Sunday, April 4, 2021

Stucky Factors of Business Ineffectiveness

Forward looking leaders have better sense to capture business trends, gain the insight to understand things holistically; and move energy to a higher level by offering a clear vision of what is possible and trendsetting for making the future brighter and unlocking performance quantitatively.

Organizations rise and fall, not on the quantum of plans and resources, but on the capabilities to manage, lead, yet most important to execute. Business leaders need to gain a complete awareness of organizational intricacies-what is happening in the business, not just based on the visual part on the surface, but also about knowing how-underneath to improve business maturity. It’s also crucial to understand the barriers to change and potential pitfalls on the way to strategy execution by clarifying the vision, gaining a systematic understanding of people dynamics, resource alignment, and technological impact.

Stuck in corporate bureaucracy:
Many organizations that have an overly restrictive hierarchy are inflexible, silo, command & control, and often get stuck at the low level of organizational maturity. To scrutinize the root causes of bureaucracy, missing synergy, or diagnose the symptom of dysfunctional business systems/processes, etc, the business management needs to check: In which circumstances the productivity is low and synergy is missing; in which circumstances, people are not working via the system to solve the real problems but play the system to stifle innovation or build “comfort zones” and create friction to changes, etc.

Bureaucracy causes stagnation, outdated rules will stop the business from moving forward with accelerated speed. Organizations, like individuals, need to be in flow to operate smoothly. Debureaucratization is a management practice that helps the organization to step out of the “comfort zone,” battle bureaucracy, eliminate silos, have managers of respective functions to interact in a structural setting on a consistent base, allow the business units to reach across the aisles and work closely with each other to enforce cross-functional communication, participation and relationship building and accelerate business speed.

Confusion, misunderstanding, unable to bond to a common organizational goal/cause: Many organizations get stuck at the daily “busyness,” but ignoring the long term strategic goals setting. The effective business logic is: defining a set of strategic goals, making links to business strategy alignment, back to departmental outputs and team/individual work outputs, then the linkage between strategic and operational can be relatively transparent. Streamline and enforce scenario planning, program life cycles, business initiation, requirements management, risk management, resource management, governance (progress, finance, quality and change), with comprehensive dashboard reporting and value tracking.

Setting and achieving the S.M.A.R.T goals is the critical step in strategy execution. How do you expect people to implement the “SMART” goals they do not know or they have not participated in formulating or setting? Do not think of a “SMART” goal as a management mechanism only, ensure having a goal that has the business purpose first. In order to set and achieve smart goals, all the people involved in implementing them need to be involved. The relevant goal classification and clarity helps the leadership team keep a pulse on progress and enable the execution team to understand what needs to be done by setting the right priority, and evolving the emerging business properties with speed, to steer the business in the right direction without getting lost.

Unpredictable business performance:
It is no surprise that there is a tension between “old and new,” from the business model, mindset, process or practice perspectives. Assessing the performance of new ways to do things perhaps challenges because of unpredictability or unrepeatativeness. But innovation would be rewarding as it could significantly unlock performance. Even though you couldn’t predict anything beforehand, you can always imagine different scenarios based on “lessons learned” with many experiences involved in current or in the past. The other dangerous part of performance measurement is when the performance system is connected with the motivation system on an operational level, but disconnected from the strategy management. So people keep their hands busy, but the company as a whole perhaps goes nowhere. It is important to define the strategic level performance indicators which take into consideration the possible implication on the organization as a whole and the future orientation.

Performance Management gets "stuck" when business leaders or managers -the people in charge get "stuck." Most organizations fail to manage performance effectively because they only focus on assessing past performance, not future performance. The incomplete assessment of measurement variables would also mislead the management making ineffective decisions or focus on short-term business results only. A robust performance management system needs to be designed with end users in mind, more future oriented, output driven, not process-driven, etc. The purpose of managing and improving performance predictability, is about setting performance metrics to evaluate the status of strategy management, making objective assessments of business results, and understanding performance measurement contextually. The good measures motivate teams to achieve more but the bad measurement perhaps enforces silo thinking and distracts the business management from achieving the ultimate goals.  

The digital era is full of uncertainty, velocity, complexity, and ambiguity, many business changes or transformational efforts are symptomatic of not having a comprehensive understanding and taking a stepwise approach to managing a seamless transformation. Forward looking leaders have better sense to capture business trends, gain the insight to understand things holistically; and move energy to a higher level by offering a clear vision of what is possible and trendsetting for making the future brighter and unlocking performance quantitatively


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