Is Your Organization Prepared For The Future?
How do you stay organized for the future? This article will give you useful advice for the best organization tips to prevent any future fall backs!
Visit a variety of business organizations and you will find that the application of time spent is almost exclusively devoted to satisfying today's productivity requirements. Frequently you will hear organizational leaders say: " who has the time to think about tomorrow?" If we live in a time of constantly accelerating change in technology, products, services, markets and competition, this is a dangerous position to be in.
More and more, the key for successful business leadership is to develop the potential of the organization's work force to be self-directed and responsible as possible for conducting the daily business of the organization. Then, those with specific leadership responsibility can spend more of their time on answering the question "is our organization prepared for the future?"
Any organization's operational success, both short and long term, is like the seat of a three-legged stool. What holds up the seat of success is commitment to, and focus on, three main pillars of support: the organization's technology, its people and its values.
All organizations usually start with an output idea. Initially, there isn't too much focus on the three pillars of support until the organization gets beyond the decision of what the output products or services will be. Then it begins to think about the technology necessary to produce the products or services. It will also begin considering the kinds of skills and abilities it will need in its people. Finally, it considers what the organization "stands for" in terms of goals, values, mission, etc.
A problem occurs in the times when change is rapid. If there is not continuous evaluation of the pillars of technology, people and values, a gap can develop between what the organization thinks it believes, and what it actually does, or what it must do to remain successful in the future.
Many organizations do not give much formal consideration and conscious evaluation to the pillars of support. They sort of let them evolve. This is definitely the case where the organization becomes preoccupied with its "daily business" and leadership does not spend formal time trying to evaluate the pillars as they will give long term support. Increasingly, ongoing evaluation of the pillars and seeing how effective they will be in the long term for the organization is necessary.
Lack of consideration of the future sets the organization up to be broadsided. In a time of great change, the challenge to the organization's long term success can come about unexpectedly, especially when no specific time has been spent on making sure the three supports are strong and capable of supporting a platform of success for the organization in the long term.
Let's consider each of these pillars individually and some questions you can ask on the way to answering the question of whether or not your organization is preparing for the future. These questions can be considered by individual leaders, but it is better to assemble the leadership group of the organization and consider the questions in a collaborative way. Maybe all the questions are not appropriate to your organization. Feel free to brainstorm and develop some of your own questions based on the nature of your business.
With regard to the technology pillar, consideration should be broad including not only the kinds of equipment and machinery you use, but the knowledge of operations and the very processes themselves which are responsible for the output.
-How close to the "state of the art is our equipment and machinery?"
-Does our equipment and machines support reducing cycle time and increased quality of our output?
-Are the works processes we use continually evaluated for potential improvement and do we monitor the effectiveness of that improvement?
-Are our support systems (reporting, monitoring, communicating, scheduling, etc. as computer-enabled as possible?
-Is the organization "wired" to communicate rapidly and effectively including software that allows just-in-time collaboration?
-What other technology improvements or innovations can be considered?
-Has our organization made part of its culture the belief in continuous improvement and innovation using the most up to date technology available to us?
When we consider the people pillar, we evaluate a whole host of areas from stakeholders to customers, to employees and managers. Each of these areas can become a focus for looking at long term readiness of the organization.
-Do the people who own the organization or otherwise have a stake, (e.g. suppliers who are dependent on us for their business) believe that the organization is positioned for long term success?
-Would stakeholders invest more in our organization if they were given the opportunity?
-What does the evaluation of our customer base reveal with regard to long term relationships?
-Is there a customer perception that our organization is the "best," and if so, what are the specific issues or components that go into the making of that perception?
-How will we remain "best" over the long term?
-What has been the rate of loss of customers due to the switching to competitors?
-Are our employees being trained to assume the long term responsibility in the organization with regard to how the work and productivity will change, and the increased development and self-responsibility needed?
-What new work skills and abilities do we need to develop?
-Is management behavior in the organization focused sufficiently on long term issues which will affect our success?
-Does management in this organization see developing people as one of its most important responsibilities?
The third pillar, the organization's values, comprises strategic direction, vision, mission and long term goals to support continued success further out. It is always interesting to try to measure the gap between what the organization says it stands for by way of values, and how its operations actually reflect that. For example, it is foolish to claim "we will be the premier producer of widgets," if the organization is doing little to position itself by way of technology and people development to ensure it will have the premier position in the market.
-Do we have a clear understanding of strategic direction in relation to our core business?
-Does what we say in our strategic statements (e.g. vision, mission and goals) clearly impact our operational practice?
-Do leaders at all levels of our organization have time to develop their processes and people in order to be positioned to effectively compete in the future?
-Are there any contradictions between who we say we are and how we act with
regard to our stakeholders, customers, employees and the community at large?
-What are the common ethical beliefs which guide the leadership of our organization?
When you look at the long term success of organizations, you will find that they take time to knit at planning and executing for the long haul. You will also notice that if they do not consistently keep one eye on the present and one eye on the future, the organizations that are presently successful can quickly become unsuccessful.
The human potential of organizations still stands as one of its most underutilized resources. Properly developed in the contemporary management approach, the work force of our organizations ought to be developed to be as self-directional as possible. They are the ones who can best satisfy the challenges of the daily business of the organization. Once effectively developed, the work force taking more responsibility for today's output frees more of the time of the specific leaders of the organization to be doing the things necessary to ensure the organization's long term success.
In order to answer the question "Is your organization prepared for the future," attention must be paid to developing the three pillars of success which will support a positive outcome. All three pillars of technology, people and values will need to be evaluated. Obviously, the organization must take time to do this.
When all is said and done, there is no absolute guarantee for the organization's success in the future. Answering the questions posed above will help to get the wheels turning as the organization plans for the future. One point of caution: if you are hearing any of your organization's leaders use the phrase "who has time to think about tomorrow," it should trigger the concern that the organization is not really preparing itself for the future.
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