Organizational Development work is like putting together a puzzle – there are business pieces, people pieces, metric pieces, process pieces and financial pieces. You need to take all the pieces into consideration and explore how they fit together until you see the big picture. Once the picture unveils itself the path is clear and a structured approach you address the missing pieces, which can result in increased collaboration, productivity, engagement and ultimately profitability.
When working with companies I focus on five steps, they are: Creating a Company Vision and Values, Assessing and Developing Executive Leadership, Designing Strategies and Supporting Metrics, Improving Talent Processes and Developing leaders, managers and employees.
It is vital a company has a living vision and active values. By this I mean the company’s vision should enable decision-making and provide a common understanding of what success looks like. The company values should show employees how they achieve the vision, how they should behave and interact with each other, their customers, vendors and shareholders.
A recent Harvard Business Review article talked about vision in this way, “…Rally your team around your vision. Your people and stakeholders will have to make sacrifices, so you want them to believe in your view of the better future that they can achieve.”1 A vision will guide leaders, managers and employees when making decisions – it is the guiding start – a picture of what success looks like.
Everyone from the top down should understand and if not buy-in at least accept that the company vision is a picture of what success looks like. The values should be modeled by the senior team and as Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner say in their book, “…you have to realize that leaders aren’t just speaking for themselves when they talk about values that guide their actions and decisions. …they aren’t just saying, “I believe in this.” They’re making a commitment on behalf of the entire organization. They’re saying, “We believe in this.””2
Next, we need a collaborative, cooperative, communicative and competent senior team. Senior Executive Team have succeeded in their career, so they are generally competent and communicative. Collaboration and cooperation are sometimes a challenge, with individuals who are more comfortable with competition. I have found helping senior team members with self-awareness through discussion and a validated tool is often challenging. I like using Jungian types using the Insights Discovery© profile.
Strategies and measures are next, they need to connect to the company vision. The number of metrics needs to be manageable on a timely basis. They need to be easy to understand, measure relevant things and that is why I use The Balanced Scorecard© for developing, tracking and communicating a company’s metrics.
“The Balanced Scorecard Links Performance Measures:
• How do customers see us? (customer perspective)
• What must we excel at? (internal perspective)
• Can we continue to improve and create value? (innovation and learning perspective)
• How do we look to shareholders? (financial perspective)”3
The scorecard uses the customer, internal, financial, innovation and learning perspectives to provide a critical list of balanced metrics tied to the company vision.
The format makes it easy to understand and explain. Once the company level metrics are established, each business unit and department can show employees how their work connects to the company’s progress, as illustrated by The Balanced Scorecard© and ultimately how it connects to the company’s success (vision).
The last two steps Improving Talent Processes and Developing leaders, managers and employees, also need to align with the vision. Connecting the dots for leaders, managers and employees provides a roadmap for decision-making and actions both internally and externally.
Talent Processes including reward, recognition and compensation processes need to reflect the company’s values. When employees demonstrate they understand and embody the values the recognition processes should be aligned. Promotions of course should be aligned with merit and values driven behaviors. For example, I have witnessed cases where the sales team will tout their ability to “fool” the customer and the stated company value is Integrity. In this case the belief system and culture is undermined and can eventually break down. It is also advantageous to align business processes including decision making, marketing, and strategic planning.
Lastly leaders, managers and employees need to be developed as employees and as members of our communities. Knowledge and competencies will support and help develop the expected behaviors. It is our responsibility to help our employees understand the part they play in the company’s success (vision) and provide them with the tools and knowledge to support their success. In short help them learn what they need to do to help achieve and engage in the success of the company.
Going back to the puzzle analogy, the Company Vison and Values are the four corners we need to secure and put them in place first, they are the anchors; the Strategies and Metrics are the borders; the Processes and People are the blue sky and green ocean, together they make a beautiful, harmonious landscape.