Is it possible to attain unity and efficiency in dividing your organization?
Managers tend to adapt to these challenges by simply treating different teams or divisions using different approaches (according to the specific needs of each), – but, alas, this usually produces mediocre to poor results. So how does one manage a fragmented organisation? How does it help in minimizing costs and effort of a company? Will it contribute to a positive development in your organisation?
Changes in business is never easy. Good communication to address objective behind changes is a Key. Explain what organisation wish to achieve and then split role and responsibilities.
As more and more work is produced in an hour, the overall productivity level ... you can measure the average output of your workers, you will need to select a unit of ... of output produced in your decided time period and dividing it by the number of ... are through advances in technology and improvements in worker efficiency.
The «glue» that holds an organization together is not the use of standardized procedures or approaches, particlularly when your business and contextual environments require agility and diversified approaches.
The glue is alignment of all your employees and stakeholders through a proper shared vision.
You will succeed in your role as upper management if you are able to design a purpose for your company and its employees, a shared vision that gives sense to their work and that engages them fully.
According to Gallup, only 15% of employees worldwide (30% in North America) are engaged in their work, with multibillion dollars of negative impact on productivity. You won't solve that by continuing to apply the same old «recipe» approaches that aleniate the creativity of your human capital. You will only improve this situation and increase productivity if you have a vision to share that includes your employees. Then, you will not have to worry, they will work together and design themselves (self-organize) diversified agile solutions that will work a lot better than anything you can dream off alone or with outside consultants.
French researchers (Institut d'agilité des organisations, Grenoble) have coined a new word for what I am talking about: «effisense». They say, and I agree, that «effisense» (to be able to give sense, share a common purpose for the work you are doing together for an organization) is a «predecessor» to both efficiency and effectiveness (hence productivity); it promotes and increases employee engagement, which is itself an unavoidable predecessor to higher, suitainable organizational performance.
So as managers, be first and foremost visionaries and include your workforce in a shared vision. Not only this will result in minimizing costs, it will help focus on increasing benefits and value.
I did a little presentation on this same subject a while ago to the International association for the advancement of cost engineering (AACEI) that you can find there: http://fr.slideshare.net/claudee/aacei-montreal20130219 .
I hope this comment is useful to you and helps you envision a different approach to «standardized» processes, because this is this «recipe» approach that has deprived organizations from using «efficiently» their human capital and collective intelligence and that has consequently put us where we stand today economically, not a very confortable place.
Cheers from Montreal
First, we (that would be people) divide organizations because it's just way too much work to not divide them. Imagine trying to succeed in which there was no separation between the computer scientists and the HR professionals. Someone is going to come back and say that those kinds of separations don't need to be formal, but that is just dancing around the fact. Whether on an organization chart or simply through reality, we do divide our organizations into groups that we can efficiently manage. Now, having said that, the first step (IMHO) is to figure out HOW you're going to work. Once you have the "how" figured out, putting together an organization that best supports that "how" and minimally interfers with that "how" is a lot easier (but not exactly easy). An important part of figuring out the organization is to recognize that it does not have to be a traditional hierarchy. It can be flat like Nucor was twenty years ago, or it can be strange like Morning Star (the tomato packing company), or it can be a traditional pyramid. It can be whatever you need it to be to support your way of getting the job done. Two things that are really important to remember are:
1. Parkinson's law -- bureaucracies grow at 4% a year regardless of the need -- because work tends to expand to fill the time available
2. Dunbar's number -- there is a maximum number of people who can be truly aware of what is happening within an organization (that number is somewhere between 150 and 250, depending on who is stating it). Above that number, the person-to-person networks are simply overwhelmed by the amount of data flowing. W.L. Gore recognized this, in a de facto manner, when Mr Gore dictated that no Gore business unit could be larger than 250 people.
This article on the Venturi Effect addresses your issue head on.
It's a process that keeps an organization unified while using the best approaches to different challenges. This a new concept for a common problem. Fore example, accounting and marketing need to managed differently because of the very nature of their challenges.
adding a zero to your business should not mean adding another order of magnitude of people
Unity and efficiency usually occur when the team or divisions are pulling in one direction. If your groups are currently fragmented, they may not have an idea of the strategic vision of the Company. It is important for the leadership team to put this in place. Each year there can be measurable/ goals(rewards) put in place as steps towards this strategy.
To effectively communicate your strategy across the teams/units your management team could hold webinars/site visits to make sure everyone buys in to and is energized by your vision.
Unfortunately, I have never seen this work well. My question is why do you need to have a fragmented organization in the first place?
This subject comes up all the time with the companies I coach. It has been my experience that each team is treated differently due to their own skills with the ultimate goal of 'results' in mind. However, this individual treatment does not relieve the leader from holding the team accountable to:
1. The company core values
2. The company's mission
3. The individual's commitment to keeping their work and earning their keep
The old adage that there is 'more than one way to skin a cat' is absolutely true. Leadership is not control, it is direction, accountability, vision and communication.
I hope this helps.
Is it possible to attain unity and efficiency? Yes - as long as you are communicating, communicating and communicating more. As well, including the organization (representatives from top to bottom) in the restructuring and repositioning, and be open/transparent on the risks, opportunities, changes, etc. coming down the road.
How does one manage a fragmented organization? Fragmentation occurs when leadership is lost - whether that is in the lack of clear communication of the vision, mission, value and more of the organization..... as well, when leaders are dictating the changes not recognizing the impacts proactively and putting in solutions, tools, etc.. to support it.
The greatest risk to organizations going through major change is the fragmentation, which certainly results in significant cost increases, employee loss, and productivity drainage.... if leaders don't lead change, they are simply signing up for: good people leaving and poor producers staying and wreaking havoc on productivity, output and efficiency..... resulting in a toxic company.
Plan, communicate, include, communicate, plan, test, include, communicate - and you can have a positive impact on the company...
Change is not easy...don't sugar coat it with your company and they will respect that and be willing to stick it out if everyone is engaged in the process.
As Newton's Third Law describes: "All forces in the universe occur in equal but oppositely directed pairs."
Feelings are part of us all and it’s our responsibility as managers to "manipulate" the emotions of our teams in to the best outcome possible. Some of the best results are the result of conflict, putting experts with opposite technical views in the same room will spark mature ideas. But never forget to re-balance the equation it’s crucial for the long term stability of the team.
I am an advocate of "Small Unit Leadership". Small businesses tend to rely on flat organizational structures. This becomes problematic when encountering growing pains and the entity grows outward instead of upward. By implementing leadership, throughout even the smallest teams, that is passionate about the brand, corporate vision/mission, etc., consistent management can be maintained throughout a fragmented organization.
It emphasizes positive development, professional growth of employees, reduces costs through increased productivity.