Agile

Plan for change – go ahead of the curve

“Plan all you want. What you do in the face of unexpected results matters much much more.”

Planning is an inevitable part of a business reality. No matter what type or size of a business you run, planning ahead is crucial in order to be productive, effective and most importantly profitable. However, in the quickly changing business environment that we have today, being a good planner does not at all mean what it used to. In fact, what is more important nowadays is being able to react and to adapt to changes quickly. Problem is, many businesses still struggle with this concept and are often at a loss when faced with changes.

The reality of today is this – things change often, fast and usually not in the expected direction. That is why the approach of planning every little detail of a project is simply not suitable anymore. Instead, we have to be reactive to anything that may come our way and this means changing the whole concept of business planning itself. There is no way anymore to have enough time, resources and reasoning to plan every single scenario of the project before committing to the work. Instead, you have to become good at reacting to and accepting change in your plans.

Granted, this will not be easy. Your whole mindset and the way you run the business will be transforming and as with any change there will be struggles and disappointments along the way. The important thing though is to not expect the change to happen overnight, but to be prepared to put in work yourself and at the same time to work on your team to do that as well. While this may seem daunting, there are a few things that will help you to have a smooth and pleasant transition into the new way of planning your success.

First thing you will need is a good team on your hands. Do not immediately assume you will have to rehire every single employee. Instead, you will have to look at your team and identify the ones that are good with changes and challenges. You may need to reorganize the team structure to make sure they are the ones in the leading positions and making decisions for the rest of the team. People are the first and the key ingredient to your success and with ever changing circumstances, you need to ensure they are ready to handle them well. Your leaders have to strive on change and challenges instead of being too comfortable and reliant on the routine procedures.

Second key ingredient for success in such conditions is the right approach. You will not only have to surround yourself with people that like change, you will also have to install a work process that encourages it. Having the right people within the wrong outdated process will only frustrate them without yielding any desired results. Therefore, make sure to critically evaluate your current process and adapt it where necessary to be reactive to change as well. In case, you are completely lost on how to modify your practices, take examples from such practices as agile project management, which is specifically built for changing circumstances, and modify it to fit your business model.

Lastly, you will need to think about the tools your team is equipped with. It is a well-known fact that the right tools make the job not only easier, but also faster. In this case it also ensures that the job will be done better. When changing the whole business approach, the right tools will assist the team in the transition and ensure that the new approach is adopted smoother and quicker. However, you should be careful not to be blinded by them – simply giving your employees a tool does not mean that all of the work is done. A tool is nothing but a tool and the real work will be done by you and your team striving to adopt the best solution.

To be competitive in today’s market you have to make sure to be flexible. While there is no fireproof way of achieving that, there are a few things you can focus on to make sure you are going in the right direction. Create a team you can count on, implement the right practices and tools and lastly and most importantly – be patient and work towards your result. There is no need to be afraid of change, it will come anyways, instead make sure to embrace it and reap the results!

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