What's 'Agile' got to do with us?

Agility in the business sense is generally regarded as the ability to lead well in a wide range of circumstances


Many exponents of agile leadership including the Center for Agile Leadership, broadly describe ‘Agile’ in the business sense as “the ability to lead well in a wide range of circumstances” I agree we live in a complex world, but “a wide range of circumstances” is very broad so how do we break it down to be relevant in our individual businesses?

Search ‘Agility’ and there’s many references to innovation and being open to new ideas. The concept that is essential to grasp is: agility in business is an attitude rather than an approach; it’s a mindset, it’s not a methodology.

Generally there seems to be a lot of C words which support the concept: Collaboration, connectors and connections; communicators, clarity, curiosity, creativity, continuous improvement, clean-up.

These are words we relate to people and behaviour that shapes individual management and leadership style. We can foster and gradually allow these ideals to filter down through our organisations to benefit everyone who walks through our doors.

In our industry we are people dealing with people. It’s important to nurture healthy relationships between everyone working in our garden centres and between ourselves and our customers for the transfer of knowledge, information and inspiration that results in sales.
Better outcomes come from everyone having the opportunity to contribute – in our meetings, in team newsletters, in department product selection, merchandising ideas, through brain storming sessions; customer feedback forms and ideas boxes; in business planning, and so on.
Foster learning and study. There should always be opportunities to learn. If everyone is operating under fear of making a mistake, they will never be confident or free to inspire customers.
Be open to new ideas suggested by your team or by customers and implement improvements. The cumulative impact of lots of little changes can add up to make a big difference in a garden centre.
Use simple language that is easy to interpret – common names for plants, no industry jargon, easily understood direction. We can’t expect anyone, especially customers, to be clear about our message if we are unclear ourselves.
Foster curiosity and creativity because quite simply they make life more interesting. Minds become more active, alert and open to new ideas. Creativity isn’t just about artistic ability, it’s allowing ourselves to explore different ideas that have the possibility of being a solution that delivers a practical or entertaining result.
Our garden centres are full of awesome people, so let’s listen, encourage and enable them.