An individual who desires growth in his work-life attempts to learn whatsoever may be useful to him in achieving his objectives. One who is successful has also adapted himself to the environment. Organisations must similarly aim to develop the capacity to continually reinvent themselves and change.
The external environment offers our businesses a whole lot of challenges and threats, for example: having to keep pace with ever changing customer demands, the onslaught of innovative competitors, delays on the part of suppliers, requirements of government authorities and keeping abreast with new technology. A large part of our daily work-life includes wrestling with these pressures. However this is something over which we have little control.
We use a variety of techniques to sway these factors in our favour. To respond accurately to customer demands we use marketing campaigns. To counter great ideas from the competition we come out with our own attractive offers. To ensure supplier support we reaffirm our credit-worthiness. To meet demands of the authorities we often come to a compromise. To develop new skills we allocate more time and money.
On the other hand, we have far more control over our internal environment. What could we do to positively influence this area? An organisation poised for growth generally stands on a solid foundation of a good work culture. This is generally rooted in the values that employees are strongly committed to and have developed over several years. Setting the mood to one of openness by offering employees satisfaction in work, a sense of purpose, belonging and dignity would be a basic beginning.
It is a well-known fact that individuals as well as organisations are resistant to change. People have been using the same business practices for years. To take a bird’s-eye view of what is going on, it is critical to momentarily detach yourself from the daily workings of the organisation. Put together a well-selected task force committed to defining a long-term vision. Take a reasonable amount of uninterrupted time out. Meet regularly if only to analyse the updated scenario afresh. Monitoring and processing feedback collected through questionnaires and interviews is also essential.
Generally a separate team implements the vision of the task force. It thus becomes necessary for this team to understand and believe in the plan. Gaining the support of its key members or opinion leaders would help influence the rest of the team to share in the vision.
The flatter the hierarchy the easier the approachability and communication. Problem solving is a regular function in the journey towards improvement. Assembling all the relevant information is necessary for an accurate diagnosis. This must be followed by a detailed management action plan. The program should also include a good support system to sustain its momentum.
It’s all right when we agree to disagree as long as we clearly have in perspective our organisational goal to be healthy and visible. Over time people learn how to do things better: from innovation to decision making, from resource allocation to conflict resolution. Managers must constantly try to improve the “fit” between employees and the organisation and between the organisation and the environment. It is in fact this orientation of the employees to the team and of the team to the market that will determine the outcome of their effort.