Friday, June 20, 2014

Running business at Strategic Way

Organizations have personalities in the same way that an individual does

Most of organizations get stuck at low to mid level of maturity today, they are running in silos and not agile to adapt to the changes; at functional level, business managers work at operational mode, rather than strategic way, it may cause short-sighted vision or stifle innovation, so what’s your organization’s 'personality', and what’re the better way to run today’s digital business?

Framing bigger box: Business leaders have to push and encourage themselves and others to "frame and think in bigger boxes"; think outside of your job description and consider company and industry and even societal impacts.  Assume that every problem has multiple solutions and ask yourself and others for three ways, you might address this issue. One may be much better than the others, but push for multiple solutions. Take the time to look at every situation from multiple points of view, customer POV, supplier POV, management POV, and employee POV, etc. The senior executive teams intend to build a future state blueprint for the improvement program; to create a target to focus on the valuable resource; to sell the benefits of thinking more broadly before jumping into action.

Organizations have personalities in the same way that an individual does. Most often, an organization's personality replicates the personality of its leader. Some people may mentally be "planners" while others naturally "shoot from the hip.". The ones that shoot from the hip tend to leave the plans on the shelf and never use them, while planners value the effort and thinking that went into that plan and ensure it is used regularly as a living document. Trying to find avenues where decision-makers can see how different ideas and actions could potentially impact others. The reactive mode without consideration of the impact of their actions on the system often creates confusion as the ripples (unintentionally) affect many others.

The most effective use of a plan of any kind is as a brainstorming driver. In organizations that tend to "shoot from the hip”, there is a lack of strategic and tactical plans for problem solving, or the plan is written on high and passed down in stone without employee participation. All too often, plans are written and stuck on a shelf. The result is an absence of guidance in daily problem solving. The best way to avoid the leadership gap is to have every employee write a section of the plan that pertains to their particular area of expertise. They need to codify who their "suppliers" and "customers" are both inside and outside the company. By writing their personal business plans and communicating that plan to their "suppliers" and "customers", they help to ensure that everyone they do business with on a daily basis understands how issue resolution affects them. By having discussions about the plan at all levels of the company, people learn how best to work together to serve the customer. Without that discussion, it may never be recognized that a plan is not workable. 

The use of open questions is very powerful. For example, exploring how the idea aligns with organization's vision and key strategies. Then looking at what impact it might have in a few years. And exploring what impact the idea is likely to have on other stakeholders - internal and external. However, the ability to operate in the mode to find and implement a quick solution is often rewarded because it is so visible. This quick solution is very focused on the specific problem so the broader picture and potential impact on other things is not explored. These are exactly the situations where the solution may well ripple into more problems that did not exist previously. Organizations, especially the functional managers shall understand the benefits of taking the broader view before jumping into action. If this can become a habit replacing the ‘firefighter’ or 'bean counter' mentality, it would be more advantageous in the long run.

It takes practice, practice and practice to think and act strategically, business leaders shall not only be strategic thinkers themselves, but also help others to be more aware of how to think strategically and to understand that their actions, even if they are small, affect the system, running business at strategic way can ensure its long term prosperity and improve organizational maturity.


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