What role does agility play in securing future success for your business?

We surveyed over 1000 businesses to find out what they think.

Click play for a summary of the findings... and find out more below. 

We carried out over 1,000 survey interviews in November 2019 and September 2020 with the help of YouGov and Censuswide. We wanted to find out what role agility can play in securing future success for your business.

The COVID-19 crisis has presented a challenge for us all. Companies of all sizes have had to face huge changes to their operations, and in some cases even their viability to remain in business.

While businesses continue to shoulder the weight of the financial, practical and emotional challenges of the pandemic; the crisis has also presented opportunities. It has forced all businesses to approach activities differently. This has undoubtedly spurred innovation, opened up new markets and forced new ways of working with potentially positive implications for attracting and retaining talent in the longer term.

To understand the effect of the pandemic on businesses, and in particular their ability to adjust to the current trading environment, we commissioned a large-scale survey of business leaders in the UK over the past last 18 months. The two interview surveys combined provide a unique view of how such businesses will adjust to succeed as we recover from the worst of the pandemic and learn to live, and do business, alongside COVID-19.

We surveyed senior decision makers within customer focused businesses in Financial Services & Accountancy, Real Estate, Construction, Retail, Media/Marketing/Advertising, and Hospitality & Leisure. We asked them about:

  • their short and long term business objectives
  • the importance of agility to operate in a changing business landscape
  • what agility means to them. 

The findings show some interesting results. Companies' attitudes have unsurprisingly shifted from those they had pre-pandemic, with an increased focus on agility. And the business implications of the pandemic have proved very sector specific. However, looking ahead to the long term business goals across all sectors there are reasons to feel positive.

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We believe agility is vital to the continued success of our clients. We conducted this research to help us better understand what agility means to businesses and how they are using it to deliver their business goals.

GILL WHITE, PARTNER

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Agility secures post-COVID-19 future

By interviewing businesses in November 2019 and September 2020, we have a unique perspective on approaches to business agility before and during COVID-19. One of our key findings was that 82% now consider agility important to their future, up from 66% before the pandemic. 

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Business focus for the next 12 months

In Autumn 2020, the immediate priority for 22% of businesses was recovery from the negative impacts of COVID-19. However, over a third (37%) were focused on growing either organically, by increasing market share or through acquisition. There are significant differences between the focus on key business sectors depending on how much they have been affected by the restrictions. 

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For longer-term business goals

Our study shows in the medium to long term, views on business objectives for the future revert to close to those recorded pre-pandemic. 91% of businesses believe their main objective will have graduated from the recovery phase to focus on growth, building market share and diversification in 3-5 years. 

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Perception of agility has changed

The crisis has reinforced and changed views on the importance of agility and what will be needed to operate in a changed business landscape. Nearly half of businesses (47%) consider agility to be much more important in achieving long-term goals post-COVID-19, with a further 35% reporting that agility will be slightly more important.

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What constitutes agility

The decision making ability of an organisation is viewed as the most important quality for future agility, over and above business leadership in itself. Technology and financial management have also risen in importance given the challenges of the last year.

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