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'Enemies of agility' for changing businesses revealed

10 May 2013

Stagnant management processes and narrow metrics are just two of the reasons why large businesses sometimes fail to adapt to evolving market conditions and implement a successful change initiative.

In an article for Fortune, management expert Professor Julian Birkinshaw defined the five most common "enemies of agility" that companies should avoid if they want to build a resilient and adaptable organisation.

Prof Birkinshaw, who lectures in strategy and international management at London Business School, cited large-scale processes that become "entrenched and self-reinforcing" as one of the biggest problems.

For managers seeking to create a change-ready organisation, he advised: "Identify and kill off the processes that no longer add any value. Second, pilot all new initiatives outside the existing processes."

The expert also said companies must regularly review what they are measuring, as failure to do so can result in "massive blindspots" that may not become obvious until it is too late.

He urged managers to "define your relevant market as widely as possible, so that your market share is as low as possible" and "measure customer behaviour very carefully". 

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Categories: Commercial, Board & CEO

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