I have worked with two organisations in the last couple of months that both exhibited the same general problem that I believe many business suffer from, particularly those with different business units working semi-autonomously.
In one of the businesses I was reviewing, everyone was working hard and appeared to be very busy in their own Departments achieving really good results. But was the sum of the parts greater than the sum of each Department’s efforts? This is the key question for me because if the answer is “No” then the organisation itself is acting like a ball and chain slowing the business down.
I consulted many of the senior staff and they all shared a reasonably common objective “we want to be the best at what we do in our region” (I have para-phrased here to protect the innocent and avoid identifying the client!). Overall the organisation was working towards the objective, but individual actions were not necessarily aligned with the overall objective, or mission, of the organisation. It looked a bit like this:
The problem then becomes, how do we ensure we are all aligned with the vision?
This comes down to getting the basics right; having a shared understanding of why the organisation is in business, agreeing how the staff are going to work together and deciding what to do to meet the vision. i.e. once the vision is defined you need to think about Mission, Values and Strategy.
The bit that you need to spend the time on is defining the organisational values. A lot of organisations pay lip service to this and will have their marketing department define some values that look good on the website and in the company brochure, but they don’t translate into how people behave in the work place.
Making decisions becomes so much easier when you have the framework of values and strategy to act as reference points.
If you get this right your organisation will soon look like this:
In a future post I will go into more detail on this framework for aligning your vision, strategy and business plans.