Reimagining Performance through Organizational Agility

Aerospace has traditionally been the technological backbone of American manufacturing. Investment in airplanes immediately exploded in 1909 with the first military airplane demonstration to the U.S. army by Orville Wright. In 1943, the aviation industry was America’s largest producer and employer, with 1,345,600 people constructing aircraft. Boeing, one of the largest American airline manufacturers has remained ahead of the game in airline advancements. The Boeing 787 Dreamliner has revolutionized flying for passengers and pilots alike.  It comes complete with dimmable windows, hybrid laminar flow controls (for fuel efficiency), head-up displays, electric braking systems, which are much lighter than hydraulic ones, and even electric anti-ice systems. Built with a composite material frame, the Dreamliner 787 uses 20% less fuel than its counterpart.

Despite its advancements, the reality of the Dreamliner 787 meant losses for Boeing. Because Boeing increased its outsourcing overseas by 68% since 1960, the Dreamliner process was restricted to the use of a multi-tier supply chain, which meant cutting upfront development costs from $7.3 billion to $4.2 billion and development time by two years. Ultimately, due to poor organizational agility, the project ended up four years behind schedule and exceeding the project budget by $11 billion. This illustrates that even monumental evolutions can be detrimental if strategic agility outpaces operational agility.

Like Boeing, any business that has an imbalance between strategic and operational agility will suffer subpar outcomes in business performance, this is important to understand. However, having that balance of spending time ON the business and IN the business increases the rate of innovation while strengthening the organization’s ability to stay foundationally clear, stable, and structured during innovation cycles. Deploying both strategic and operational agility are critical to long-term sustainability and transformational growth internally and externally.

Regardless of the industry, Transcend has found that by focusing on organizational agility, businesses maximize their bottom line potential in customer experience, innovation, and strategic execution, as well as the ability to respond to the market timely. Your customer loyalty and net promoter scores will skyrocket because your organization has had an agile approach in meeting the ever-changing needs of the consumer and the marketplace. In order to execute on strategy, provide the best customer experience, and innovate with quality and speed, we recommend elevating the implementation of purposeful collaboration, optimized organizational design, and progressive change management within your organization.

Purposeful Collaboration


The number one innovation killer in your company is silos. In a time when “collaboration” can be a buzzword, it’s not whether we should collaborate but how we collaborate that matters. Organizations that collaborate well in the areas of customer experience, innovation, and strategic execution are stronger marketplace performers. Why? Their collaboration is purposeful. Purposeful Collaboration is the process of intentionally leveraging social and intellectual capital across all levels of the organization to drive outcomes that are otherwise unobtainable. Increased cross-functional collaboration delivers tangible results related to faster and more quality delivery, increased customer satisfaction, reduction in costs, and more cohesive and communicative teams across the organization. In fact, when we add just one additional business unit to solve a problem results are increased by double. 

So, what does Purposeful Collaboration look like in working environments?

  • Breaking down silos within the organization to eliminate an “us-and-them” mentality.
  • Bringing together different kinds of experts and empowering them to tackle complex problems, execute strategy, and meet the critical needs of the business.
  • Building highly effective teams that thrive because each member understands their role and value to its success.
  • Utilizing technology and other methods to increase fluid collaborative opportunities within teams and across work groups.
  • Setting effective collaboration structures that spur innovative solutions.
  • Resource sharing to efficiently exceed consumer expectations.

Through purposeful collaboration, employees foster relationships that are highly effective and leave room for creative problem-solving. The more connected and in sync with one another we are, the more likely we are to identify with our team roles, work together in a seamless way, anticipate the needs of one another, and be solution-focused. These collaboration networks powered by social capital, foster reciprocity and create stronger teams who naturally seek to innovate. Social capital is powerful across many areas of business and accounts for as much as 33% of variance in sales performance. Being intentional about how and why we collaborate increases profitability.

Optimized Organizational Design


Optimized Organizational Design supports agility by intentionally designing system and group structures to maximize talent capability, increase workflow, and align collaboration with the critical needs of the business. Optimized design includes structuring working groups and designing functional workspaces that efficiently and effectively meet the holistic needs of customers and deliver on organizational strategy.

Optimized organizational design is not only about the physical structures within a company, but also about identifying power structures, points of influence, and decision-making throughout the organization. When organizational design is optimized, leaders are transparent with information to arm employees with good decision-making knowledge. They empower employees to be the CEOs of their role.

Equally important is to create authority and power structures that are transparent, lean, and highly efficient to ensure organizational nimbleness at the point of the consumer, innovation, and strategy. How are your employees empowered at the level of decision-making? If the buck only stops at the top, there will always be a bottleneck.

Organizational design extends to the physical and cultural environments of the business as well. Does the physical layout of your workspaces and culture support collaboration? Are employees able to communicate efficiently with one another? It is essential to reinforce the agile behaviors you desire by creating spaces and focusing on behaviors that highlight flexibility, knowledge sharing, and solution mindedness.

Progressive Change Management


While purposeful collaboration and optimized organizational design structures are essential to agility, it is also necessary to intentionally implement Progressive Change Management processes. Why do seventy percent of executions fail? Most often it comes down to employee resistance or inadequate preparation for impending changes.

At Transcend, we believe real change occurs when change-agile leaders are at all levels of the organization and where change is pursued, not reactive. Agile organizations consistently leverage opportunities to develop new ways of doing business and implement the structures, reporting cadences, and systems to make them a reality. Focused integration of elite Progressive Change Management processes in the areas of customer service, innovation, and strategic executions entails: 

  • Embedding execution protocols.
  • Implementing process improvement models.
  • Leveraging process mapping.
  • Creating intentional and thoughtful communication plans.
  • Engaging stakeholders at all levels throughout the organization.
  • Reinforcing the right behaviors to inspire early change adoption.
  • Using data to inform decisions.
  • Rewarding progress towards initiatives that transform the business.

Given the changing world, there is tremendous potential to help embed agility as a ‘state of being’ for organizations who want to be winners of the future. When a business becomes truly agile, it creates employee engagement to successfully navigate the current marketplace, anticipate challenges, and increase profitability. Agility is a company’s competitive advantage; a catalyst to successful execution of strategy, a high-performing culture, and a maximized bottom line.

Please check out our other three articles in this series where we discuss performance and profitability, visionary leadership, and integrated talent management.

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