As the year winds down, it is human nature to reflect on the past year and begin to make plans for the next. Business planning is an important function in every organisation, but how often do we relegate it to the “something to do when I get time” pile.
A process of planning that works for me is to begin with the vision for the future, organisational values and mission or purpose. Develop goals, analyse the environment and then break it down into tactics or strategies to achieve the vision in the environment in which the organisation operates. Finally complete the business plan by identifying the gaps and the steps needed to address those gaps.
In recent years there has been much written, and spoken, about resilient organisations. What does being resilient mean? One definition is to withstand shock without permanent deformation or rupture. Another is to recover from, or adjust easily to , misfortune or change.
What makes an organisation strong and therefore resilient to outside forces?
My answer is “the people”
There are a few steps you can take to build strong organisations- I have listed a few that I think can be easily implemented in any organisation.
- Recruit well: Select people for attitude and build the skills they need to do the job well
- Train well: From day one, have an orientation programme that helps your new recruit to understand the culture and become part of the organisation quickly. Have a range of training options to continually up skill your staff member (ie one-on-one “buddy” system, mentoring/coaching, formal study programmes etc)
- Communicate well: tell people stuff! Involve your staff in what is going on, good and bad. Involve them in solutions, trust them with information. Have conversations about your organisation, the industry, the economy- what ever is going to affect you.
- Empower: Delegate authority to the level it needs to be. Not everything needs to be held by the management team. Your life, your staff’s working life, the customer experience; will be much better if your staff are empowered to make decisions.
- Reward: Pay as much as you can for the skills, experience and attitude your staff member brings to the job. However, reward is not just about money- shout morning tea, send a thank you email, take someone to coffee, say thank-you, tell someone they have done a good job- simple things that will make a difference.
- Systemise: Develop systems that support the jobs that need to be done and the people doing them. Take out the hassle, the bureaucracy, the unnecessary steps and create more efficiency.
- Continuously improve: develop a culture of continuous improvement, of looking for a better way and challenging the status quo. Have the conversations that matter to your organisation.
A strong and resilient organisation will withstand outside pressure and get better and better- and you will have a team who can help build it.
Following on from my last post about strong and resilient organisations, this post is about balance in an organisation. Many years ago I came across the “Kaizen Square” as a tool in Total Quality Management (TQM). The square, seen below, describes perfect balance in an organisation where strategy (improvement and future plans) and maintenance (operations) are divided evenly across the organisation. While it was originally developed to suport TQM, it is an ideal illustration from which to develop an organisational development strategy.
Where would you place your line? Even if you are a sole operator, you will know instinctively where the line fits. To build a balanced organisation (and therefore a strong organisation) you need to think about where the line is, and what you have to do to move the line down.
Some steps you can take to move the line down are:
- Identify all the tasks/roles you perform and allocate them to “Strategy” or “Maintenance”
- Who is best suited to carrying out the task/role?
- What training is needed to ensure the task/role can be carried out at the right level?
- Develop a quality improvement culture to continue to “sharpen the pencil”
Effective implementation will help you to develop a stronger organisation by creating more balance, freeing up time to develop your organisation for the future.