Episode 122: 5 Simple Ways to Be More Agile in Your Business

September 5, 2022


You watch other teams or companies test a new product or pitch a new idea like it’s always been a part of the plan, but whenever you look at what’s ahead, you feel like there’s no space for quick new changes, or like you don’t have the agility or the ability to do it?

That’s what we’re talking about today – the permission and the necessity to be agile in your business. As the leader, how do you get buy-in from the people behind you, everyone from your team members to your potential clients? So, let’s talk about how things could look with more agility in your business.


[2:16] Leadership Deficits 

This is something that I’ve definitely struggled with in my business. There have been times when I’ve felt like everyone else is so quick to make moves and not to overthink things when I’m over here, with my giant whiteboard mapping out a six-month strategy that feels like it’s going to take a ton of my resources and my time. 

Over time, I’ve identified that those primarily stem from leadership deficits, which we all have. Leadership struggles can totally prevent and get in the way of being agile. But the good news is that they are areas that we can work on and, at the very least, become more conscious of so when they creep up, we can get them in check and still pursue the things that are on our hearts.

[3:56] Not Rocking the Boat and Fear of Failure

The first deficit that you might experience and might not even be aware of is just not wanting to rock the boat. The offers you have are doing okay, your clients are content and your team is good. But “good” is the enemy of great, and I think sometimes when you have that feeling where you just don’t want to make things tougher and things feel easy, that’s a major red flag because  it indicates that there’s a gap in your leadership. Leaders are always seeing the possibility and the potential, they’re not weighing whether or not they’re going to do the right thing based on what’s easier or what’s harder.

Right in line with that is the fear of failure. We’re constantly assessing and weighing whether or not we want to take something on and then we get flooded with all the fears and the doubts. But that fear of the unknown and then specifically the fear of failure, are opportunities for growth. You have to give yourself permission to be a successful leader and to go into the unknown. You have to have the courage to continually go forward to build that momentum and to trust that your headlights are going to expose what’s right on the other side of the light. And the only way that you’re going to see what’s on the other side of the light is to continue to inch forward to letting go of that fear of the unknown and accepting it as part of the journey. 

[7:18]  Playing It Safe and Letting Your Ego Ride the Train 

Next is playing it safe. Generally speaking, entrepreneurship is not really for the risk-adverse kind of people. So, if you have this immense fear of taking risks, I would imagine that a lot of aspects of entrepreneurship are quite torturous and tumultuous for you. But there are a lot of elements of both leadership and entrepreneurship that are boldly taking risks and knowing that with that risk comes the possibility of failure, the possibility of mistakes, of people seeing you fail, all the things that can hurt our next leadership deficit, which is allowing your ego to drive the train. 

The ego gets a bad rap but it’s not all bad, it can serve a purpose. But at the same time, it can also totally slow us down. A leader cannot continually allow the ego to be the one to make the decisions. And oftentimes, that’s why we’re not agile, that’s why we’re not taking the risk because the thought of the pain that could come with a public failure or trying something and having your team question whether or not you’re a good leader, is scary. So your ego is there to serve its purpose when it’s necessary, but it’s not in control.

[9:47] Stop Doing It All Yourself 

Another reason why it might be hard for you to just go, to experience, to create, to test is that you are still trying to do it all yourself. I’d be really overwhelmed testing something new too if I didn’t know that I had a team of people that were behind the mission, and they want to test and try new things. They want to innovate with me, because they know that that’s what will impact the company. So, don’t lean into laziness because you don’t want to train someone new and don’t lean into ego because you don’t want to trust that someone else can come in and support. 

The next piece of the puzzle is being a totally reactionary thinker. Going, creating, testing, being off the cuff – part of that comes from being a visionary thinker, being proactive, seeing how this one move today could get you closer to the long term vision. If you’re constantly in reactionary mode, and you’re just thinking about doing what’s under your nose, that’s a deficit that you need to work on. Because being a leader means being proactive in your thinking, looking years ahead, seeing how these moves, and these changes, and these tests could potentially build the momentum, and at the very least give you the answers you need to get into your next level. 

Speaking of the team, are you galvanizing them? Are you rallying them behind an idea or are you just throwing another task at them? Galvanizing is a leadership principle. It’s a leadership skill that helps you to rally your team around an idea and a mission that gets them excited about the premise of testing something and giving them the permission and the empowerment to try and make mistakes.

[14:45] Five Simple Ways to be More Agile

I’m going to talk through five really simple ways to be more agile:

  1. Number one, is just being open to what’s working and what’s not in your business. Assess, but don’t stress. You have to create the time and the whitespace to be able to look at things and ask yourself are they actually getting you closer to where you want to go.
  2. The second piece of being agile is giving yourself the space to figure things out. Think about those things and talk to your team about those things and work on the vision. What simple tweaks or tests could get you closer to that vision?
  3. The third thing, and to me the most important of all of them, is keeping your family mission and vision in mind before making any changes. You have to ask yourself: Will this shift take me out of integrity with my values?
  4. The fourth thing is mapping out the steps needed to move forward and not overcomplicate it. Schedule a meeting, have fun with your team and galvanize them, get them pumped, get them fired up, help them see the vision of why this shift and why this agility is going to be a benefit to them and to the people you serve.
  5. The fifth thing is just freakin ‘go. Make mistakes, don’t put all your eggs in one basket, be flexible, learn as you go, develop it on the fly. Answers come to those who take action and when you take action, it might not be perfect but that’s all a part of leadership.

I hope today’s episode encourages you to bring some new life into the business, into the work that you do and it helps you overcome some of those leadership deficits and to get more agile.

And if this episode spoke to you, make sure to subscribe and leave us a review! Come connect with me on Instagram at @elizhartke! If there’s a topic, a question or a guest you want to hear on the show, just reach out and share that. We do this for you so the more you tell us, the more we can serve.


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