We have been practicing agility and flexibility forever. However, recent events mandated quicker responses than many of us have experienced in our careers or, frankly, were prepared for. I know I certainly was not.
Change can be proactive or reactive. When we practice agility and flexibility proactively, an organization strategically alters itself to address the future without immediate factors necessitating the need for change. Essentially, we embrace and anticipate change so that when unexpected disruption occurs, we can quickly assess and adjust. But how do we know when to pivot from our updated business model? What actions are needed to ensure continuous operational excellence? And as we adopt a new “normal,” which measures become the new standard?
The AME Dallas 2022 conference team chose embracing disruption as its theme because we have all been collectively forced to embrace change. Who hasn’t faced supply chain issues personally and professionally? We’ve had to practice agility and flexibility to find new sources needed to produce goods we’d previously taken for granted.
We all pivoted. (I hope we can retire that word in 2023.) Ford factories began producing ventilators instead of car parts, a measure reminiscent of those taken during World War II. Businesses sent their employees home to work virtually full time. While these same Ford factories are no longer building ventilators, they are debating whether home offices will be permanent options or hybrid models.
Now we are learning to identify what worked temporarily, what will continue to work for our organizations in the long term, and what is currently working and may demand opportunities for improvement. There is no set formula for determination. However, by harnessing the ability to be agile and flexible and enthusiastically embracing disruption, we give ourselves the leeway to improve our overall workflows. And that is what we, as continuous improvement leaders, are ultimately the best at doing. As we take some respite following the excitement of this year’s conference—and as you enjoy access to on-demand content—let us reflect on those disruptions that seemed to hinder us that may, in fact, lead us closer toward excellence than we have ever been.
As always, please stay safe and keep looking out for one another.