Global Study: The Organizational Agility Lessons from Higher Education

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The higher education sector has a lot to teach other industries when it comes to organizational agility. That’s what we found in our global survey of 998 executives, “Organizational Agility at Scale: The Key to Driving Digital Growth.” It shows the majority recognize that organizational agility is key if they want to drive long-term digital growth. And, perhaps more tellingly, we found that there is a strong relationship between digital revenue growth and organizational agility. Although the study was conducted prior to the global pandemic, many of the pain points and opportunities identified by higher education respondents look prophetic in hindsight.

We identified five key behaviors that are crucial to organizational agility, and then grouped survey respondents based on their level of adoption of these behaviors. “Leaders” (15% of respondents) achieved high performance across all five of the behaviors, while “aspirers” (30% of respondents) achieved high performance in four of them, and “laggards” (55%) achieved three or fewer of the behaviors.

Here are the five behaviors that are necessary for organizational agility:

Continuous planning. They plan in a continuous, real-time manner, which gives them the speed, agility, and dynamism they need to innovate successfully. 

Fluid structures and processes. Leading

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