The pace of change in the world of business necessitates the need to breakdown the silo-based departmental environment.
This environment has proven to reduce overall business performance in the 2010s. As a result, businesses need to implement new operational partnerships and roles to reduce gaps in process, communication, and operational effectiveness.
Begin with the end in mind. Service, productivity, speed, and quality are the only four key performance indicators that matter to your customers.
- Customers depend on you to deliver. Is your customer service reliable and consistent?
- Are your teams productive? The actual work capacity of your teams dictates how many goods or services you’re able to provide. The financial impact is significant. What would happen if you could increase your productive output by 30%?
- Does the amount of time to deliver goods and services fall within the expectations of your customers? How much business could you gain from your competitors if you cut your cycle time in half?
- Do your goods or services consistently provide high quality to your customers?
First, it is especially important to make sure your organization is ready to truly tackle innovation.
The first step in our process is to evaluate your management operating system (MOS). We use a system that defines four levels of MOS maturity to determine an organization’s readiness for innovation:
- Level 1: Fighting fires. Working hard but losing ground.
- Level 2: Treading water. Solving problems at the same rate they occur.
- Level 3: Incrementally improving. Strong structure in place and a continuous improvement mentality is present throughout the organization.
- Level 4: Step Change Breakthroughs. Routine challenging of conventional limits.
If you lead a Level 3 organization, then you have sufficient stability in place to begin implementing the following guidelines to foster innovation and find ways to disrupt your market:
- Institute Innovation Fridays. Level 3 organizations have enough productive output that their employees are looking for ways to challenge conventional limits in their areas of expertise.
- Typically, we advise our clients to keep four to six hours a week on Friday mornings for this work. However, it is critical to make sure this time is spent working on specific projects that have been defined and evaluated to ensure time is well spent.
- Evaluate critical handoffs between departments and determine if this could be done differently. For example, does it make sense to implement a cross-functional team? Would it be wise to rethink the organizational chart and look for ways to get people working together better?
- Innovative ideas are radical, but they also need to be simple. We advise our clients to use the 70% rule. Don’t worry about perfection, initiate the change, and make corrections as you go. You will save a lot of time and money.
- Create a continuous collaboration partnership between the human resource function and functional departments for deep shifts to your current culture.
The movement to abandon operational silos and embrace cross-functional teams is now being implemented in many midsize companies, whereas this trend was more isolated to global businesses in the not to recent past.
Top Ten Percent Leaders realize they have a world of opportunity ahead of them if they empower their teams to look for simple, but powerful ways to increase service, productive output, speed, and quality. That is what is important to your customers.