Where to Look
In my last blog, I talked about Why It’s Important to Relieve the Organizational Pain. Now, I want to explore the various ‘places’ in your organization that could be either a symptom of the pain or the root cause of the pain. I look at an organization holistically and focus in these nine areas:
1. Your Customer.
It’s your Customer or client for whom you exist. If something isn’t going right for them, they will eventually leave. If you are not earning the trust and respect of new Customers, you won’t be able to grow. There is a lot of focus now on Voice of the Customer (VOC). In this day and age of social media, with things going viral at lightening speeds, one dissatisfied Customer can impact hundreds, if not thousands, of your current and future Customers. Make sure they are not in pain from your products or services or suffer pain trying to do business with you. Check in and listen to your Customers.
2. Your Purpose or Vision.
Your Purpose or Vision defines not only who you are, but also what you want to be. If you are not clear about who you are, or want to be, and/or do not communicate it frequently, anyone associated with your organization – inside and outside – will be confused or you will miss opportunities. Having no clear and concise Purpose or Vision can cause pain throughout the organization. Focus on the three C’s for Purposes and Visions: clear, concise and communicated.
3. Your Strategy, Goals and Objectives.
Your Strategy, Goals and Objectives define how you are going to achieve your Purpose or Vision. They should be long-term (3 – 5 years), so the time horizon is long enough to ensure you’re building in time for innovation, as well as ensuring you have adequate resources to achieve what you want. Like an unclear Purpose or Vision, not having a clear Strategy, Goals or Objectives can cause pain throughout the organization. It’s extremely important to not only articulate who you are/want to be, but also how you plan to make it happen. Again, clarity and communication are essential, as well as timely review and refresh of your strategy timeline.
4. How You Plan the Work.
If adequate time is not taken on planning out the work, to actually make your Strategy, Goals and Objectives happen, then that work is all for naught. If what you are/want to be and how you are going to get there is not turned into actionable plans, with owners, timing, deliverables and resources well defined, everyone will have their own interpretation of what needs to get done. Huge amounts of organizational waste (e.g. cost, time, duplication of effort, etc.) creep in and suck the life out of an organization. Don’t allow this painful waste to take over your organization – ensure you have clear, concise and communicated action plans in place with clear deliverables and accountability. Have the roadmap everyone can follow.
5. Your Personnel.
Many organizations claim their employees are their most important assets. Yet, according to Gallup’s® – State of the American Workplace Report 2013: Employee Engagement Insights for U.S. Business Leaders, 70% of the workforce is disengaged (somewhat present, but not inspired by their work or their supervisors). This would tell me there is a lot of pain in the area of your Personnel. Because people are individuals and there is no one size fits all solution to their organizational pain, there are a number of aspects that need to be looked at to find the root cause of the pain your Personnel are experiencing. We will explore more of this in upcoming blogs.
6. How You’re Organized.
The size and culture of your organization typically plays a great deal into How You’re Organized. Your Organizational structure defines the framework in which your organization operates. There are a variety of models that have been introduced and implemented across all industries over time (e.g. functional, product-based, matrix); some having more success than others. Again, no one size solution or organizational structure fits every organization. To prevent, reduce or eliminate the pain in your organization, though, the organizational structure must absolutely be a support, rather than a hindrance, to achieving your Purpose or Vision and your Strategy, Goals and Objectives.
7. The Work.
Does the Work that goes on in your organization support your Purpose or Vision and Strategy, Goals and Objectives? Does it add value to the product or service going to Your Customer? If not, why are you doing it? As an organizational leader, do you even know all the work that goes on in your organization? Do you really know what you’re paying for on a day-to-day basis? The Work, itself, can be a source of lots of organizational pain, as well as manifest some serious pain symptoms.
8. How the Work Gets Accomplished.
If every one of your Personnel must figure out how the Work Gets Accomplished on their own or through informal conversations with a co-worker, a lot of pain can surround the work. People can be very creative and often want to do their own thing. If the Work in your organization gets reinvented with each new employee, again, imagine all the waste to your organization. There should be documented processes (or workflows) and standards (work instructions) to be followed, so everyone is Accomplishing the Work in the same way. Frequent auditing and review of the processes and standards ensures that bottlenecks, errors, non-valued added steps and misunderstandings do not creep into How the Work is Accomplished and starts causing organizational pain.
9. How are You Doing?
If you’re not watching where you are going, you could cause your organization a great deal of pain (e.g. competitor threats, sales not meeting goals, etc.). Depending on how ‘pain free’ the above eight areas of focus are, you should have some very specific things that you can measure over time (e.g. weekly, quarterly, annually) to determine whether or not you are on track. And if you’re not, it’s important to have a disciplined process in place to take remedial action before the organization suffers too much pain.
Over the next several weeks we will dig deeper into some of these organizational focus areas, looking at how pain can manifest in one area, yet its root cause occurring in another area and discuss different tools and methods for finding and relieving the pain. Want help with your organizational pain? Click here to find out more.