Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Which approach to High Performance is your Organization Pursuing?

Every digital business is hunting for its own 'Magic Formula' to achieve the high-performance result! 

Digital businesses become overwhelmingly complex to run, different organizations may take a different approach to pursue high-performance result. The fact that in many organizations, there is no clear direction simply illustrates the importance to make such differentiation or point out the correlation of key elements in an organization. Should you improve performance through people, systems or innovation, and what are the best approaches and practices to optimize the performance result?

People: Today’s digital business are people-centric, and the digital businesses are serving customers, also run by people, but people are perhaps still the weakest link in it. As more often than not, if the strategy has not been communicated clearly from the top down, people might not have a clue what objective and KPIs are, what are the better processes or tools could be used to make continuous improvement to achieving their performance outcomes.Talent needs to be empowered and enabled to unleash their potential and fulfill company's vision.  

Systems – Think of well-established organization: The complexity of its operations requires the establishment of a clear strategy, based on objective, outcomes, structured around initiatives. People come and go. Therefore if a system is not in place, their roles are not defined, they don't understand the purpose of their roles, it will be very hard to run the business effectively & earn the profits. PTI - People, Technology, and Innovation are required for improvements but again this is managed by systems & well-defined processes. 

Innovation – Many businesses are driven by branding decisions. Coming up with new collections which resonate with the marketplace is the main driver for performance. But, more often, there is no system in place. The brand is on the surface, and without systematic support, it won't last long. Thus, innovation is not just about brand designing, it has to permeate in every function of business, touch broadly from process to capability; from communication to culture, and from products, service to the business model. 

Surely, a combination of these three approaches is ideal and many organizations would like to think of themselves as doing a bit of each. However, a dominant approach should be evident upon close examination. The measurement system has to be one commensurate with such complexities. A combined approach of people driving systems and process, but supported by simple and practical tools to help embed the changes in behavior required to establish continuous improvement in the fabric of the company.

The secret is to keep it simple, use KPIs to look forward and create alignment from the top down, but support problem solving and providing solutions from the bottom up. People are engaged, have ownership and there is a certain level of transparency over who does what when and how. The better approach is perhaps to create your tailored ‘magic formula’ with the right mix of people, process, and innovation for getter high-performance outcomes.  


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