Articles // November 21,2022

Preparing Teams for Agility in Volatile Times Can Help in Improving Team Effectiveness

By Meenakshi Girish , Editor - Chandrani Datta

Agility for your organization can mean two things. One is the ability to adapt and change when situations occur unexpectedly and the second is having a stable foundation that the company can bank on using group effectiveness.

Almost 70% of companies that have agile employees are in the top tier of success. It lies on the team leader to guide the team and ensure they perform delightful experiences, not just redundant work.

Agility might include how your team faces conflicts and bounces back from failures to conquer challenges. It is how well they can stay on top of things and develop new strategies and innovations to become a market leader.

To have stability merged with agility, your business needs to empower its employees. If you have clarity and adequate collaboration among all your teams, your business will flourish. Here are ways in which you can prepare teams for agility and improve team effectiveness

Give them autonomy

Tell your employees what to do, but let them decide how to do it. You are giving them goals, your expectations, and the resources to reach it. But not necessarily the path they need to follow to achieve the results they want. This is their choice and they can creatively find a way to reach the results to enhance their teamwork and collaboration.

This ability to make decisions by themselves and think on their feet will go a long way in shaping their future. Their sense of decision-making will escalate if you hold them accountable for their actions. Building effective teams means you can set targets and challenge them to keep putting them in the spot.

How they respond and react to it will shape their agility. It will help them understand how to solve problems without anyone’s permission or by awaiting guidance.

The solution in action

This is a story by a twenty-seven-year-old SaaS marketing executive in a popular agency in Chennai:

We had recently closed a deal with a client and they were delighted to partner with us for our SaaS products. But one day, the customer called me saying he wished to quickly terminate the contract as he didn’t have the money for it. I was surprised by his request as it was a desperate request and not an angry call. He genuinely didn’t have the budget to afford our services.

I wasn’t able to discuss this with my manager as he had gone out of town on a family trip. I didn’t wish to disturb it and hence, decided to improvise using my teamwork and collaboration.

I asked the client how long it would take to arrange for the money. He told me there was a temporary glitch owing to some bank transfer issues. Since the team was creating a new account to process things, it might take almost three months to stabilize the process again. Of course, we couldn’t go three months without the budget being paid.

I informed the client that he was currently following our monthly package with a nominal rate every month. We also had a six-month package for a slightly higher amount which he could try. This way, he could continue cherishing the services and pay after another three months with ample time to set up his accounts.

He gratefully agreed and that day I and my colleagues achieved four things

  • We showed the customer we valued them
  • We helped my business retain the client
  • We convinced the client to select a contract that was double the amount
  • We displayed agility by taking decisions independently

Encourage them to share knowledge

Your employees might be great workers individually, but are they sharing their knowledge? We don’t have time to make every mistake possible and learn from it. This means we need to learn from others’ mistakes and prevent them from recurring. This can lead to improving team effectiveness.

It is the best way to use the effectiveness of team building to your advantage. You can achieve this by welcoming your employees to share their mistakes and experiences with the team. Create a culture of learning where it is okay to make mistakes. Your team will grow only if they know what not to do.

Encourage your employees to develop innovative solutions based on how others have fared. Knowledge is a two-way road and the concept of seniority cannot step into your learning sessions. Have frequent check-ins with your team and reward people who have showcased their agility.

The solution in action

This is an experience shared by a thirty-year-old chartered account in Singapore:

My company always has a weekly knowledge-sharing session for all its employees. It is a time for us to reflect on our progress during the week and narrate incidents. During this session, we mention an experience with a client and what follow-up question they asked us. We don’t provide the answer at once.

The idea is if we provide what we said, the team might lose a valuable chance to brainstorm potential solutions. We spend about fifteen minutes discussing responses and how each of us would have reacted to the question. It helps us prepare ourselves with multiple solutions for such a scenario to predict follow-ups in the future.

Once the discussions are done, we share what we said and how the client reacted to it. If it was a successful conversation, the strategy is noted down for later. If the client wasn’t satisfied with the answer, we now have several new answers for the next call. This makes us agile as we can handle unpredictable and volatile situations seamlessly.

Ask them to collaborate with people outside their team

This will help your employees build their internal network and feel connected to various parts of your company. Your cross-team collaborations will help them learn new things and enhance their expertise in other fields.

For example, your social media content writer can speak to your SEO analyst to help curate better blogs. They can share keywords and how the content will be affected by the algorithm. This way, the SEO analyst can get a taste of content writing and the writer will know how the SEO person’s brain works.

The solution in action

This is the story of a social media strategist who narrated her experience with leadership skill development at a reputed agency in Bangalore:

My client would always corner me with jargon from other fields. I would have written a blog for them but they would want some more keywords. Or they would ask me what an off-page SEO strategy is and how it can help their business.

I do not know anything about SEO and don’t know how to respond to these queries. But if I rope in my SEO analyst during the call, they can respond firsthand. It would truly be an enlightening session for both the client and me.

To take this one step further, I work with the analyst from the start of the project and we collaborate at every stage. This helps us understand each other’s tasks and provide aid accordingly. This ensures that even if the client approaches us when the other person isn’t available, we can answer to a certain extent.

It keeps us on our toes and we can confidently answer sudden queries. The best part is how we can work with purpose and achieve the desired results hand in hand. It is a chance for both of us to grow and enhance our group effectiveness.

Your team can stay stable yet adaptive with their agility. Their strategic agility to tackle issues through accurate prioritization will help them grow. Be sure to support your team and guide them while observing the market and your clients.

Help them work with purpose and learn from each other’s mistakes. Articulate the values that have made your company successful and consistently maintain them. Let them know your goals and give them the space to experiment and get the job done.

Feel your team isn’t agile enough to handle volatile circumstances? Click here to invest in quality coaching from the experts in building effective teams.

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In my career leading and building high-performing teams, I enjoy inspiring & coaching employees to unlock their potential for maximum performance. The team's success is my deepest delight. Global Coaching Lab provides the platform to put this into practice every day and fulfill my passion of making others great.

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