At least since the dawn of comic books, kids have played the game, “What superpower would you like to have?” Being able to fly? Invisibility? Super strength? The choices are endless.

In today’s business world, probably the most valuable superpower would be time travel. Seeing the future to navigate change would be priceless. Never has change come faster and from more directions over the last several years. Creating an agile business—one that can quickly and resourcefully respond to change—involves embracing change, using data and developing a high-performance culture.

Don’t Fear Change—Embrace It
Economists try to predict what’s coming. Will there be a recession? A soft landing? Where are interest rates headed? Will tax rates go up or down? Read three different reports and get three different outlooks. Instead of fearing what could come, design a plan of action with choices based on how the economic climate may move. An agile business owner is prepared for different tax and market scenarios and ready to take advantage of whichever ones become reality.

Few things change faster than technology, and in the RIA industry, there is no shortage of tech options. The array of software systems for portfolio accounting, portfolio analysis and financial planning—not to mention the nearly countless integration packages to coordinate them—can be overwhelming. Staying abreast of technology can pay off, however, as a recent study by Orion has shown that the “majority of managers surveyed who integrated wealthtech effectively were also the firms that showed the best growth trajectory.”

For RIAs, one of the biggest drivers of new technology is the demand for more personalization of client communications. Customized performance reports and projections are expected, and technology is required to produce them.

Put Data To Work
Making projections based on various tax and market scenarios relies on having reliable data and putting it to work. Too often, business owners fall into the trap of getting so caught up in day-to-day operations that they forget to look at the bigger picture. Paul Lally, principal at Wipfli, describes this phenomenon as spending too much time on the dance floor and not enough time on the balcony, looking over the whole ballroom. That’s where those aforementioned customized reports come in handy.

To be able to take slice and dice reports then take advantage of market opportunities when they arise is agile. To do this an agile business owner needs to have both a firm grasp of their own company’s fundamentals as well as a clear picture of industry benchmarks and how client portfolios perform.

More importantly being well-versed helps to recognize a good merger or acquisition opportunity when it comes along. Having a clear picture of the revenue, expenses, potential taxes and cash flow of one’s own company gives a business owner the confidence to act quickly when a good opportunity arises.

Focus On Performance, Not Just Growth
It’s easy to confuse growth with performance, but they’re not the same thing. Sustained growth can happen because market conditions are good—a company can ride a wave of generalized strength in the economy without performing at its best. High performance means operating at the top of the game no matter how the market is faring.

A high-performance culture starts at the top, with a leader who takes the time to consider what type of workplace they’re building. The key is creating—and communicating—a mission-driven culture that all employees are inspired to support. With everyone committed to the success of the organization, the details of where and when people do their jobs will be easier to manage.

Leaders then coach their associates at all levels in the workplace. They understand the priorities and work behaviors of younger associates, which may be very different from what they experienced in their careers and provide a hand up with guidance and support. These are the professionals who will take a firm forward for decades.

The world, and especially the world of business, is moving at a faster pace than ever before. Business agility is all about anticipating what’s ahead and being prepared for it, not just waiting for change to happen. Collecting and using data gives the business owner the confidence to welcome change rather than fear it. Building a high-performance culture structured around a common mission provides the framework to succeed in the face of whatever changes the market and economy have in store.

Rick Dennen is the founder and CEO of Indianapolis-based Oak Street Funding, a First Financial Bank company with customized loan products and services for specialty lines of business including certified public accountants, registered investment advisors and insurance agents nationwide.