Here is an excerpt from another excellent article from the archives of Talent Management magazine, written by John Ambrose. To check out all the resources and sign up for a free subscription to the TM and Chief Learning Officer magazines published by MedfiaTec, please click here.

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As organizations grapple with the increasing pace of change, workforce agility is emerging as key to becoming an industry leader.

Cross-training workers in multiple skills and providing ongoing learning opportunities delivered in the right place, at the right time can ensure an agile workforce.

Agility can mean different things to different organizational units, but one common thread persists: accelerating speed of change. Organizations must not only keep up with change, but catalyze change to keep a competitive edge. And, one critical aspect of an agile organization is a workforce with a broad skill set and in-depth knowledge across multiple areas of the business. Cross-training is the key.

Why Agility?

As far back as the 1960s, researchers recognized the environmental contexts of organizations were changing at an increasing rate due in large part to technological change. F.E. Emery and E.L Trist wrote about the trend in their 1965 article in Human Relations titled “The Causal Texture of Organizational Environments.” According to “Agility and Resilience in the Face of Continuous Change: A Global Study of Current Trends and Future Possibilities,” conducted by the Institute for Corporate Productivity, practitioners were also noticing that the nature of change was changing, and from these studies, they coined the term “turbulent environment.”

[Note: You can download a free copy of a white paper, The Five Domains of High-Performance Organizations, by registering here.]

This new terminology was an acknowledgement that the normal expectations and rules for dealing with change no longer applied, and companies that could not adapt quickly enough would struggle for their survival. This is even more the case today, as companies are battling for their corporate lives in this rapidly changing climate.

According to authors Edward Lawler and Christopher Worley in the 2006 book Built to Change: How to Achieve Sustained Organizational Effectiveness, “an analysis of Fortune 1000 corporations shows that between 1973 and 1983, 35 percent of the companies in the top 20 were new. The number of new companies increases to 45 percent when the comparison is between 1983 and 1993. It increases even further, to 60 percent, when the comparison is between 1993 and 2003.”

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To read the complete article, please click here.



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