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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
One recommendation is to clearly articulate the vision, mission and purpose to the organization. Then verify that each division and team understand the overall organization's vision, mission, and purpose AND their roles and responsibility in achieving the organizational goals. Verify that they also understand any dependencies among the different teams to achieve the overall organizational goals. One say to make sure everyone is rowing in the same direction,is to clearly articular the corporate direction.
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
Dividing an organization is probably not the real key to efficiency. It is more relevant to well choose partners and people to work with.
In any interpersonal relationship, to understand people is very important. I founded Facial psychology to teach how to read faces and know one's personality quickly. In a few lessons you can have a true advantage and lead the discussion for a mutuam profit.
"The right man at the right place" (man or woman of course).
There cannot be a simple "yes" or "no" answer to this question. It depends on what do you want to achieve by "dividing" the organization. There are pros and cons, which will be unique to an organization, certainly not the standard ones. In any case, managers should be not be given totally free hand - it has to be in line with the corporate values and culture.
The results can not be anything better than "mediocre to poor", if division is done and responsibilities distributed without ensuring the competence of managers and clear corporate guidelines.
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.
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.
Unfortunately, I have never seen this work well. My question is why do you need to have a fragmented organization in the first place?
adding a zero to your business should not mean adding another order of magnitude of 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.
Hello Knut, the best way to manage a fragmented organization is to build an air of unity. How do you build and air of unity? Management development training. I developed a management training course on, moods, emotions, personalities and values in the work place. This training program that I developed teaches managers how to identify different moods, personalities, emotions, and values and effectively manage them to meet the goals of the organization. I also use DiSC and Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument. However I used these strategies as a support for the training program that I developed.
Once I give the training to the managers they have an entirely new out look on how to manage their employees. The training program I developed works at all levels of an organization.
When the strategies in my training program are implemented cost reduction is immediate. The employees take on a sense of ownership and want to make a quality product with less mistakes. Creating a quality product and making less mistakes causes less rejects and results in less raw materials or materials used period.
Implementing the strategies of my training program creates and uplift in morale in the organization, people want to come to work, everyone is working in unity, having fun and enjoying themselves. I used this training program at Kumho Tire USA, and our warehouse became the number one warehouse in the United States and internationally. The owners of the company wanted to know how I was able t get the employees to perform the way they were performing. When I showed them the training program I had developed they wanted to purchase the rights to it.
Essentially the program I developed teaches managers how to unite an organization to go above and beyond meeting the goals of the organization.
It is very possible to attain unity while customizing the treatment of each individual sub-organization. Allow me to be very clear on the primary success factors: 1)While each sub-organization may have a tailored approach, it must be in support of a common organizational objective. (What is your business strategy?) 2). Each sub-organization must understand how it fits into the overall organization and what their contribution is. (What is my group's role in achieving that business strategy?) (3) While there may be individual sub-organizational metrics, there must be several common metrics that are shared amongst multiple sub-organizations. (How will we/success be measured?) Case in Point: Customs and Border Protection of Homeland Security was built from three primary operational agencies (Border Patrol, Air & Marine Interdiction, and Customs). Each has different mission sets and measures, wear different uniforms, have different unions, etc. etc. However, across time, the leadership of CBP built both individual and combined force metrics to support a newly stated mission of "reducing the cross-border movement of illegal materials while facilitating legal travel and trade"...a mission that has nearly opposite parts. Each of the groups has a strategic plan, is managed by different senior executives, but share a common goal of apprehending illegal immigrants and contraband and helping legal travelers and trade partners. If you would like to know more about the full scale integration of an organization such as this, let me know... I have about 12 examples of small, medium and global sized organizations that profit from having different teams, managed through different approaches but focused on a common, global mission.
Fragmentation from economic perspective means dislocating the production through a vast geographic area. But from your post and from the commentaries so far I understand that under fragmentation you mean actual fragmentation in the organisation, that is, decoupling different units and adopting ... some kind of strategy to manage them separately for some probable future cost savings and efficiencies...
Well, if this is your point, I am afraid this is wrong either from strategic perspective and from pure organisational perspective. Not to mention the accounting perspective, where the bottom line will eventually show many red numbers.
The successful firm has a clear corporate strategy, clearly expressed by its mission statement and vision. Any organisational unit has its own business strategy and any line unit has its own operational strategy. These are the three levels of strategy in an organisation. First comes the corporate, then the business and finally the operational strategy. All these strategy must ne ALIGNED. Failing to align the strategy inevitably causes heavy distortions in the organisation which could end with losing competitiveness and ultimately, to physical end of the organisation.
From organisational perspective, cutting ties between units is a sure prescription to stimulate organisational forgetting, which is the opposite of the organisational learning. This severely affects organisational culture and the most valuable people usually leave the organisation with incompatible culture to their own. Fragmentation in this case causes the community of practice to disappear, and this is a loss of yet another power tool for building organisational integrity.
Such an organisation needs an immediate change performed. All shareholders must be informed about the state and to authorise the manager to perform an organisational change. Although very risky (success rate less than 30%) this is the only option. The alternative is organisational death.
Coaching and Training, by mixing teams and create competitiveness in the work environment, reorganize it according to the Vertical Model, develop the KPI's according to the individuals achievement, team achievement and Organizations achievements, Identify the pessimists and create a plan for their improvements, utilize the 360 feedback to those individuals who do not come up to standards
Any answer should start with understanding the reason and need for dividing. I cam from a group that broke off a new unit for a specific marketing task and new processes. That group maintained a fair amount of autonomy while getting their division off the ground. We then married the organization back together taking best practices from each division and involving people in the plan for future growth. You have some great answers already about communicating each persons role for the organization, the overall plan, and really clear vision, mission, and standard statements from the top down. Lose a link coming down from senior management and it all falls apart.
Organizations exist with fluency because there are so many various personalities to compliment each other. Each personality will assume it's strengths and weaknesses during change. It has been pointed out to me that a weakness is simply a strength mismanaged or overused.
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.