Enterprise

Young entrepreneurs should be agile in executing plans

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Young entrepreneurs should come to the realisation that strategy matters more than ever. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Central Bank of Kenya, in their June 2020 Covid-19 report shone a ray of hope by indicating that diaspora remittances, exports and horticultural products sales have started increasing.

In the midst of this positive report, time has come for young entrepreneurs to transform and embrace agile execution if they are to survive the uncertain future created by the pandemic and other factors.

The move has been to shift from Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous to Visible, Unrelenting, Concentrated and Action (VUCA). The latter is what VUCAgility is all about. Embracing agility will take young entrepreneurs transforming their employees and institutional culture more than systems, structure and processes in order to unlock their potential, make them feel engaged and equipped to create a better future that we are all looking forward to. This change will mean shifting from output to impact, projects to products, predictability to experimentation and bureaucracy to local autonomy.

To stay relevant, young entrepreneurs should come to the realisation that strategy matters more than ever and agility offers a proven approach to continuously craft and refine strategy while learning and further exploring opportunities. They should be alive to agile execution principles and approaches ranging from rapid adaption, cross functional integration, empowered teams, transparent views of working versions and trust. This is important because agile is not a goal in itself, it is a means to an end.

Embracing agility especially in strategy management allows customers to respond better and faster to changes, increase in efficiency and effectiveness by breaking down silos and increasing engagement to attract and retain talent needed in a digital world. This cannot be more relevant than today for young people in entrepreneurship.

Introducing agility and ensuring entrepreneurial ventures grow with it integrated, helps in eliminating more than half of recurring routine activities and converting them to real-time systems so as to allow time and attention to business-critical items such as profitability, partnerships and customer relationship management. Further aligning all employees to a common vision and into an agile team helps to protect them from initiatives that do not deserve high priority to those that have greatest value and opportunities. As all the changes are happening, young entrepreneurs should be careful to lead their employees with questions and not orders so that they help in evolving from silos battling for power and resources into collaborative cross-functional teams.

In conclusion, we live in a VUCA world and having an agile mindset is very important. It is not always obvious that optimising alignment and autonomy is easy because sometimes purpose, priorities and principles crush.

However, excellent agile execution is more critical in a crisis like we are in today because results and outcomes are what really counts. Young entrepreneurs who will learn, integrate and lead agile execution into a broader range of their business activities will accelerate profitable growth during and post Covid- 19.

is a senior lecturer, Karatina University. [email protected]