HealthJune 23, 2015

Strategic agility for nurse leaders

Why strategic agility is important for executing organizational change.

In order to lead your organization into the future, nurse managers need to be strategic. But having a plan alone isn't enough. Strategic agility is an important leadership competency for change agents in healthcare systems.

A recent article in the Journal of Nursing Administration provides an infrastructure-building approach to nurse management and offers change management strategies that may help you with strategically planning and executing organizational change.

What is strategic agility?

Strategic agility is the ability to continuously adjust and adapt strategic direction in your business, as a function of changing circumstances. Strategically agile leaders don't just create new products and services; they also develop new business models and innovative ways to create value for a company.

Strategic agility is the ability to stay competitive in your business by adjusting and adapting to new challenges and innovative ideas.

Strategic agility checklist

To assess your strategic agility, a checklist identifies agility points and prompts questions that nurse leaders can ask in order to enhance success. The agility points fall within five broad categories: strategy, operations, marketing, resources, and leadership. Within each category, areas of strength and deficiency are identified, and plans to address inadequacies are developed.

In the strategy focus area, consider various scenarios that could threaten the efficacy of the organization. Preemptive measures as well as responses to the potential issues should be developed.

In the operations focus area, opportunities and obstacles in the organization need to be explored. Obstacles that could preclude agility should be removed in order to capitalize on current and emerging opportunities.

The marketing focus area addresses many elements of ongoing observation and expects leaders to sense, anticipate, respond, and adapt to subtle marketplace changes. Using available modalities to inform market decisions can be advantageous in the market focus area.

The resources focus area entails having sufficient cash reserves to allow for quick entry into new markets and services. Strengthening the resources focus area requires good stewardship of financial as well as human resources.

Lastly, the leadership focus area assumes a talent pool of leaders is available for quick deployment. Adaptable organizational structures must exist to address both the routine business and market volatility.

Key enabling capabilities

To enhance strategic agility, organizational leaders must simultaneously address strategic sensitivity, resource fluidity, and collective commitment.

  • Strategic sensitivity - both the sharpness of perception and the intensity of awareness and attention
  • Resource fluidity - the internal capability to reconfigure business systems and redeploy resources rapidly.
  • Collective commitment - the ability of the team to make bold decisions.

By incorporating these approaches, nurse managers and executives can lead with flexibility to seize new opportunities and contribute toward organizational growth.

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