A classic organisational dilemma. Optimise performance in a component of a business by establishing strong teams that are allowed to insulate themselves – perhaps in Silos – or focus on removing all internal barriers to optimise cross functional excellence and agility. I believe that Leaders can do more to optimise a balance between building efficient teams (ones that develop excellence within their particular domain) and enterprise wide effectiveness that minimises internal silo barriers to optimise agility. Moreover, enterprises that optimise this balance have a better foundation for maximising the value of their organisational data.
Increasingly aired doubts over the effectiveness of annual performance appraisals and the evolution of business simulations software leads me to a perspective that enterprises have new avenues to align individual discretionary behaviour and enterprise needs.
“Marginal gains means looking at all the things we do, and never assuming we couldn’t do them better.” Dave Brailsford.
Enterprises that have continuous improvement in their DNA, as opposed to a we have always done it this way mentality, have a foundation for improving their competitiveness. Too few senior executives devote material effort to sponsoring improvement initiatives.
A purpose statement is a valuable complement to traditional vision, mission and values statements – particularly were there is a transparent link to individual goals, objectives, initiatives and targets AND where it is used to help educate people on the business. Individuals with a strong sense of purpose, that is aligned with the enterprise, are well positioned to contribute innovations to both continuous improvement and new offerings.
Enterprises need to develop a broader understanding of the spectrum of stakeholders in their enterprise and the expectations these stakeholders have for the enterprise. This includes broader society and necessitates Business looking at how it contributes (positively and negatively) to society at large. I encourage all Leaders to develop a simple annual plan of activities to secure and then optimise dialogues with the full spectrum of their stakeholders. The objective being that Stakeholder Engagement improves year on year resulting in greater understanding of the enterprise amongst stakeholders improved commitment to the company’s strategic agenda.
The overwhelming evidence that action is needed to reduce our use of Carbon creates a wealth of opportunities for business. Whatever the environmental views of a business leader, I believe there is a fiduciary duty for Leaders to proactively look for opportunities to improve sustainability of their own businesses and those through out their supply chains. This blog provides some examples and suggests that sustainability initiatives will benefit from the application of the “dual operating systems” advocated by John Kotter
Clear, effective, communication of an appropriate “Tone from the Top” is but a first step to meeting the challenge of securing alignment of Corporate Strategy, Vision and Values and the people delivering an enterprise’s products or services. Implementation of activities to set the “Tone from the Top” need to be institutionalised into Corporate DNA and any “blockages” in the cascade of Tone from the Top messages right across the organisation is effectively identified.
The World Economic Forum 2014 outlook highlights “A lack of values in leadership” as one of the top 10 opportunities / challenges for the next 18 months. This Blog argues for a holistic “values-driven” approach that cascades from Mission and Values through vision, goals, objectives, to initiatives, measures and targets sets a foundation for effectiveness – by transparently linking the efforts you need from your employees and stakeholders to the strategic imperatives of the enterprise.
It can often feel as if our enterprises are being subjected to avalanches of boulders as our rapidly changing world places new demands on our enterprises and open up – between the boulders – new opportunities. To exploit these opportunities we need people to learn and unlearn capabilities and increasingly to “re-invent themselves” through their professional careers. Strategic Talent Development (defined as providing the link between talent management and employee engagement) can help enterprises thrive in our agile world by facilitating changes in attitudes and to leading, managing and organising people. In particular grounding talent development in future needs rather than past performance.
The UK Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) and the Management Innoxation Exchange (MIX) are currently running a “Hackerthon” entitled, Hacking HR to Build an Adaptability Advantage. Setting the scene Gary Hamel pointed out that organisations are not designed to be adaptable and that corporate histories generally show long periods […]