Economic anxiety paralysing Australian companies

by 07 Feb 2012

New research has revealed that workers and managers at the coal face have both the skills and experience to innovate and navigate through change, but are seldom provided the opportunity to do so.

The latest Workplace Barometer report from Chandler Macleod highlighted that while those at the top understood the importance of business agility, few seemed able to put the theory into practice.

“Growth often leads to an obsession with duplicating processes and unnecessary bureaucracy, but begins to pinch when agility is the skill and mindset needed most,” Cameron Judson, COO Chandler Macleod said. Companies are sending the wrong message to their workforces by tightening controls in tough times when they should be empowering them to take control, he added.

But isn’t “business agility” just another buzzword?  Judson would disagree, saying the continuing economic turbulence will truly call for fast thinking and adaptable business leaders. He defined ‘business agility’ as the capacity to identify and capture opportunities more quickly than rivals.

The key findings from the report included:

  • The main barriers to agility were associated with poor structure and leadership issues – namely a lack of autonomy and responsibility authorising staff to act on market changes
  • 95% of Australian companies believe they need to be faster and more agile in order to survive, but few are doing anything about it
  • 75% of companies believe they have become more agile since the global financial crisis, but 69% said they have difficulty in keeping customers satisfied in an ever changing environment
  • 56% of companies claim to have increased their focus on staff retention but just 42% have any long-term succession plans for critical roles


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