Last time I talked about an overused buzzword in business and outsourcing, collaboration, and how Vested Outsourcing takes it from overuse to useful.
So while that memory and momentum is still fresh, another oft-used term for this occasional series is “agility.” While most every company prides itself on its agility in reacting to the vagaries of the marketplace and economic cycles, how many are truly agile in the face of the unexpected? Not very many, I’d submit.
It so happens that Tim Cummins, writing in his Commitment Matters blog this month also has agility in mind. In fact he says right out that “today’s contracts are not agile.” Rather, they tend to stifle agility and flexibility. Cummins continues that agility matters “because of the need to innovate.” And innovation “comes not only from our own ability to innovate, but also the ability to take advantage of the innovations generated by our business partners.”
This is really essential in the contracting world “because contracts and the way we define and allocate risks have fundamental effects on the extent to which innovation occurs. If we allocate risks – rather than creating relationships that seek to manage them – then we stifle innovation – because the innovation itself becomes a source of risk.”
This is spot-on, and precisely where Vested model’s built-in collaborative process for articulating, measuring and achieving desired outcomes, and for creating agreement structures with insight, rather than oversight as the hallmark of the relationship translates into an agile mind-set.
Because “business happens” and it’s impossible to game-plan for every event and risk, especially when companies and service providers are locked into conventional short-term, least-common-denominator, low-cost, transaction-based deals, the idea of agility is just that, an idea not a reality. If a contract or agreement is strictly an exercise in risk-avoidance and risk-transference, then agility goes out the window. Simply put, it’s difficult if not impossible to react quickly to changing conditions when that kind of relationship prevails.
In my mind while flexibility in thinking and outlook is necessary, it is not necessarily equal to agility. Agility is proactive in translating or implementing that flexible outlook in a way that has an impact quickly and with real world results.
In a Vested relationship the Five Rules encourage and implement agility in the day-to-day management of the outsourcing deal.
Indeed just as it’s hard to imagine a Vested relationship without collaboration, one without agility as a natural by-product is equally hard to fathom.