How high performers are accelerating ahead

Operational agility: moving quickly in a customized world

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The most successful companies are able to respond to new opportunities and threats very swiftly.


Our previous studies revealed that high performers were beating their competition to market by improving processes, devolving decision-making and pursuing speed from their partners. This year’s research, however, suggests that high performers are starting to slow down – or at least their speed to market is not accelerating as quickly as it once was.

This suggests that just being fast to market is sometimes enough: the risks of being first are beginning to outweigh the opportunities.


In the past, consistency has been a priority for business leaders. But in today’s world, flexibility can be a better strategy than consistency. Companies need to be ready to respond to changing consumer demands, new risks and opportunities, as well as the challenges of an unpredictable economy.

Our research has found that action taken to increase flexibility clearly separates high and low performers. High performers adapt their product or service portfolios, decentralize decision-making, develop employees and, in particular, exploit new technologies to improve flexibility.

Actions taken to increase flexibility

EY - Actions taken to increase flexibility

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Actions taken to increase flexibility

Q: Which of the following actions has your company taken to increase its flexibility over the past two years?

EY - Actions taken to increase flexibility

Source: EIU panel survey, August-September 2012. All charts show percentage of respondents.