Characteristics of a Gymnastic Enterprise

Think of the difference between a palm tree and an oak. Under normal circumstances the oak grows big, strong, even mighty. But it cannot withstand wracking storms the way a flexible palm tree can. 

Admittedly, the market has been hit with economic storms that have disrupted working conditions, supply chains and schedules. The mighty oak-style traditional enterprises that have withstood the test of time have suffered in these storms, but those who could adapt to change not only found new ways to make things work, they even completed scheduled projects on time. 

This is the “Gymnastic Enterprise” approach, the new wave of business practices, as termed by the Project Management Institute. Even if socio-economic events levelize, business will continue to change rapidly as technology pushes the envelope and this approach will continue to be relevant.

A gymnastic enterprise learns how to deal with unknowns on the fly. It can interchange people, and adapt to changes in costs and supplies as needed. These are the characteristics of successful gymnastic enterprise/mindset, as outlined in a PMI Pulse of the Profession 2021 report:

  • The business focus is on the outcome and the benefits that it can bring, not on the process of getting there. 
  • It’s about the people involved, not their titles. The traditional top-down, departmental style of management is not flexible enough. Gymnastic organizations give their people the power to innovate individually, and to work together across departments and stratums.
  • The workplace itself becomes flexible, with members working from anywhere through IT, including from other countries. There is more availability for global participation.
  • The focus shifts from how team members get their work done to the quality of the work they produce. Some may choose to work nights or weekends, for instance. 
  • Team membership may be flexible, with some people called in to work only temporarily on a certain part of the project. 
  • Leadership is open and assistive in the creation process, more as a team leader than a hands-off manager. 
  • Employees become team members that have a vested interest in seeing projects succeed.
  • Corporate culture is transparent. All of the team has a need to know in order to achieve success. 
  • Team collaboration is welcomed, because everyone sees a different facet of the problem and has different skills to contribute. This encourages greater personal diversity. 
  • It encourages micro-learning, developing new skills as needed to accomplish the job, and cross-learning. Team members become increasingly more valuable to the team.
  • The side benefits are a culture that is more relaxed, respectful and receptive, with a higher emotional intelligence. 
  • There is more opportunity for women and diverse people to become group leaders. 
  • There is a better life-work balance, which attracts the next generation. 
  • New technology is eagerly embraced as a means of innovation, expediency and connectivity.
  • Projects are more likely to use Agile or a hybrid of Agile and Waterfall than standard project management.

Gymnastic enterprise is an open concept, a more flexible way of accomplishing goals, with innovation that can lead to business expansion, as well as greater individual feelings of accomplishment and acceptance. It blends well with changing technology, and with Millennials who now dominate the workforce.  Schedule a free 30-minute consultation to explore project management challenges in your organization.

BDM Squared is a boutique management consulting firm providing project management and business process improvement on demand.  Our mission: help our clients deliver their projects on time and on budget every time. Our edge: real-time access to our constantly updated, comprehensive project dashboard. At any point in the project, know that you’ll have access to every detail – every document – every resource being managed for your benefit.