Philie Group Blog

Is Agility an Outcome or a Mindset
By Mike Philie

What is an agile company and why is it important? I think of agile companies as those that are process driven. They have a defined decision making process. They take advantage of changes to the marketplace and have a management structure that is leadership team based and forward thinking. Whenever somebody’s looking at their business from a strategic perspective, I would think that these three attributes would be very important. Even more so in a transformative marketplace.


The question asked is are you an agile company? Is it because of the way you run the business, or is the business where it is because your mindset is centered around agility?


Being an agile company has its advantages. When I think of process driven organizations, I think of FedEx and Amazon. You may love them or not, but they get the blocking and tackling down right. They use technology to optimize their processes for a scalable and repeatable experience. Even with process driven businesses though, execution can come down to the weakest link in the chain. Be sure to remove any single points of failure within your processes.


How are decisions made within your organization? Do you reinvent the wheel with every new situation or is there a protocol for identifying what really needs to be done? And then, identify the steps needed to accomplish it? Are decisions made based on the “flavor of the month,” or are they aligned with a strategy that has been developed for the business? I believe that by having a clear strategy that is well communicated, your decisions can align with advancing your goals.


The management structure of your business is the most important part of becoming an agile business. While the makeup of the team can vary, it’s the overall intent that drives the outcome. For example, if your business is at an entrepreneurial stage, some of your key concerns may revolve around profit and loss for that time period and your management structure will be that of an owner-operator or command and control. Companies then migrate to growth by design, or growth on purpose. Some of their key concerns revolve around planning, structure and overall business growth. The management structure can then morph from the owner-operator model to more of a management organization. Finally, when you enter a leader growth stage, your focus is more on growing and maintaining a sustainable business model, and the structure of your team is focused more around providing leadership than managing things. We can argue semantics, but there is a difference.


So, is being an agile company right for you? Take a hard look at the three elements of your business and determine if they are where you want them to be. Ask yourself if by making these changes, you can create more value for your enterprise and your clients? Will these add more discipline within your business, create more stability in how things are done, and better prepare you and your business to take advantage of a fluid, transformative marketplace?


Changing the trajectory of your business is hard. But, changing these elements within your business when you want to, will be easier than when you have to.


Don’t try to do it all by yourself — tap into the network that you have developed and can trust to help make the best and most timely decisions for your business. If you have any comments or thoughts as to how you’ve approached these issues, please send me a note or include them below.


Mike Philie can help validate what’s working and what may need to change in your business. Changing the trajectory of a business is difficult to do while simultaneously operating the core competencies. Mike provides strategy and insight to owners and CEOs in the Graphic Communications Industry by providing direct and realistic advice, not being afraid to voice the unpopular opinion and helping leaders navigate change through a common sense and practical approach. Learn more at, LinkedIn or email at


This blog originally published in Printing Impressions.


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