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Characteristic # 11—Building Teams

But decentralized decision-making and open communication are improved with cross-functional project teams (Chap. 7). These project teams are formed to take more responsibility away from functional areas, break down silos, and execute change across the organization. How effective these teams are depend on many factors, including their composition and role.

Cross-functional project teams go against the grain of the traditional functional organizing structure. In other words, cross-functional teams are counter to the common siloed structure that’s been in existence for over 100 years. Even so, the organization-wide collaboration derived from cross-functional teamwork is characteristic of the agile enterprise; teamwork is paramount to its success.

Characteristic # 12—Market Responsiveness

Business can’t exist without a market. Being able to analyze and respond to the needs of the market landscape I described earlier in the chapter is a characteristic of the agile enterprise. Analysis and responsiveness are inextricably linked. Without thorough and ongoing analysis, the firm’s responsiveness diminishes. Having the tools to analyze the company’s positioning and standing in their industry sector and the marketplace they service enables timely adjustments to be made.

While the other 14 characteristics are internally focused, this characteristic of the agility enterprise emphasizes the external environment the business operates in. Agility can’t be completely confined to the internal operations of a business; as proponents of the systems and stakeholder models of performance would rightly point out. Being agile requires keeping a close eye on competition and the external environmental setting.

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