Six Steps to Organizational Excellence
Leadership Freak blog posts usually focus on personal rather than organizational development.
However, Dr. Mrunal Asher, a long-time reader and contributor of the Leadership Freak blog sent me his paper, “Six Essential Steps to Organizational Excellence.” I was interested to read it and I decided to share parts of it with the Leadership Freak community.
The six essential factors of organization excellence:
- Right Customer Focus which includes identifying and then connecting customers with relevant products and services.
- Consolidation of Current Business including restructuring, mergers, acquisitions and more.
- Operational Efficiency across the organization. Dr. Asher suggests this step may be most important for long-term profitability and includes things like TQM and benchmarking activities.
- Exploring New Markets.
- Human Resource Management which includes attracting, retaining, developing, and career planning.
- Corporate Image Building by developing the company’s reputation in the mind of customers.
These can be considered the backbone for any business to succeed in fierce competitive environments.
Dr. Asher suggests that each step needs to be implemented simultaneously not as successive steps. This means successful organizations always move forward on multiple fronts at the same time.
I’m interested in your feedback on Dr. Asher’s six “steps.” Would you add one to the mix? Which are most important and/or most difficult? Thank you for your feedback.
Thanks for the reinforcement of my profession, public relations. That is what makes point #6 so essential. Reputation management is more important today than ever.
Thanks for jumping in… do you have suggestions on how to effectively manage organizational/personal reputation?
Yes Dan I do have suggestions for reputation management be it personal or organizational. It starts with an online search for your name and your company’s name on a regular basis. Be sure you are monitoring through Google Alerts and other free services. Recently I planned to do some PR for a local business professional who had won an entrepreneurship contest. When I Googled his name a negative story came to the top. This will hurt him as he looks for venture capital. He needs fresh content about himself to help drive that story down. Alas, he did not see the value of what I could provide to him as a public relations professional. Not everyone understands my profession.
Creating distinctiveness and promoting your firm/ professional services highlighting the type of benefits what your focused customers can get, will bring in good desired results.
Building company’s reputation is time consuming process and requires satisfied customers to advocate you and your firm.
Dan – not sold on this as a “must do simultaneously” list. I can’t imagine an excellent organization that does not have an excellent strategic planning process. New markets may or may not be appropriate at any given time. Corporate image may need to take a back seat to brand building, depending on current situation. Consolidation is sometimes important, and other times the last thing to consider.
What do you think are the key elements to organizational excellence.
Mark is a featured contributor on Leadership Freak. Read his bio at http://leadershipfreak.wordpress.com/mark-friedman
Dan – thanks for challenging me to come up with a list. This is kind of shoot from the hip, but feels right:
1) Service & respect – that includes customer-focus, but goes beyond to have a service mentality towards all stakeholders, both internal and external. Great organizations foster a culture of respect, service, and candor. This covers Dr Asher’s #1 and #5, but goes further.
2) Financial transparency – that requires both clear reporting and clear metrics, and as we know, what gets measured gets managed.
3) Mission & values – as Dan Pink says, modern workers need a sense of purpose in their work. The organization define how they intend to impact the world. This creates internal passion and engagement.
4) Strategy-driven – strategy answers the question “how will we win.” If every worker can’t understand how their efforts contribute to winning (however that’s defined) the organization risks misalignment and failure. Strategy also defines where the organization must excel – whether in innovation, operations, branding, financials, site-selection, portfolio, customization, community-building, or some other area. No one can excel at everything; strong organizations choose.
5) Diversity leading to excellence – strong organizations foster robust debate, and use disagreement to create solutions that are superior to any one point of view. This is the opposite of compromise, which ladders down to common denominators.
I appreciate your view points.
Strategic planning is of course a part of organization success with management of finance as the essential key. However, i have dealt with finer aspects of management to take care of organization health from a long-term perspective. Consolidation is covered under Operational Efficiency.
That seems like a pretty weak list to me, Dan. It covers a lot of ground without specifics and it leaves out two important questions. What will make you distinctive? And How will you make money?
Admittedly I did not offer much detail. Just the main points.
What makes you distinctive seems an important addition. I’m finding it takes both resolve, creativity, and most importantly courage to be distinctive.
Thanks for jumping in and adding value.
I appreciate the effort of Dr. Asher to share such a valuable steps for organisational excellence. However, I would like to add few steps to it.
they are: Leadership tranparecny, succession planning, management practices. They play deciding role to influence organisational excellence. Leadership transparecny ensures proper execution of all steps and organisation will excell. In absence of transparecy at top, it is almost impossible to maintain and create transparecy at bottom. Similarly, usually when leader leaves the organisation, people are worried about the future of the organisation. So, to address this problem, leader should create more leader, so that there could be more supporting pillars for the organisations even in case of exigency, urgency or sudden unexpected situations. Management practices affect and influence more than leadership transparecy alone. For example, if leader at top is transparent, honest and committed and is not able to disseminate and influence management to create transparent practices, then his leadership is questioned. On the other hand, if management practices are transparent, and even if leader at top is not trasparent, then it percolates to lower level and people will be transparent. So, management practices play major role in organisational excellence. Many a times, leader is not aware about the practices, therefore leaders should create a mechanism of sound and proper feed back system where each and every employee can share his or her opinions, suggestion or grievances without any fear of either losing the job or of being harassed by people. It means, whistle blower policy should be very strong and should be in action rather in policy statement.
