The Agility Advantage: How to Identify and Act on Opportunities in a Fast-Changing World by Amanda Setili is a well-written, well-paced explanation of how organizations of any size can grow and thrive by being agile. Agility is the ability to quickly identify and capitalize on opportunities within the core business that can drive growth, productivity, and efficiency.
Three key facets of agility are market intelligence, decision making, and execution. Market agility involves finding new opportunities with existing customers and products to increase demand. Decision agility involves creating strategies to take advantage of new opportunities by maximizing growth and minimizing risk. Execution agility involves motivating your employees to adopt the new strategic direction, employing your best tactics, and experimenting to find out what works and shedding what doesn’t.
The book explores how organizations can become complacent and offers advice on how to counteract that complacency by truly getting to know your customers and other stakeholders. A stakeholder-driven focus with a growth mind-set that’s open to change allows a company to find and retain its competitive advantage. This leads to growth and innovation. Employees at all levels, from the CEO and CFO down, need to interact with their customers and other stakeholders to truly understand them and react nimbly to their needs and wants.
The Agility Advantage provides examples of companies of all sizes from a range of industries that have succeeded by being agile and explains why others have failed. Thinking outside the box is critical to finding new and unique opportunities and avoiding stagnation. Setili uses real-world case studies to explain the principles of agility and show how these companies served stakeholders more effectively and found new markets or expanded existing ones.
In the future, many industries will continue to see more competition and commoditization of their products and services. Companies that can adapt and find niches in these markets will survive. The Agility Advantage is a good read for management accounting and finance professionals and anyone wanting to discover what really drives business development and how to adapt quickly to better serve their stakeholders.