The Single Most Important Management Tool to Grow Your Business
Is your organization ready to succeed?
What is the most important management tool? Good question, I’m glad you asked. First let’s define Why it’s important to you and every other Manager or Leader interested in growing, fixing, or changing their bottom line results. No matter what you are trying to achieve in your business, the best strategy in the world is completely ineffective without the ability to implement it effectively. Business leaders get stuck defining the best strategy for their organization, mining market and customer data to find that sweet spot, the one that gives their business the best advantage. Lots of time and lots of money gets spent, but the most important, most impactful, most effective information gets overlooked. Business leaders and managers forget that their organization is a living, breathing group of people, systems, processes and structures that may or may not be ready or able to implement their plans. Focusing internally to understand your organization and set them up to execute effectively is the best way to achieve results…period. So let’s discuss the single most important management tool to grow your business…the one that gets your business ready to succeed-Organizational Discovery, setting the baseline to benchmark your business for growth.
What is Organizational Discovery?
First let’s just say that Organizational Discovery is NOT about fixing what is broken. Nor is it a measurement of existing efficiency. Organizational Discovery is the process of mapping the business, people, systems, processes, and structure as it is today compared to NEW organizational goals. The key is to effectively align the current business with where you want the business to go, determining what is working and what needs to be adjusted in order to achieve new objectives:
- Are people looking at the things that matter to where the business is going, or are they acting in a way that is reflective of achieving current results?
- Are teams engaged and structured to support the future path, working together in a way that will achieve expected outcomes, or are they focused on silos and fulfilling parallel or sometimes conflicting destinations?
- Are the systems being used today capable of supporting anticipated growth or are they in need of some adjustments?
- Is your organizational structure (people and roles) aligned with your new path or are you compromising your path based on your exiting structure?
- Are people aware of the new expectations and do they understand the big picture as well as their individual and team roles in making it a success?
These are just a few of the many areas that organizational discovery explores. Imagine looking at your organization from a new perspective: people, processes, structure and objectives to ensure they are working, aligned and effective to do something different.
But the benefit is not only to be informed. It is also to inform. When you work together as an organization to listen, learn & understand who and what you are today, you are able to collectively make the commitment to fix what is broken, expand what is working well and invest in the things that fill the gaps that were once misunderstood.
Lead Positive Change In Your Organization
Organizational Discovery is a team building exercise that brings people together. It’s different than traditional team building because it is directly connected with results. It brings people together, it sets the infrastructure for a new course, and it gets everyone on the same page. So how can you get started down this path to success? Here are a few steps you can take to lead positive change in your organization:
- Define, with clarity, your new strategy: what are your overall business objectives for the next 3, 6 and 12 months?
- Ask each department leader to define how their team’s current objectives will need to change in order to achieve the new business plan. Not only what their new team objectives are, but…
- How will their department need to change?
- Who will they need to work closely with and how should they improve those working structures?
- What changes must take place in their operating systems to streamline their workflows?
- How will their team culture need to change in order to achieve these results?
- What structural changes must be made in order to better define roles and responsibilities to support the new look and feel of the department?
- Involve all levels of the organization in the momentum. Not only to roll out the new expectations and path, but also to capture their opinions, suggestions and feedback as to where roadblocks exist. This process gives everyone a voice, engages teams, breaks down existing silos and establishes a solid infrastructure to support your NEW results.
Avoid the Pitfalls that Cause Many Organizations to Fall Short of Success
- Don’t stop short of including your entire organization in the discovery process. Differences in perceptions cause confusion and chaos. If you rely only on management to define their teams, you run the risk of excluding people and disengaging them as change occurs.
- Don’t judge differing opinions as a negative, seek them out and encourage them as a starting point to develop ultimate solutions. Using third party surveys is a great way to get everything on the table in a comfortable and safe environment. Data is not personal, it tells a story that is undeniable and that story can be used to teach and get buy in from the entire group.
- Don’t stop the discovery process after the first go around. Change takes time and commitment. Organizational discovery is not only a tool but also a cultural change in your company. It requires people to be honest and willing to work together. It requires trust and that trust must be reinforced by a continuous process over time. Each step in the discovery process sets a benchmark to continuously improve upon. Make sure that all aspects of your organization are included, documented and followed up on each year to ensure nothing falls through the cracks. The more you do this, the faster you will be able to implement positive change year over year.
Remember, successful organizations have an infrastructure of people, processes and structures that are informed and engaged on the same strategy. This engagement allows them to absorb objectives into their roles and interpret what they can do to bring the most value to the collective result. When you can get all the pieces in your infrastructure working together efficiently (without wasted time and resources), you will succeed at achieving your NEW direction.
Written by Lisa Woods, President Lisa Woods Consulting & Founder of ManagingAmericans.com
Lisa is a dynamic business leader & author located in Western New York with more than 20 years experience leading, managing and driving growth in the corporate world. Today she partners with business leaders to understand their vision, identify internal and external roadblocks, define a practical strategic path forward and guide a successful transformation. This work includes strategy definition & goal setting, organizational design, facilitating team buy-in, establishing visual metrics, internal and external research studies, business feasibility assessments, and investor insight into organizational strength, weakness & strategic opportunity. She helps business leaders drive growth & increase profits.
Strategic Consulting ǀ Management Consulting: Strategy Realized