Adaptable organisation: The new normal

This paper attempts to decode the key elements of adaptable organisations, discusses how organisation models need to evolve as the business recovers and thrives, and provides recommendations for leaders to enhance agility at their organisations.

During the pre-COVID-19 scenario, the business environment was evolving primarily due to digital and technology led disruptions, and most organisations considered agility to be one of the important aspects to respond to the market opportunities swiftly. However, only a handful of organisations transformed the way they work to enhance their agility.

With the COVID-19 outbreak that has led to frequent changes in the market and customer requirements almost every day, organisations were pushed to transform the way they work and respond swiftly. Most organisations shattered traditional practices and beliefs, and adopted new practices in a matter of days, to respond to the crisis situation. We studied these practices through a survey and interactions with business and people leaders, and identified certain common drivers that helped organisations to enhance their
agility. Interestingly, companies seem to have adopted adaptable organisation models knowingly or unknowingly to deal with the current situation.

This paper attempts to highlight the key organisational challenges at hand and how some organisations are taking efforts to manage them effectively. It also narrows down these practices to six themes that organisations have focused on to enhance agility in the current context.

The most important question is, do organisations need to sustain/enhance these adaptable organisation models in the long term or revert to the traditional approaches after the COVID-19 crisis?

Our prediction is that the adaptable organisation is expected to be the new normal. Given the unexpected disruptions in the economy, marketplace, supply chain, and customer requirements in the near and long term, only organisations that can respond to such disruptions with agility, are likely to grow and thrive. To operate with agility, the adaptable organisation model is one of the key components of determining the way forward.

In another perspective, organisations that revert to using traditional approaches could face challenges in operating, competing, and collaborating successfully in an ecosystem that is moving ahead in terms of agility.

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