AGILE TEAM: The Secret to Delighting Your Customers

IT’S ABOUT YOUR PEOPLE. So, McKinsey & Company has been conducting on-going research for several years into understanding what builds differentiated advantage in creating customer value, loyalty and superior experience.  In their latest series of white papers and articles published in March 2016, McKinsey comes at this crucial question from several different angles but consistently with a common thread – the main differential is the ethos, attitude and skills of your people that make the biggest difference.   The article entitled THE SECRET TO DELIGHTING YOUR CUSTOMERS: PUTTING YOUR EMPLOYEES FIRST, does a good introductory job of sharing some of the rationale for this orientation and also why we include PUTTING PEOLE FIRST in our AGILITY CORE BELIEF SYSTEM in what we call THE AGILE IMPERATIVE.  


  • The world will continue to move faster and get more volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous (VUCA) in the future – a lot more.
  • Agility is not just nice to do. It is imperative for survival and creating a competitive advantage in a VUCA world. 
  • Your people are the highest priority. They are the basis of your adaptability and the key to customer satisfaction. Providing them the opportunity to grow and develop is paramount. 
  • All members of your organization must share a mindset of commitment to being focused, fast, and flexible, fueled by achieving excellence in the five drivers of The Agile Model®
  • Creating agile culture and values is vital to success: caring, connecting, challenging, curious, and creating. 
  • The agile operating principles that help shape organizational agility include simplicity, speed, synchronicity, fluidity, modularity, and scalability. 

Our world is accelerating and the waves of turbulence crashing hard every day as our business teams strive to navigate together through LEVEL 1 to LEVEL 5 rapids AND at the same time deliver a customer experience that doesn’t feel chaotic on their end.  We have the pleasure of working across numerous different industries, geographies and company cultures from high touch personal customer experience of banking and financial services to well-known consumer lifestyle apparel and packaged goods brands to aviation, retailing, manufacturing and even nationwide garbage collection and recycling.  We consistently see THREE primary themes in almost every environment we operate and the all invariably come back to the PEOPLE EQUATION.

The three axis’s of AGILITY often come down to accelerating your capacity for better & faster decision making, creating superior customer focus/experience and building an overall CULTURE OF AGILITY.  In every case, the central delivery system for these value creation drivers – YOUR PEOPLE.  Over and over again, we see and observe vast differences from company to company and even within companies from one division or department to another on the level that the leaders GET IT.  Those who do understand this people equation as the juggernaut to organizational speed, adaptability, resilience and customer experience will move faster, become stronger and gain greater employee and customer commitment.  Not necessarily a new concept – it’s just harder now with all the dynamics and the VUCA context and therefore the focus and effort must also be greater.

This journey for superior customer experience must start inside your organizations as you try and optimize the end-to-end employee journey and viewing them as your most important customers.  When you make that paradigm shift in how you think about your employees – you are heading in the right direction.  

Love to have your comments and feedback.  What has been your experience and perspective?


Tom O’Shea, CMC

Organizational Agility Practice Leader