Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Can Your Organization Agility Balance Its Leaders?

In the McKinsey Quarterly (Competing Through Organizational Agility, 2010) first defines turbulent environment:

 As a measure of the frequency of unpredictable changes affecting the ability of companies to create and sustain value (Sull, 2010, p. 1).

If an unpredictable change captures opportunities, than the story about Banco Santander approach reveals some important truths about organizations that succeed in today’s turbulent environment. The McKinsey Quarterly discusses several strategically methodology to changing the environment around. [1] In the example, of Banco Santander clearly exemplified it’s self-amongst the larger banking franchise. From pubic or private sector of the economy, companies  need to innovative, while employing skilled and motivated people who can work in teams. Developing leaders with foresight and vision, to make decisions that consider the interests of multiple stakeholders.[2]  In other words, the best companies succeed through the concepts and practices of agility. 
Balancing Control and Agility (Sull, 2010).
This once small bank in Latin America learned by building a strong presence, opportunity will present itself over time. This has led to this bank becoming a major player in the banking industry.

The concept of agility helped me to better understand what goes on in organizations, which included the thoughts and performance measures of employees and teams. Often enough, I find myself seeking to make those effective changes to help improve efficient, which in turn, will drive what can be termed “successful collaboration” among coworkers (Cobb, 2011). The articles looked at organizations from a number of different perspectives from (probing for opportunity, staying in the game, and using data to spot opportunities) (Sull, p. 7).  This Quarterly simply makes an attempt for organization to better predict events.   

 Next, (Herrmann, Komm, & Smit, 2011) introducing us to the field of organizational leadership and the behaviors traits in them. Patrick Lencioni (The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, 2002) list five traits explain reasons for companies’ not doing so well.  First being the Absence of Trust. It has been my personal experiences of how critical this is.

I’ve worked as a member of a management team many years ago. A ranking member of the department (civilian position) usually-always insisted that their view was the only view. “Do it now” or “I said ‘do it’ and that’s the way it’s going to be.” In meetings when she spoke no one responded and there was no discussion. From the observed outlook this was a learned behavior, what Lencioni described as communication barriers. From my perspective the team had become dysfunctional as it didn't have trust in this particular non-police, civilian manager.

This is the perfect example of an organizational ineffectiveness. Next, review your cost structure to ensure you have control of all your main costs and that you are spending your money on the right things. If your costs are too high then you need to become a surgeon and cut them to a sustainable level.

Thirdly, as Jim Collins says in his book Good to Great, make sure you have the right people on the bus. Work through your people carefully and assess whether they have the right skills, experience,
Do you have the right Leaders?
and attitude for the organization in the future. If they don't then you need to work out whether you can move them into a more suitable role or develop them effectively for their present one. If the answer is no then they must be replaced with a person with a better fit.

The fourth point to consider is encouraging a sense of ownership of the company with everyone in the organization. This can be achieved by ensuring people understand their roles and then are allowed and supported to take full accountability for their actions and results. This requires you to hold your breath at times and stand back to let people move into the right space. You can also help this along by providing regular feedback on how the business is going and how each team or division is contributing. This creates a bigger picture and empowers people to make decisions on what to do.

The fifth and final point is take time to ensure that you and your managers fully understand your customers and their needs. In the long term your company will only be in existence if it is relevant to its customers.

Interjecting a balanced approach of agility and balance leadership can successfully enlarge your business environment while posing some new challenges for anyone in management. This would require leadership understands of different methodologies and practices as well as a deeper understanding of the principles behind tailoring them to customize that business environment.

I leave this question: What part of management do you think is being ignored that has more upside potential with addressing customer's needs? 

[1] This Spanish has become one of the world’s ten most valued banks today (Sull, 2010, p. 3).
[2] Banco Santander at the right time grabbed up two banks during the economic crisis of the 1980’s.

Works Cited

Cobb, C. G. (2011). Making Sense of Agile Project Management: Balancing Control and Agility. Hoboken, New Jerey, United State of America: Jphn Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Herrmann, K., Komm, A., & Smit, S. (2011). Do You Have the Right Leaders for Your Growth Strategies? McKinsey Quarterly, 1-5.

Lencioni, P. (2002). The Five Dysfunctions of a Team. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Sull, D. (2010). Competing Through Organizational Agility. McKinsey Quarterly, 1, 1-9.

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