola Amatil results presentation, 17 February.

".. create a company that is customer-led and data-driven, simpler and scalable, agile and quick to respond to the changes we are seeing in the community and in business," -- IAG investor presentation, 17 February.

".. deliver quality long-term growth, the agility to respond to changing markets," -- Suncorp results presentation, 11 February.

".. agile product set is well-positioned to support clients and counterparties facing headwinds in their businesses," -- Macquarie Group investor update, 4 February.

Australia's Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said: "The Australia of the future has to be a nation that is agile, that is innovative, that is creative.

"We can't be defensive, we can't future-proof ourselves. We have to recognise that the disruption that we see driven by technology, the volatility in change is our friend if we are agile and smart enough to take advantage of it."

So what does this mean for you, a professional working in such corporations, or if you're a job seeker?

Firstly, what is the definition of agile? According to the Oxford English Dictionary:

Able to move quickly and easily: "Ruth was as agile as a monkey."

Able to think and understand quickly: "his vague manner concealed an agile mind."

Relating to or denoting a method of project management, used especially for software development, that is characterised by the division of tasks into short phases of work and frequent reassessment and adaptation of plans: "agile methods replace high-level design with frequent redesign."

Secondly, consider what is important for employees in today's workplace.

Change is constant, and the ability to adapt to change is essential to manage your career effectively. The ability to adapt to change and be agile in your approach is equally important if you have been impacted by redundancy (the result of organisational change, off-shoring, outsourcing, or business realignment) in order to make a successful career transition.

Research has shown that within organisations, there are some team members who take control of their personal career path and there are others who expect the organisation to plan their career for them.

Those employees who are prepared to take control of their own career path, manage the vertical, lateral or diagonal moves and plan the ongoing upgrading and development of their skills and knowledge have greater levels of career resilience and self-reliance.

What does each of these terms really mean?

Career Resilience is the ability to persevere with your career plans in spite of the obstacles that occur.

Self-Reliance is taking responsibility to create your own career goals and research the career development options available within the organisation or externally. It is the acceptance of responsibility for developing the expertise required to make an ongoing positive contribution to the organisation or to make a career change.

If you have career resilience and self-reliance you will be able to remain agile in today's changing workplace.

In order to understand what direction will be best for you, it's important take time for self-reflection to understand your work preferences, your current competencies, behavioural preferences, personality, career values, transferrable skills, work satisfiers and tangible work accomplishments to date.

Armed with this information you will then be able to set a plan to conduct the required research, analysis, networking and exploration to identify what is possible to future-proof your career in today's changing workplace.

I always like the saying, "dance in the moment". It's easier to dance in the moment when it comes to your career if you have a solid understanding of what you have to offer, what is in demand and where you will add value. Combine that with a large dose of resilience and self-reliance and you will remain agile.

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