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Why Agile Leadership is the Future of Marketing


Agile leadership

Legacy management mindsets are a burden to marketing teams wanting to keep up with the pace of an ever-changing market. This blog will delve into the importance of Agile leadership to forge strong organizations today and in the future.

Many companies find it hard to escape from legacy processes and to find new management models to help them advance. However, successful marketing teams are learning to be adaptable and flexible to the shifts of a customer-driven marketplace.

The shift to customer centric marketing has changed how teams work, collaborate and interact, leading them to remove silos amongst teams and create a collaborative environment. 

This is an essential factor needed for any company who wants to successfully implement their digital transformation strategy. After all, digital transformation isn’t just about technology, it’s about business culture and the way an organization is run.

Agile leadership requires the ability to deliver instant, personalized, value at scale, while allowing organizations to cope with continuous change. In an Agile organization, teams must constantly look for new ways to create values for customers, which is easier to do when they’re in continuous interaction with these customers, or by leveraging historical engagement data they already have. Rather than doing more work at a faster rate, Agile environments are about getting more value from the work that is done.

Customer experience must be frictionless, and this is done by reducing internal silos through collaboration. Top-down management styles can make collaboration difficult, which is why being Agile is key to ensuring success. Fostering a new community of leaders who have this Agile mindset can determine the future success of a business, let alone a marketing team.

What are the Characteristics of an Agile Mindset?

As the name suggests, Agile teams must be as nimble as possible. This means that work should be done in cross-functional teams working in punctual tasks and constantly receiving feedback from customers to optimize their results.

With smaller teams, decisions can be made with less effort and obstacles, and it is easier for a group to think and act as a unit. However, most teams are extremely bureaucratic, and processes are often stalled due to the idea that stricter, top-down processes with individual responsibilities and scarce interaction were more efficient at large scale.

Agile organizations are also obsessed with customer experience and customer value. In a digital first world, customers have an abundance of choice, and information at their fingertips to make a decision about purchasing from a company or not. Customers are now in the driving seat, and marketing teams need to create tailored, human centred campaigns to meet these demands. Especially on platforms like social media where companies have only a couple of seconds to attract their audience. Agile teams can create relevant and personalized campaigns and adapt quicker (when necessary) compared to traditional top-down management approaches.

Businesses that are scared to take risks and don’t focus on innovation, are more likely to fail in the new norm.  By adopting an Agile mindset to work and leadership, businesses can transform from one steady machine, into a network of high performing teams that interact, grow and adapt with efficiency in this ever-changing market. And this attitude shift needs to come from management. 

New technologies like Mediatool help teams become more agile, whilst giving managers the visibility they need to ensure work is getting done to the standard needed to keep up. By moving from silos to one holistic overview of all marketing data and activities, managers can give teams the tools they need to thrive. 

Why Agile Leadership is Important

Despite their collaborative nature, Agile organizations are not horizontal or non-hierarchical. Top management still plays an important role directing the organization and driving teams for higher performance in a transparent environment where flaws are easier to detect.

Business leaders ensure that the organization functions with a clear view on adding value to the customer and within an interactive communication dynamic where ideas can arise from any front in a network. With this, the organization constantly grows and adapts to new opportunities.

The Need for New Leadership Approaches 

Traditional managers may be put off by the idea of Agile management. Firstly, it may seem harder for them to tell employees what they need to do, and they may initially find some of the principles of Agile management to be contradictory. How exactly does a company make higher revenue by not focusing on making money but rather on making customers happier? How can large complex issues be resolved by small teams? And how does a manager show that they are in control by allowing more flexibility to their team? This is because many managers still stand by the idea of control as a main virtue rather than the need to nurture teams and optimize them.

Legacy management practices pose a challenge to Agile management. Traditional managers may not feel comfortable stepping out of the norm, but ultimately, Agile is about embracing a different mindset and leveraging technology and new cultural norms to provide insights that can help companies thrive in the future.

Proficient leaders care about helping fellow managers and employees develop their strengths with a view to ensure a value-driven work environment. For this, business leaders need to encourage positive outlooks, creativity, proactivity, a desire to learn and grow and team spirit.

Leading in 2025: The Future of Leadership in the Digital Economy

Even before Covid-19 accelerated the need for businesses to transform their processes, many C-suite executives were concerned that their organizations were becoming too siloed and bureaucratic. Frankly, these organizations were bogged down in a world that is changing and at risk of being left behind. Their standardized world has been swapped for one with hyper-personalization, increased connectivity, and automation.

With today’s organizations being set up as traditional hierarchies, these structures show clear lines of authority, but these models don’t need to be fit for purpose in today’s environment. If anything, their mechanistic structure, based on control, bureaucracy, and uniformity contrasts with the new norms for creativity, nimbleness, and speed that Agile management represents.

Establishing this quality management needn’t be an arduous task. Managers can take small steps to implement true transformation using methods, for example, like the Kaizen approach. This approach advocates progressive change through quality management, collaboration, and continuous improvement.

While many managers, pushed by the urgency of Covid-19 and high competitiveness in digital transformation, have opted for implementing fast, radical change, the Kaizen method promotes a supervised, slower but constant evolution in the workplace.

By focusing on teamwork, personal discipline, improved morale, suggested improvement and quality circles, the Kaizen approach is a key attribute to Agile environments and could serve as a benchmark for future business leaders.

Major Skills to Excel in the Workplace of The Future

We are witnessing a fundamental shift in the way businesses work. With these changes, business leaders need to alter their approach to the workplace and acknowledge that technological shifts, such as the deployment of automation and artificial intelligence, also go hand-in-hand with the changes and disruptive modes reshaping the business landscape.  

Improving the effectiveness of the workforce and harnessing the talents of workers is crucial for business leaders who want to prioritize a culture of continued learning within an organization. This will allow workers to remain agile in the face of disruption and build an engaged workforce that can drive innovation in the future through continuous learning.

Business leaders must possess certain skills to allow them to strive under these new circumstances. Amongst these, leaders must possess digital literacy. Covid-19 has accelerated the need for businesses to digitize work processes. Technologies like AI, Machine Learning and virtual reality are no longer futuristic concepts, but mainstream solutions gathering momentum and increasingly working alongside human employees who will need to have an understanding of these and other disruptive technologies. At the very least, employees will need to adapt to omnichannel, virtual collaboration skills as work-from-home or hybrid work models become the norm.

Business leaders will also need to sharpen their analytical skills. The proliferation of algorithms, big data and advanced analytics is partly to blame for this. With so much information at hand, the most proficient business leaders will be those who can leverage this data, analyzing it and evaluating it to produce better solutions.

The future workplace will have adaptable employees who can switch seamlessly between tasks and react swiftly to shifts in their work environment. Managers will need to embrace adaptability as well as possess the social intelligence to accommodate different styles of communication to connect, collaborate, communicate, engage and lead in different environments.

These strong leaders will need to know how to navigate disruption and capitalize on technologies to steer their company to the future. To do so, they must embrace adaptive and value-based leadership practices that will help them lead dispersed remote teams.

The ability to balance productivity with a new value-based leadership is aided by technology and agile organizations. Agile processes share leadership responsibility into smaller times that work faster, and leaders must exemplify this agility and provide daily guidance on their own development in order to future proof their agile mindset.

Mediatool helps forward thinking teams create an Agile environment by improving collaboration and saving time on long-winded processes that sap the team’s energy and hinder success. Take a platform tour of Mediatool to see how it can work for you. 

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