Operational Excellence for Agile and Adaptive Companies

What’s an Adaptive Organization Really Look Like?

“An adaptive enterprise (or adaptive organization) is an organization in which the goods or services demand and supply are matched and synchronized at all times. Such an organization optimizes the use of its resources (including its information technology resources), always using only those it needs and paying only for what it uses, yet ensuring that the supply is adequate to meet demand.”1

Organizations—enterprises, corporations, companies and businesses—exist to make the biggest profit possible in the shortest amount of time. Their secondary goal is to sustain that pattern of highly competitive profitability indefinitely. That begs the question: is there a paradigm in which adaptive and sustainable can be inherently interwoven, or is sustainable adaptability an oxymoron?

The way-of-doing-business changes that enterprises face just to exist in today’s evolving competitive environment are extreme, challenges coming in the near future are even more intense, and they are coming at all of us at record speed and variety. There is no question that each business has to adapt quickly and effectively to respond profitably to each new development. So, while successful business leaders and their teams are adapting at a frantic rate, is it possible to build a sustainable, adaptive culture?

Yes. Effective adaptiveness is an always-evolving, innovative, learned and encouraged way of thinking and acting—existing. Adaptive leaders understand that what worked today won’t work tomorrow, and they empower their teams to roll fluidly in front of the flow. They excel in the following characteristics2:

  • Scalable: grows with ease to serve changing and growing customer needs
  • Extensible: augments existing business capabilities with new ones in an integrated and
    seamless fashion
  • Responsive: reacts quickly to changing situations to take advantage of the opportunity
  • Forward Leaning: innovates in regard to new business opportunities
  • Market Driving: changes the market game against the competition through innovation
    and preparedness
  • Modular: consists of discrete business components that can be used to rapidly assemble new capabilities on-demand
  • A Leader: is a step ahead of the competition with a voice of its own and acts as an inspiration
    to others
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