Our Philosophy–Major on the Majors


alarm clock
It’s Monday Morning….aaaagggghhhh!

In most places, employees (sometimes the boss) dread the Monday morning alarm clock. We can change that. Places we’ve helped have employees who want to be at work, contributing and achieving.

Without helping your customers to succeed, your organization will not succeed. Without helping your employees to succeed, your organization will not succeed. Leadership needs to ensure those successes happen. In every organization, great leadership works hard to provide the right tools—education, information, equipment, materials, policies and a transforming culture—to the organization’s teams  catalyzing the mix of talent and experience engendering the behaviors that push an empowered group’s performance to higher levels immediately.

All the elements of the organizational system need to work together.  Develop the sense of ownership throughout the organization and instill the aspect of accountability into the culture. (Accountability looks like: “see the problem, take responsibility and take action to resolve it.”)

Great leadership will be “majoring on the majors” and “minoring on the minors”. The major issues will be the factors that hinder optimal performance for the organization. Since all elements of the organizational system are connected, there are one or two linchpins which tether the limits of success. Focus on those and success will be limitless. Get trapped in the mundane, trivial nooks and crannies of the business; watch the team and the business flounder. Identify those decisions that you as a leader need to make. Drive decision-making to the lowest level in the organization where the risks are low, and the knowledge of the situation is higher. In this way, you will ensure that the team knows how to contribute, knows what they are achieving and will look forward to greeting you on Monday morning.

photo credit: drduey via iStockphoto

“No Corporate Element is an Island”

Paraphrasing John Donne’s famous line about a man, in a poem which continues with another famous line about a tolling bell, I have learned over 30 years in management and executive experience that it’s impossible to make a change in one part of an organization without affecting other areas. In order to have lasting change, and have a successful continuous improvement initiative, the whole corporate system and the corporate culture needs to be evaluated and modified where necessary.

To experience the lasting success that your organization wants, any improvement initiative needs to be anchored in a corporate system and culture that serve as the foundation for that initiative.  The elements of the corporate culture have foundational principles that increase trust, which will lead to more engagement and therefore create an organization that’s ready for change. The elements of the system include communication modes and channels, the messages, the way departments support one another, the goals that align the whole organization, the resource focus (like budgets) and projects, the supply chain interactions, and so on down to the policies and procedures that govern how we operate. Perhaps those policies and procedures help, and sometimes they hinder our efforts towards garnering success.

Change programs, in and of themselves, never work for optimizing the effectiveness of the whole organization. They work well in generating results in a micro-optimal manner (some term this as organizational sub-optimization). The whole system needs to be focused and aligned, and some business processes need to be suborned to other processes (i.e. they may not be as efficient as possible)  to optimize the whole corporate effort.

4ward Associates will help you analyze your corporate culture, and evaluate the system elements that promote business growth, and identify elements that need to be changed.  We will not bring in another program; it will not be viewed as the “fad of the month”.  Organizational transformation is hard. What we propose becomes a new way of corporate life. New operational behaviors happen because they will make sense to everyone. They will see the results, recognize their own achievement and realize how they are contributing.  It sounds simple, but we often have blinders to what’s needed. However, if you know where to look, it often only takes a few simple steps to have the bell tolling not for a business’ death but in celebration for the success of the organization.

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