The dilemma in most organizations is determining which management strategy initiative is the “right” initiative for them because so many of these initiatives seem to operate independently of each other and too often work at cross-purposes. Creating “Total Organizational Effectiveness” requires leadership to select the right strategies and management tools to create a single, unified organizational strategy.

Introduction

It’s easy to see by the throng of business books on the market that there is an abundance of management theories and management strategies out there. This makes it challenging for leaders to determine what new concepts and management tools to embrace in their quest for organizational improvement.

Many of these management concepts seem to operate in isolation and can work at cross-purposes when combined together. There is a real opportunity for leaders to occasionally undertake a review of the management tools and management strategies they are using and cull the ones that are not supporting their organizational goals. This will help them to truly achieve “Total Organizational Effectiveness.”

Interestingly, despite the fact that total usage of tools for organizational effectiveness is high and growing, studies have found that there is absolutely no correlation between the number of tools used and the satisfaction with the financial results. Therefore, it’s about using the right strategies and tools for the job and not just hoping that if you throw all the possible tools you have at a problem, one of them will work.

Achieving Total Organizational Effectiveness

To achieve “Total Organizational Effectiveness” leaders must use of the right management strategies for their organizations so that:

  • All systems, people, processes and customers are working together in complete harmony.
  • Communication is always clear and precise – everyone knowing everything needed to perform their job effectively and they understand what they do and how it links to the next part of the process and eventually to the customer.
  • Customers understand the product and services and process and have no complaints and when complaints may arise, they are handled promptly and to their satisfaction.
  • Work between people and departments and customer is seamless.

Too often, consultants go into an organization with additional management strategies and tools rather than listening and learning about the organization’s history and finding solutions that help to better use the strategies that are already in place. In many cases, the strategies may be failing because they are disconnected to the cultural norms or existing work systems or processes. Once this “disconnect” is identified and linkages are created, the organization is able to move forward successfully without additional management tools.

How to Create Total Organizational Effectiveness

To create “Total Organizational Effectiveness” start by researching all of the available tools and techniques as well as all the strategies, projects, strategic plans, systems implementations and quality initiatives your organization has used in the past.

As explained earlier, there are so many management tools and techniques that it may be a challenge to identify which is the “right” one for the given situation, so it’s important to understand the benefits of each tool. As part of your research you will need to identify:

  • What was the problem/issue that created the original need for these tools?
  • Why was that strategy chosen?
  • What were its successes?
  • What were its failures?
  • How did it impact the organization, and its staff and customers – its products and services?

The outcome of this exercise will be a list of what has been gained – no matter how small—as well as a thorough understanding of each strategy’s limitations and strengths.

Next, encourage some challenging questions in order to uncover the past, identify present challenges and design the future. To do this, you may want to begin with some Strategic Planning. This can be organization-wide or departmentally. Consider:

  • What are the issues, challenges, problems, that the organization is currently facing?
  • How do we choose the right strategy? Is it Strategic Planning, Performance Management, Six Sigma, Lean, Project Management, Reengineering, etc.?
  • What tools and strategies have we not used?
  • How can we link and build upon the successes that we’ve had?

By following this assessment process to review what is out there; what has worked and not worked for you in the past, as well as the current issues facing your organization, you are in a much better position to decide what tools and strategies you may need to use in the future and what is necessary to ensure that the tools you are using are the right ones for you. You will also need to consider how to integrate them into your organization’s operations to ensure acceptance and success.

Conclusion

“Total Organizational Effectiveness” requires in-depth understanding of the issues being addressed by the various management tools and strategies and ensures that there is a relationship between the various management strategies in place. It is a useful approach to ensuring that the tools employed are the right ones.

Michael Stanleigh

Michael Stanleigh, CMC, CSP, CSM is the CEO of Business Improvement Architects. He works with leaders and their teams around the world to improve organizational performance by helping them to define their strategic direction, increase leadership performance, create cultures that drive innovation and improve project and quality management. Michael’s experience spans public and private sector organizations in over 20 different countries. He also delivers presentations to businesses and conferences throughout the world. In addition to his consulting practice and global speaking he has been featured and published in over 500 different magazines and industry publications. For more information about this article you may contact Michael Stanleigh at mstanleigh@bia.ca