4 Lessons in Business Agility I Learned in the U.S. Air Force Boot Camp

4 Lessons in Business Agility I Learned in the U.S. Air Force Boot Camp

Business agility, or the ability to redirect or respond to change quickly, can mean life or death of an operation. Here are a few suggestions to keep your company or department agile and ready to accept change, courtesy of the U.S. Air Force.

Military basic training consists of learning something new and repeating it beyond the point of getting it right: You train until you can’t get it wrong. In business agility, you don’t have the luxury of repetition or even going about business as usual. But some of the none-too-gentle lessons I learned from my Air Force basic training can absolutely be applied to an agile business strategy.

An agile business, like a new recruit, will be in a state of reinvention and have daily reasons to question its direction. Maintaining efficiency and demanding a regular challenge to established processes to avoid creating “sacred cows” will keep your corporate structure lean and agile.

But when you and your business are looking to reinvent and redevelop, you should never miss a chance to strengthen the fundamentals of success in your business, including education, innovation, and/or building trust.

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As in boot camp, it takes hard work and determination. But in both cases, the result is a team that can respond to crises, as well as everyday concerns, with fluidity.

You can get lonely in basic training, which is ironic because you are surrounded by men and women experiencing the same trials you are. Their experience isn’t identical to yours, but each new challenge is shared by the people you’re rubbing shoulders with. And sharing concerns, challenges, and solutions is critical to success.

In order for a business to be successfully agile, interdepartmental relationships and lines of communication have to be strengthened. As the business becomes more efficient, there is a very good chance that errors could be made in haste. While haste is useful to a business looking to capitalize on something new quickly, without strong institutional lines of communication, there’s a greater risk of missing some important input from stakeholders.


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