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Beyond Process: Building an Adaptable Organisation

The key to success is adapting to customer needs.

Implementing adaptable service models creates value and rewards customer-centric organisations with sustained growth. Unfortunately this requires a comprehensive rethink of strategy and execution at every level. And that’s not something many organizations are willing to do.

I’ll be the first to admit that taking an organisation’s existing model and making it more efficient through processes is far simpler than wholesale structural change. And while it’s easier, it’s also not a long term solution to an evolving competitive marketplace.

Real adaptability is a mindset, a way of looking at an organization that naturally creates new and better solutions based on what people want, not what you deliver.

Simply institutionalizing some processes to make them more efficient is not the same thing.

Process-driven organizations don’t adequately sense and respond to customer demands because customers don’t stand in one place. Their needs and wants change as quickly as an internet data packet.

And the bigger they are, the harder they fall. Smaller, newer companies adapt much quicker. And when they swoop in and respond to changing customer needs “established” businesses too often come back with efficiencies and cost cutting instead of actual change.

Large organisations need to develop an adaptive framework that allows them to succeed and compete.

Lloyd Parry recently developed an Adaptive Organization Simulation workshop that runs managers through problem scenarios using traditional institutional Role Playing and other experiential methods to demonstrate the shortcomings of process-driven solutions and the clear benefits of adaptive organizations.

The practical outcome of the Adaptive Organization Simulation session is that participants return to their organizations able to manage from a customer’s vantage point.

To find out more about the workshop, contact us by clicking here.

Solution

Not improving your business means you’ve lost control

I tweeted the above comment recently and the response caught me a bit off guard. It’s one of those thoughts that seems clear as a spring day yet is rarely discussed in business development conversations.

Most agree that improvement in all areas of life including our workplaces is a ‘nice to do’ but how many of us actually believe it is “crucial” to our wellbeing?

Well I say it is.

It works something like this. When starting a business you develop a set of business practices, presumably based on mutual benefits for both the business itself and customers it serves.

At this point one of two things can happen. After a year or so, you undertake a performance review of the business and make a decision: A) act on the results with a defined plan or B) just decide to take it under consideration as something to do later. Maybe when you aren’t so “busy.”

The latter decision isn’t really a decision at all. It’s just a way to cover your inaction by assigning a higher priority to ‘more pressing’ issues. The irony, of course, is that the reason the company is pressed for resources may well be resolved by changing the business processes identified in the review.

It’s been said that insanity can be defined as the act of repeating the same action and expecting different results.

Replace insanity with organisational failure and that saying still rings true.