Thursday, May 9, 2013

EFFECTIVENESS part two – Process

We can determine the most grand and appropriate focus for ourselves and for our organizations. But, like an airplane on the ground that just looks pretty, our focus is of minimal worth until we fire up and make it fly. How do we do that? What do we do to support the move toward focus?

First, we need to be convinced that the future is not something that just happens, but it is something we create. In the words of Peter Drucker, “The best way to predict the future is to create it.” In reality, we do create it; we become who we think we are, and our organizations are precisely where – because of our actions and responses to outside events – we determined they would be. Granted, there have been some pretty horrific events that made our ability to adapt extremely difficult. Regardless, there were some companies that failed, while similar companies, succeeded.

Second, we have to know where we are. In a certain organization, the supervisor of a significantly technical department, quit. Leadership moved a supervisor from a totally different area into leadership of that department. This individual did not understand what these people were doing, and never spent the time to learn. Understandably, he was completely ineffective.

To maximize your movement and efficiency toward your focus, you must know where you are. Those who are working in the current environment – employees, supervisors, children (in a family) can provide a meaningful and accurate picture. Of course, statistics, past record, and other data are also important.

Third, develop steps that precisely and efficiently move toward your focus. Continually ask yourself if the goals and functions are the best to get you where you wish to go. If they aren’t, delete or modify.

Throughout, involve your people. Particularly involve the front line folks – the people who have to operate using the processes and procedures required. I have seen business after business succeed marginally or fail completely because leadership thought they knew it all. “Thought they knew it” is key here. It was not because they purposely tried to destroy their organization. They just did not ask the right questions of the right people. Thus, their basis for decisions were flawed.

There are other areas of importance. However, remember: while focus is critical, so is the process to move towards it. The more effective the process of alignment and actual operation, the greater probability of success.