Organisational insanity

“‘The right hand doesn’t know what the left hand is doing.”

How often can this be applied to businesses – in many sizes and shapes. We had the effects of this recently in Financial Services; where the Risk and Revenue generating sides of the business didn’t know what the other side was doing. Products and services were so complicated – that managing and mitigating that risk was not actually possible.

We structure businesses in silo’s, based on the business functions; sales, marketing, operations, risk, finance, etc. We then manage these functions, and reward performance of the individuals according to their functional performance.

But in so many cases – it doesn’t work.

What actually makes a difference in organisations; (increasing performance, sustainability, and value) – is largely unseen and hidden. This is due to the fact that these key streams are horizontal – and run across the business. Process, People, Customer, etc.

It is amazing how many organisations are ignorant of their customer journey; what moments, with what staff, with what processes the customer interacts with the business in a journey.

An example; Information Governance – it happens all across the organisation, it happens in every silo of every business (data quality, data management, data input, reporting & analysis); every day. Yet it is unseen, because it is a horizontal process; in many cases costing the business in time, money, and performance. 

We measure functional job roles with KPI’s, we then reward this performance, regardless of whether this actually drives business performance, sustainability, or customer experience.

I have a different view. Rather than having the Chief Financial Officer, Chief Marketing Officer, Chief Operations Officer; we should actually structure business in a way that reflects the net impact of the business on itself and it’s customers.

We should have the Chief Process Officer, Chief Customer Officer, and Chief People Officer. We should then make the functional line of business managers only Heads of Department. The weight and power should lie with people that understand, have responsibility and are rewarded on the enterprise-wide business behaviours that actually drive performance and sustainability. They should be measured on Key Results Indicators that reflect these horizontal streams (customer experience, satisfaction, efficiency, staff innovation, staff satisfaction, team-work).

Now, you would have an organisation that is set up to reflect the world we live in, the experience our customers actually have, and the efficiencies and opportunities that are hidden from view. Innovation, Information Management, Customer Journey & Experience.

Why would I want a business run by a functional domain expert (sales, marketing, ops, finance) who does not understand or care about the net effect on the business and the customer of their line of business processes?

Why would I want people in my organisation doing the same things, replicating each others work inefficiently – and not know the cost of this?

Weight of power, responsibility, reward, measurement and intelligence needs to be captured at the senior level – with a focus on the customer, stakeholder, and sustainable future.

You won’t get a different result with businesses structured in a way that rewards insular, selfish, and narrow-minded views of the customer and the business.

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