Solution For Business Management Charlottetown PE
Solution For Business Management
Are you facing seemingly unsolvable problems or insurmountable obstacles? Are the conventional management methods not delivering the results that you need, when you need them?
If so, you may want to consider managing with a more holistic and integrative management approach. No, this approach is not some New Age fluffy stuff. It’s powerful, grounded in science, immensely practical – and being used by some of the most effective CEOs and business owners out there.
Traditionally, most business management has been based on two overriding assumptions:
Assumption #1. Business can be thought of—and managed—as a collection of parts: products, people, departments, customers, processes. Success results (so the thinking goes) when these parts are designed optimally and executed flawlessly. We achieve this success by compartmentalizing the company, by having different people responsible for different functions, and by creating and executing Best Practices.
Assumption #2: Superior performance results when there are no problems, glitches or errors in our company. If our organization is not performing well, the assumption is that what we need to do is to find the problem and fix it. Once we identify a problem, we mentally isolate it from the rest of the operation or company (which we assume is okay), analyze it, come up with a solution for what’s wrong, and implement it. Presto, the problem is solved – and overall performance (so the thinking goes) leaps up to where it should be.
We’re always in the process of rooting out problems and inefficiencies or introducing new and improved methods. Maybe we think we have an IT problem, a customer retention problem, or a morale problem. We look for experts in those issues, either within the company or outside, and ask them to solve the problems. All so that our operation can get back to normal.
These compartmentalized and problem oriented management methods work well when we’re dealing with a machine. When it’s not performing well, we can usually trace the problem to a particular part of the machine. We fix the part, and the machine runs well again.
But a company is not a machine. There are no sacred rules written in the sky that say, “Once each department or unit is operating optimally, great overall business performance follows” or “Once you have fixed all the problems, your company will soar.”
Our conventional approach to management makes it easier to deal with the complexity of a company and to organize how the work gets done, but it leaves out one of the most important dimensions of a company: the overall purpose of the company – and how all of the parts fit together to serve that purpose. The recognition of this gap gave rise to the concept of systems thinking some two generations ago.
Holistic Management to Revitalize Stagnant Companies
Consider the experience of a CEO who led two back to back corporate turnarounds. Observed from the outside, it may have looked like all he was doing was solving the companies’ problems and optimizing the performance of each part. But there was something more going on. He had adopted a holistic approach to management.
In the first turnaround, instead of just attacking the myriad problems of a company losing money, customers, employees, and managers, the new CEO started from scratch by having its nearly 3,000 people focus on what the company would look and feel like when it was successful. In other words, he began with a powerful vision. He then created a compelling mission and, with employees’ input, a strong set of values for everyone to rally around. By first engaging and inspiring employees, the CEO prepared the company for making big strides in product quality, customer service, market share, and profitability. In just three years, the company quintupled its shareholder value, and employee morale soared.
When hired to revitalize the second company of 5,000 people, the CEO was told, “Feel free to clean out the deadwood,” an expression of the assumption that a company’s stagnant performance reflects the presence of underperforming people. Get rid of them, and the way will be clear for the good performers to lift the company to higher performance. The CEO, a self proclaimed contrarian, instead kept every person in the organization, and together they brought about a turnaround that added more than $3 billion to shareholder value in a stagnant stock market.
The traditional approach of looking for a company’s flaws in order to fix them can be counterproductive. It sends the message to employees that they are flawed and poor performers, hardly the attitude needed to lift performance. This is one reason our CEO did not do that. When he called on people throughout both companies to work with him to restore the company to the vitality and success it once enjoyed, people became energized and then enthusiastically pitched in to help make the company succeed.
In both examples, a weak management system kept people from being focused, collaborative, decisive, and innovative – and became a contributing cause of inadequate performance. The conventional management system, often called the “silo approach” concentrates on each of the major functions or operations of the company. The CEO manages down through each silo; the functional heads report up to the CEO, and the CEO is largely left to deal on his/her own with conflicts between the silos. This becomes cumbersome in a fast paced economy and often slows implementation of major changes in business strategy.
By contrast, our CEO created an integrated strategic management system that facilitated outcomes far more successful than the traditional, silo approach – and faster. It consisted of the key senior executives:
The Holistic Manager
Holistic management represents a shift in perspective that opens up a new world of opportunity and possibility. The holistic manager…
……sees (and manages) the company as a whole, as an assemblage of interdependent parts, and as a set of human relationships through which great human energies flow.
……puts energy into defining and continually referring to the overarching features of the company that align everyone in a common endeavor. A company’s mission is one example, not just because every company “needs” a mission to put on its website, but because the mission will be a beacon to inspire and guide employees. Why we are in business can become a rallying cry, a motivator, and a source of strategic advantage.
…… pays as much attention to how the company and its people operate as to what the company and its people do. Both aspects are equally important in achieving success, but most companies spend the vast majority of their efforts on the doing aspect. A company’s values provide a guide to how we operate; for example, how we treat each other, how we treat our customers, and what decisions we make.
…… recognizes the benefits generated by providing opportunities for employee growth. When people are encouraged to learn and develop their skills, they appreciate their employer and seek to contribute more.
…… provides employees with room to breathe and to contribute by honoring and encouraging a freedom to work on their own to achieve specific goals or to solve problems. In the process, unexpected greatness can emerge.
…… has a unity mindset, stressing the “we” in how we operate and how we achieve success. People, often from different functions and different parts of the company, work collaboratively as a normal way of operating.
Make the Transition
In times when problems are coming at you fast and furious, use Holistic Management to transform your company into a high performing organization. Put all those problems into one “pot” and ask yourself and the others on your team:
1. What do all of these problems have in common? Are they signs of deeper or systemic problems?
2. What changes in overall aspects of our company—its purpose, values, strategy, customer relationships, and the like—would remove the problems or diminish their impact?
3. What new strategies for carrying out our mission or expressing our values might help alleviate those problems in the process?
4. What can we do to get everyone on board and eager to help make our organization successful?
Holistic management changes your perspective of how a company functions. It also helps you to engage people in helping to define and envision success, to shape the strategies and projects to get there, and to collaborate to make that vision a reality. The result is rapid change and a revitalized company.
Darwin Gillett is author of NOBLE ENTERPRISE: The Commonsense Guide to Uplifting People and Profits, from which this article is adapted. Through his consulting, coaching, keynotes and seminars, he helps business executives create competitive advantage and achieve sustainable growth and profitability. To learn about his publications and services, visit http://www.noblebusinesssolutions.com.
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