Dear Ajay Kumar,
Thanks for adding value to the efforts made by me to highlight the essential steps to organization success. Business Leaders are the driving force and all good personal/professional traits remain as the backbone to ensure organization growth. The top management needs to consolidate the current operations keeping an eye on future opportunities to grow. Hence, the importance of customers and exploring new markets capitalizing on the built-in strengths.
Interesting points. I especially liked the part about employee implication.
Everything starts with the organization vision, mission and values; let’s call it the organization’s culture. It needs to be consistent with employee’s values and culture.
This is usually done through transparent goals and clear expected behaviours synchronized with the organization’s culture. A good way to start is to assess what is your current organization’s culture.
Once that strategy is established and clear, as you said, we need the managers’ help to communicate it to everyone. Supporting communications and trainings can help this culture to spread.
Since organizations are complex system like human being they have to evolve over time as their culture. It’s important to have a process to allow changes to occur and a good way to do it is to measure and obtain feedback for employees. That way everyone feels implicated in the process and the hiring process can use it to select appropriate candidate to having everyone aiming for the same goal and agreed with desired behaviours and values.
The described steps and processes are the same that we apply in a Recognition System as per the Recognition Professionals International (RPI) best practices. I think that having a good recognition system in place work well with excellence objectives of an organization since I consider it to be similar (empirical iterations that aim to improve over time) and a good recognition system will obviously affects performance and bring more excellence, motivation and engagement in an organization.
I would see an obvious overlap of personal/organizational development/excellence and those key personal traits/skills/awareness have to have organizational counterparts.
As others have noted, transparency is of high value. Transparent integrity seems to be an umbrella that might cover the whole array. Also agree that exploring new markets might not be appropo all the time, however would generalize that out to include the corporate image building piece, perhaps as corporate awareness.
Have to run in Kotter’s elements, particularly sense of urgency. There has to be that edge and drive, often fueled by need to keep changing, evolving. If the organization is okay with a ‘we can fix that sometime later’ or ‘we can do that tomorrow’ or ‘we are good now, no need to change’ perspective, would think that permeates the culture which is stasis which is death.
“It’s stasis that kills you off in the end, not ambition”–Bono
“It is not necessary to change. Survival is not mandatory”–Deming
Any small idea that brings value can be interesting, we just need to consider their ROI and realize those that worth it.
Here’s what could also be important:
– Recognition: Acknowledge employee’s accomplishments and potential to get them motivated and engaged. This is also essential for good employee retention.
– Care: Real care about our employees helps the retention and shows desired relationship behaviours. It may bring awesome customer experience that can raise loyalty to your company. Why go elsewhere when you are happy where you are?
– Excellence: Inspire employee to go above and beyond all the time. Demark from the others and ensure it feels great doing the best.
– Distributed leadership: Inspire people your vision and then give them the liberty and support to realize it. Monitored self-managed teams cooperate more easily and bring more innovation to company.
– Balance: Aim for the comfort zone, evaluate ROI and realize top priorities first. Do enough to meet the expectations. Include everything that makes sense and decide when you feel comfortable with the information you need to choose.
What are your thoughts about these ideas?
Good analysis as reagrds people management. Working on ROI is desirable but the essence is Human Relationship. Unless employees get respected abd recognized for their expected contributions with fairness, no other things can really work well. People need to be treated as assets and require careful handling for its retention with appreciable returns.
Hope, you are also thinking on the same lines.
Human Resource Management which includes attracting, retaining, developing, and career planning.
It is all about people, the right people in the right seats with the right attitude.
Quite true. HR indeed takes a key role in organization development and its success. It’s a strategic function and with right guidance and support coming from the top management, it can bring in the desired productivity from every employee with good systems and procedures at their places.
Thank you for the focus on this topic and to Dr. Asher for the overview. Organizational excellence is one of our favorite topics!
May I offer that while human resource management (item #5) is an important factor, a critical element to executing this business strategy and achieving sustainable operational excellence requires a culture that can lives it’s values and infuse change as a dynamic strategic asset.
Dear Ms. Judy,
Fully in agreement with your views on the importance of having right good organization culture within and the role of HR in specific. Yet, organization excellence will be the result of multiple factors and efficacy of the top managment for its strategic direction with deliverables.
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Thank you all for your contributions which geared towards the broad topic, “Organizational excellence”. All the six steps and other steps mentioned by others showed great ideas that needs to be taken into account very seriously.Developing these concepts could stemmed great foundation and emerged to future prosperity, hence lacking them could lead to major setback and invention of disarray and leadership detriment.
I would add a culture of caring, sharing information, and asking. This leads to innovation, engagement. The culture needs to be aligned with (and not in opposition to) business mission and goals.
All these comments are very useful, thank you