Monday, July 22, 2013

Five Steps to Building an Organization That Achieves Goals



One of the most satisfying experiences I have had is building a workforce that is focused on achieving and exceeding organizational goals. I have found that taking five steps can have significant impact on this process. The six steps are:

·      Design the organization and workforce structure around the goals of the organization. This is more easily accomplished if you are starting a new business and more difficult for older and more established businesses. As I have mentioned in past posts, it is helpful to envision an organization successfully meeting its goals and think about the structure and employees driving that organization. Those goals can be making a certain level of profit, reaching a certain market segment, being a market leader, providing a certain level of service and so on. Many businesses may have all of the above and more as stated goals.  With these goals in mind it is important then to look at the organization’s functional components, finance, sales & marketing, production, distribution, research and development and make certain their goals are aligned with the organizations goals. For example, having an organizational goal of meeting customers specialized needs will have difficulty if the production arm of the organization is focused on cost control. Here, the production goal might be restated to find the most efficient method of fulfilling customer’s needs. Sales and marketing in this instance would need to focus on working with customers to find solutions that efficiently meet their needs. This allows the organization to strive to meet the customers’ specialized needs while providing efficiently designed customer solutions to the production department.  This will almost always require open communication channels between the organization’s functional components.
·      Clearly articulate goals. Beginning with the hiring process, keep the organization’s goals in mind. If the organization is structured properly, then the workforce positions in each of the functional components will support the overall organizational goals. In the previous example, marketing secretaries will understand the kinds of services being offered and know how to direct traffic to the right marketing individual. Production personnel will constantly be on the look out for more efficient methods to produce quality outcomes.  Accountants will focus on tracking costs and providing information to improve the organization’s ability to provide the best service competitively while generating acceptable profit levels.
·      Design training around organizational goals. Training new employees and retraining long term employees will have to be focused on meeting organizational goals. Here customer focus is very important. If employees can see how they fit in to a process that successfully addresses a customer’s needs then employees are more likely to be engaged reaching organizational goals. I have been involved in an organization that was large and well established but operated on internal departmental goals that built resentment and reduced cooperation between departments. By changing the organization’s focus to the customer we improved interdepartmental communication, efficiency, customer satisfaction and profits.
·      Design pay and bonus structures around organizational goals. Pay and incentive programs should be designed to achieve organizational goals. Using the previous example, if production personnel were rewarded on low cost per item produced and sales and marketing were rewarded for market share improvement and the overall organizational goals were to meet customer’s specialized needs, there would likely be friction between departments and dissatisfied customers. On the other hand, if both departments were rewarded for achieving market share growth and improved profitability then the organization and the customer are more likely to be successful.
·      Be careful about adding new jobs and new functions. Every new job or organizational function should be evaluated on its ability to help the organization achieve its goals. Executives and department managers can be very persuasive when requesting additional resources. It is important to use organizational goals as the metric to determine the need for the additional resources.

In addition to the above steps, when developing programs to engage personnel and build relationships with customers it is important to keep organizational goals in mind. It will be hard for employees or customers to see how lavish parties promote efficiency. On the other hand, well thought out social events can build relationships that foster good customer relations and employee morale and focus.

The process described above is fairly simple but requires daily focus. I have found that when orchestrated properly, it results in an organization that routinely exceeds expectations,  has customers that are satisfied and a workforce that is self directed and motivated.




No comments: