Business value should be defined to include revenue, quality, efficiency, productivity, cost, branding, relationships, and maintained competitive advantage(s). As a result of increasingly scarce resources many of these values are diminished during a recession despite the company’s best attempts to mitigate such impacts.
Risk is largely summarized as the extent to which the corporation proactively identifies oncoming changes and responds to them in a timely manner. Agility, informed by this accurate vision of things to come, is inferred as the solution to address environmental risks. While I agree that agility represents a key factor in determining successful from non successful corporate response to environmental crisis it represents only one factor of many. Agility typically represents a larger corporate competency that does not necessarily explicate the smaller skill sets, or competencies, that are required in the pursuit of agility.
Companies that contain the necessary Agile competencies are more readily prepared to address the economic environment during a recession. Although agility is often touted as critical to surviving, not to mention competing, in the global environment (where everything is constantly changing) this competency is less critical (although still important) in national and local economies where the industry (and in this case, the company’s product lines) remains essentially stable.
The introduction of economic chaos in a previously stable industry is disruptive at every level and is often identified as a market force that supports healthy, albeit disruptive, restructuring. For those adaptive, capable, and willing to change this may represent an opportunity to increase the company’s competitive advantage when comparative agility is an available corporate competency.
Agility thus represents a corporate competency that should be perquisite to any corporate planning mechanism. Since foresight is limited, agility that emphasizes perpetual scanning and risk profiling of the industry, environment, and economy (local, national, and global) will improve the corporation’s ability to sustain shareholder, customer, and stakeholder values.
Travis Barker, MPA GCPM
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