Leah Andrew
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The ship is stuck – reflections on agility and resilience

What do a stuck ship and your organization have in common?

When the news about the stuck cargo ship in the Suez Canal first hit the news towards the end of March, it dominated conversation in my house. It wasn’t just the sheer size of it (which is mind boggling). It was the fact that it was well and truly stuck. And that it couldn’t be quickly fixed despite the ripple effects it was having on global supply chains.

In fact, CBS news reported that the obstruction was holding up $9 billion each day in global trade. Further, it was straining supply chains already burdened by the coronavirus pandemic.

It’s not just that it was stuck, it’s how it happened. The cargo ship operators were not only maneuvering through a tight channel with minimal wiggle room. They were also dealing with sandstorms and wind bursts. 

What’s more crazy is that it appeared as though the Suez Canal didn’t have contingency plans. 

In short, they lacked agility. Both physically and strategically. And for many organizations, agility is now considered a survival trait to steer through the changing waters of the global pandemic.

Agility - the ability to respond quickly and nimbly is more important than ever.

This cargo ship actually has many parallels to the pandemic. What if we thought of the sandstorm and wind bursts as the pandemic and organizations as the ship?

For many organizations, the pandemic was a wake up call. They found themselves stuck and unable to respond.

Although organizations can’t plan for everything, one of the best things to do is to try and build agility into business operations.

For some, it was leveraging technology to digitize outdated accounting processes, while for others it was investing in resilience training for employees. The organizations who have been able to make agility part of their company DNA will navigate this sandstorm and be more prepared for the next one.

When you reflect on your organization’s agility, do you notice an improvement from a year ago to today?

Or do you still feel like you’re caught in the sandstorm?

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