How do we effectively manage our business in a changing marketplace?
The short answer is … we effectively manage our business in a changing marketplace by rapidly adapting to what’s occurring in our marketplace. Sounds simple, right? However, we know it’s not always that easy.
Organizations should be structured so they can respond rapidly to change, and many are not. In fact, organizations typically manage vertically or in what are called departmental silos. Vertical silos force information and communication to flow from the bottom of the organization to the top and back again which makes it increasingly difficult to respond to change. For example, when an issue presents itself, it migrates from where it happened in an organization up to the top and then the resolution from management is filtered back down the silo. This process takes way too much time and the best resolution is typically never presented because the information and communication used to solve the issue did not include every department or function involved in the desired outcome.
In contrast, when an organization manages information and communication horizontally through interconnected departments and functions, they are more able to respond and adapt quickly. Cross functional teams are comprised of individuals from interconnected departments or functions which by their collective knowledge and cooperation means issue resolution leads to less re-work, waste, and/or scrap, shortened lead times, improvement in quality, increased innovation, and more solid customer relationships.
Organizations also need a strong leadership team who are very aware of what is occurring in their marketplace, who can clearly communicate what their competitive advantage is, and have identified business opportunities as well as limitations.
In today’s ever-changing marketplace, it’s imperative for organizations to have a Change Management philosophy and process similar to the example provided:
An effective Change Management philosophy/process begins with an assessment of their current situation. Then, everyone in the organization needs to understand the current situation, but more importantly, why it needs to change. A strategy or vision is necessary to communicate this to the employees. After the strategy has been communicated, it is the leadership team’s responsibility to identify and remove obstacles that could prevent change. The leadership team needs to foster an environment that will generate innovative ideas. A great way to do this is to encourage risk-taking and reward employees for “thinking outside the box.” The leadership team needs to celebrate short-term wins in order to foster and encourage additional innovative ideas.
So, does your leadership team have the skills and knowledge necessary to execute change quickly and effectively? If you can’t answer YES to this question, perhaps we can help.
As John P. Kotter (author of Leading Change) is famous for saying, “The rate of change is not going to slow down anytime soon. If anything, competition in most industries will probably speed up even more in the next few decades.” Is your organization ready?