I have had the opportunity on two occasions recently to interview the senior staff of business organizations. They were unusual in that they both had amazingly healthy cultures. Staff had collegial and cooperative relationships, they were focused on their mission, were innovative and were delivering results and serving customers in competitive markets. I gave them high marks for the engagement of their staff, their culture of results and the quality of their strategies. In both cases, the businesses were growing and their potential for the future was bright.
So why was I there? Because in both organizations there was a recognition that as well as they were doing, there were internal issues that if resolved could allow them to go to the next level of growth. These leaders recognized that the internal quality of their organizations had a direct impact on their bottom line results.
Think about this. In a flat world, everyone has essentially the same access to information. But that does not mean that all can deliver the same results. To the extent that we allow internal processes or culture to get in the way of what we do we compromise our effectiveness. So paying attention to the internal culture, relationships, processes and the inherent disconnects within the organization becomes a key component of ongoing success.
In my experience, there are three key factors that ought to be paid close attention to.
One: Relationships that are askew. When relationships between staff are strained cooperation, communication and innovation suffers. Solving relational disconnects impacts the whole organization as well as the ability to be all that the organization can be.
Two: Processes that could be more efficient. In the competitive environments we all work in this is a huge factor. Ironically, it is often in our times of success and growth that we ignore this factor because we don't have the time to focus internally with the work we are doing externally. Yet, focusing on our internal processes is the key to future growth and effectiveness. The goal of efficient processes is to drive wasted time, energy and money from the system and foster cooperation and efficiencies that will give us a competitive edge.
Three: The quality of our services or products. In a recent conversation, I discovered that service calls needed to be done on about one third of installations from a well known and successful home product supplier. Driving down such time consuming service calls would obviously make a difference to the bottom line as well as to customer satisfaction.
The key to all of this is developing a system for ongoing analysis of the internal culture, relationships and processes of an organization whether they be in the for profit or non-profit sectors. This presupposes that there is as much attention paid to the internal quality of our organizations as there is to the services we provide to external customers. The first directly impacts the second.