Toss more tomatoes into the tomato soup?
In this economy?
Are you crazy?
Most say they can’t afford to. Cutting expenses, downsizing workforces, putting the “soft stuff” on hold… that’s what they must do to hang on…despite the hurt those cuts will cause their organizations, cultures, processes, remaining people. They ask, what else can we do?
Some say they can’t afford NOT to. The world will change again, and they have to be ready for a better future. To do so, they’ve got to manage like they’ve never managed before, really reach for performance excellence. They’ve got to get the best thinking, the best work out of their remaining employees. They’ve got to figure out how to do more with less. We agree and, at the same time, recognize it’s a tough slog.
Those who invest in their organizations will win in the short and long term.
They won’t be afraid to spend modestly to bring in expertise… the benefits in wisely using resources will far outweigh the expense. Not all tomatoes are expensive, some are affordable.
Even in tough times, a richer soup can pay off on the bottom line… mitigating losses or… surprise!… yielding profits for some organizations that thrive in bad times.
Which investments will make the most difference in tough times? We like these: More effective processes, application of change management principles, strategy development and implementation, leadership development,rejiggered cultures, recalibrated performance metrics, employee engagement and more. Even better ways to make plain-vanilla meetings more effective. More specifics…symptoms followed by fixes:
Process improvement. Is money leaking out? Are customers angry? Are suppliers messing up? Are key employees walking out the door even in tough times? Are the ways of doing business just plain broken?
Retooling processes can save real dollars, spur more output with less input. Those who improve their processes will better define the key requirements for their business, organization, then design processes to work with those requirements. Check out how our building permit process improvement project quieted criticism and improved performance in the City of Mesquite at www.conbrioamericas.com.
Change management. Is resistance killing change in your organization? Do people see the urgency? Are you missing an opportunity for powerful strategic advantage? Or worse are you missing a key element in moving from leader to market dominance?
Using change management principles will help change take hold. Managers will combine leadership, resilience and emotion to move change through their organizations. Doing so they’ll mitigate the downside of changes they’re being forced to make as a result of the bum economy. Where changes stick, managers will better prepare an organization to perform at superior levels. We’re using change management principles in a project at the North Texas Tollway Authority as that agency takes on new and greater challenges.
Visualizing direction. Is everyone on the same page? Can they SEE where they’re going? Are they wasting precious time and resources going in different directions at the same time? Are they prepared to thrive in plausible alternative futures… some worse than the current recession, others better?
Using strategic visioning will allow leaders to set clear goals, spur performance excellence, pave the way for aligning other critical organization elements like values and organization structure. Those who better their strategic planning will choose from the method that best fits – from the inside-out approach to scenarios. As part of their work, they’ll pay close attention to how they’ll accomplish goals, address short and long term challenges, meet the needs of stakeholders.
Some examples: We used the inside-out approach in a recent project for the Episcopal Diocese of Honduras. See the goals and objectives mapped to the right, Scenario planning helped overcome fears of what might happen in a project for a real estate investment company. In another, strategic planning helped a Fortune 1000 client decide how to replace stale market offerings with new ones that cut costs but provided more value to customers.
Effective teams. Do members of work teams in your organization so distrust each other they can’t work together effectively? Are they skeptical about or do they resist goals? Do they miss deadlines so projects fall apart? Are leaders ineffective in helping teams deal with performance issues?
Employing theory on teamwork will reveal how to get teams unstuck. Leaders will learn how to help teams resolve issues of purpose, forthrightness, reliability, shared vision, and disciplined execution. We used the Team Performance Model, developed by David Sibbet and Allan Drexler… David leads The Grove Consultants International, of San Francisco… in many recent projects, including one for a Fortune Global 1000 company to improve a team’s efficiency and output.
Take a look at the Baldrige process. It addresses all key organization elements as one systemic, integrated package. Studies show companies, organizations serious about using the criteria over several years see significant improvement.
It’s not for everyone; rather it’s for managers and organizations who really want to take the performance excellence journey. It can be time-consuming and frustrating, but it will make you and your organization think hard, act vigorously about getting better. Even applying parts of the Baldrige criteria can be worth the effort.
The award… the full name is the Malcom Baldrige National Quality Award… is handed out each year to a handful of companies, organizations which compete to show how much they have achieved. Quality programs in most states have similar competitions using Baldridge criteria. I am an examiner this year for the Texas program. We offer coaching to companies and organizations who want to travel the Baldrige road.
Finally, plain Jane meetings will get attention. In tough times, many believe it’s a waste to focus on making meetings more productive. False. Time is precious, even more so in tough times when there’s more to do and fewer people to do it.
See what graphic recording, graphic facilitation is doing for some meetings.
Solution rate for problems goes up to 64% vs. 45% without visual language.
Graphic facilitation shortens meetings by as much as 24%.
79% of groups reach consensus with visual language vs. 58% of groups without it. It helps for groups to see the gaps, common themes on one big sheet of paper on the wall at once.
Reread our newsletter on visual language at www.conbrioamericas.com.
In sum, several good reasons for tossing more tomatoes in the tomato soup.