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Is your organization dysfunctional... or focused?

How does “Organizational Focus” drive success…or failure?

It seems that any corporation has its ducks in a row, whether they are in the best order or not. What I mean by that is that, in all my years in a corporate environment, I have seen great strategic integrity with plans in place for overall Vision, Mission Statement, Goals, SWOT, etcetera. They always have a one year, five year and ten-year plan with great transparency. All employees are well versed in the mission statement. They know the overall strategic direction and they are asked to define how their individual and team efforts are going to contribute to that overall plan.

Where to start?
This concept trickles down from the CEO to the department heads, then the team supervisors and finally to the frontline workers or back-office staff. Yes, occasionally the corporate model may be off slightly and when key executives decide to tweak it, they are better off when they can justify those changes to all their employees. That’s transparency at its best. It creates buy-in by all employees and provides for the best accountability opportunity by managers.

When everyone is focused on that same direction, so much that they have the mission statement memorized, there is a tremendous team effort towards the common goal. I worked for one organization where if the CEO caught you in the elevator or hallway you were expected to be able to recite the mission statement if asked. It is also comforting to know the mission statement should be and was that simple. Unfortunately, I have also worked for organizations where the overall direction was not evident nor communicated effectively. While the organizations still had many healthy business elements it just didn’t seem to be as cohesive or focused as it could’ve been and overall structural integrity suffered.

What makes a team culture?
When everyone is on the same page in the direction of the organization it is always because everyone has been educated to that effect. When everyone has buy-in to that overall goal(s) they have ownership and focus and the whole organization runs better as a whole. When they are encouraged to help create their own individual and team goals they are all positioned and self-motivated to achieve the greater goal. When the overall goal and the smaller goals that play into it have all been frequently and tactfully marketed to the masses the teamwork and camaraderie is tremendous. Productivity and morale are at their highest (barring other dysfunctional situations).

How to establish accountability?
The best part of the transparency is the trust that is conveyed by the organization in sharing the key information about where we are all headed. Earning employee trust and having supervisors more focused on the big picture of what to hold subordinates accountable for goes a long way in building organizational success. Ironically, the organizations that struggle with success have typically missed sharing the bigger picture with staff and maximizing trust.

While gaining full trust from employees in this economic environment (with the looming cuts to staff, wages, and budgets) is extremely difficult it is more important than ever before. Executive management must be working in Stephen Covey’s quadrant II of his time management matrix and taking the crucial time to plan. Remember “failing to plan is planning to fail.”

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