Agility and Flexibility are Requisite for Today’s Growing Organizations

 Part 2 – Creating a Strategic Approach to Succession Planning

“World 3.0 requires a new set of skills in cultural agility and flexibility.” –
Dr. Pankaj Ghemawat, Professor of Global Strategy at IESE Business School (1)

We stand at a door wide open as we survey business operations today. Increasingly recognized as a core business function, talent acquisition is giving way to many branches which include employee retention and succession planning. Often forgotten but not quite lost in the mix, organizations today need to have a clearer, more strategic approach to what recruiting quality entails and what it means for them, the hiring company. When job requisitions stack high, is it easy to have a post and pray approach – meaning posting to the various job boards, sitting back with a yawn, and waiting for excellent applicants / candidates to drop into the recruiter’s or talent acquisition leader’s lap.

Aligning Company Growth Goals 

Talent acquisition strategy must align with company growth goals. This means a wide-eyed look down the yellow brick road to fully understand what each acquired traveler brings to the journey. It may mean more work at the onset, but further down the path? The right talent brings energy and development necessary to maintain momentum and meet the wizard head on. 

Leaders who wish to grow healthy and culturally sound organizations need to re-think their growth strategy to include succession planning, not only for upper management positions but also for those roles which evolve into leaders from within, The 360° Leader or Middle Management. An interesting by-product of growing your leadership from within is the vested interest your workforce will build within themselves. The realization that opportunity is built into their current organization changes the employee – they become engaged in growth and stability, as well as a loyal workforce – opportunity does great things to an employee.  


When the Scarecrow received his “brain,” he suddenly became the leader Dorothy always knew he was. He was given opportunity and recognition – and he stepped up his game. The same can occur with an engaged workforce – identifying leadership traits and potential changes how we hire. The future for an invested organization becomes more saleable and planted.  

How is this missed? How do we lose sight of the very simple concept of employee engagement and retention? Talent acquisition is not a fly-by-night practice – it requires strategy in thought and deed. The strategy comes in when we remember the long and arduous journey to Emerald City – success that lies over the river and through the woods. 

Balance and Agility

When an organization and/or HR department identify their direction – the road they will skip down – planning the journey for optimal results becomes requisite. It is through the gaining of this balance and focus that the opportunity to be agile in hiring is real and truly attainable.

This balance is achieved when collaboration is tangible (not just a goal), when technology is truly integrated into communications for both inside and out of the organization (to increase comms, not decrease the need for humans), and when the average employee feels like he has a voice that is heard and appreciated.  

Expressions of Change: Becoming a Flex-Agility Organization

In a recent study, employees across generational lines expressed desire for more flexible working arrangements. The opportunity to work fewer but more concentrated hours, as well as the shift to a virtual workforce are attractive options to all gens of employees, not just Gen Y and Millennials. It is interesting to note that while most employers see this trend and have a desire to accommodate, others like high-tech employers Yahoo and Hewlett Packard are reigning in remote or virtual employees, discontinuing their long-time practices of allowing employees to work from home. What does this denote? Are we discovering that much of what employees say they achieve is merely a smoke screen, a show – like the great and powerful Oz – or have these organizations determined that they want their agility in-house? It will be interesting to see if other high tech orgs follow suit or if they will take advantage of the many employees sure to leave the Yahoo and HP forces to continue to work in the greener pastures of their own homes.

Smart organizations will see the spark of an agile and flexible workforce as potential to build a greater future workforce.  

A strong leadership pipeline should consider the total workforce – contingent and permanent employees across the global organizational footprint – when building internal talent pools. Contingent work appeals to millennial workers who are driven by entrepreneurial spirit and like “being their own boss.”
Built to Last:  Cultivating Leaders in a Multi-Generational Global Workforce

Build Your Company to Last

The online, tech, social, and mobile world in which we now live and work has created incredible opportunities for organizations to expand globally, if they can be flex-agile enough to trust their future in the hands of their employees. The first step for employers is the recognition of the great potential that exists in strategic hiring practices. The prospect of growth and the chance for employee loyalty is greater than ever before. The question hangs – are you willing to engage, develop, and reward your workforce? The answers will come in the form of enhanced employment brand, innovative achievements and boosted succession plans within.  

It doesn’t sound like a risk at all when you recognize that building your company to last means that it will.   

1. Ghemawat, P., World 3.0: Global Prosperity and How to Achieve It, May 2011

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