How To Hack Your Organisation’s Speed
Work smarter, move faster; let’s talk about how you can transform your organisation into a more responsive and agile force to be reckoned with.
As I’m sure you know, the business world continues to move at an exponential pace- it’s indeed a difficult feat just to keep your organisation’s head above the water at times. In the face of that challenge, there are two types of organisations: expansionists and conservationists. Each has its respective pros and cons, but ultimately, expansionists prepare themselves for growth while conservationists are more accepting of the status quo. At the end of the day, it comes down to the mindset of the leader and decision-makers in the organisation, whether or not they’re prepared to experiment with new things, make investments in the organisation and staff, hire and fire when it calls for it, make tough decisions when circumstances dictate and continue their commitment to keeping up the momentum even in the face of extremely challenging times.
It’s not an easy feat, which I assume is why I’m observing an increasing number of organisations become complacent and adopt some of the more conservationist principles: carefully calculating each move, more stringent management of resources and a more by-the-books approach with policies. It’s worth mentioning that circumstances change, and at times, a conservationist approach is probably the most pragmatic approach if you’re facing tough times in your organisation. However, if you’re looking to expand your operations, speed is a prerequisite, so you’ll - at some stage, at least- be forced to forgo your comfort zone and start experimenting with new processes and agile practices in your organisation.
On that note, experimenting is an absolutely key part of this process, so long as you maintain a commitment to your customers that they won’t be collateral damage in your experiments. Ask any scientist and they’ll tell you that it’s both a labor of love- and that things more than often go wrong- that’s the scientific process. They observe the experiment, log the data and hypothesise how they can turn this result around in the next round of their experiments. It’s the process of trial-and-error that brings scientists to make breakthroughs, and they’re a great analogy in this context when we’re talking about hacking your organisation’s speed. If your organisation is looking to adopt the expansionist mindset, you need to ensure that the organisation itself will pay the price for a failed experiment, and not the customer. When I say that the organisation should pay the price, I don’t mean your staff members, either. By adopting that expansionist mindset, you’ve made an explicit promise to try new things, and your staff shouldn’t necessarily be punished for trying something new in the name of making your organisaiton more agile.
Before you can move outward, you need to look inward. You need to take stock of what your competitors are doing, and how you can out-compete this offering. Could you try something seemingly radical, but might have a receptive audience out there? Are you analyzing your customer feedback through the lens of empathy to ensure that your customer journey is already optimised? Are you setting lofty goals for your marketing and sales teams? These are some of the questions you need to make sure are answered before you even move on to the more important issue of improving your organisation’s speed; there’s little point in trying to expand if you’re not completely on top of in-house issues like these that will ultimately hinder your efforts to speed up the organisation.
Now, to the more pressing issue at hand: streamlining your organisation to become more competitive and responsive in the face of a challenging business environment. Play to your strengths, and use this as the bedrock of your expansion, similar to the principles of appreciative inquiry. Empower your staff, and if you’re in a leadership position, it might be time to relinquish a tight grip on the reins and let your staff make decisions. Streamlining your operations is the most basic, yet impactful means of speeding up your organisation, however, it’s often hindered by egocentric managers, leaders and CEOs that feel as though they need to give the official tick of approval. In 2020, at times there just isn’t time for this. Your organisation needs to be agile, and one of the most fundamental ways to facilitate this is to have staff that feel as though they can make a decision when they feel it is in line with the organisation’s vision and in the best interest of the company. A leader is there to instill the vision and the direction of the organisation, and everyone else is there to make this possible. The same goes for meetings; ditch them. It’s important to catch up, for sure, but if it’s becoming more of a tedious formality, this is in the best interest of the organisation.
I’m interested in expanding upon this topic in future posts, so please give me any input and feedback in the comments section that we can cover in future articles. Remember, adopting an expansionist mindset requires commitment from everyone in the organisation, but there are important considerations that need to be in place before you can go out and experiment. Don’t let your customers - or staff - pay the price for these experiments, either. Get them excited about your organisation’s mission, and ensure they feel empowered enough to make a decision on the fly that could potentially transform your orgainsation into a more agile, speedy beast.
Thanks again for your time,