Chris Whipple, author, A.C.T. Now or Fail!
In the first article of this series, the reader was introduced to a new organization structure in the form of a sideways pyramid. The structure helps break down barriers, improve communication and results. One of the main reasons for this success is the ultimate goal of long-term sustainability which was identified as the primary objective that is more critical than any other goal.
To support and justify this requirement, there are three excellent examples we can review. Consider the success of many organizations in Japan. Dr. W. Edwards Deming has been credited for helping Japanese manufacturing and business more than any other individual. One of Dr. Deming’s primary requirements is consistency of purpose, which strives to keep the business alive and employees working. Another excellent example with great results is the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, which demands that leaders strive for sustainability for the organization. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), which is responsible for awarding the Baldrige Award, created the “Baldrige Index” to show the effectiveness of award winners. Their research shows that money invested in the companies of Baldrige winners would have outperformed the Standard & Poor’s 500 by more than 200 percent. Finally, we can review the data collected by Jim Collins and his team. In Collins’ book Good to Great, he collected business results from over 1000 companies and identified 11 leaders who, over 15 years, achieved consistent and great results. Each of these companies had a leader who strived to make a better future for the organization and these companies outperformed the general market by over eight times.
Why such good results? The answer is alignment along with the right infrastructure. In my book A.C.T. Now or Fail!, I introduce the reader to the Organization Bill of Rights for long-term sustainability. The Organization Bill of Rights is a list of ten basic requirements that organizations must implement if they desire to achieve long-term sustainability.
Organization Bill of Rights
The leader is responsible for proper implementation of these ten requirements. Each requirement is made up of many components that are linked together. If any component is missed, it will negatively impact the other components, causing a compounded loss in efficiency. The reason the Organization Bill of Rights is so important involves a new term called “Partner Satisfaction” which is one of the ten requirements. Partner Satisfaction is the requirement of an organization to satisfy all partners’ needs. Partners include employees, customers, vendors, stockholders, governments, families, communities and any other stakeholders. In addition to these partners, the organization itself is one of the partners that must be satisfied. This idea introduces the concept of “Organization Satisfaction” and leads us to the need for the Organization Bill of Rights. In the book Good to Great, it is stated that leaders often set their successors up for failure or choose weak successors, or both. Collins collected data that suggested this was the case in over 75% of the comparison companies reviewed. Leaders have an obligation to look out for the best interest of an organization, but Collins’ data proves that many leaders neglect this responsibility. By successfully implementing all the requirements of the Organization Bill of Rights, the leader creates the infrastructure that satisfies the needs of the organization. The negative actions taken by leaders of large corporations are clear evidence of the need for Organization Satisfaction. The main concept behind this requirement is that transactions can result in win-win solutions that are fair to all partners including the organization. Most importantly, the leader has all the authority to ensure that policies are established to make this happen. The end result is satisfied people, and this makes all the difference for teams and their results. Since teams are made up of people, we should not expect the best results if team members are not satisfied. This brings us to the question: what is needed to satisfy employees or other stakeholders?
Requirements to Satisfy Team Members
All Stakeholders’ Needs
The best teams will consist of employees and other stakeholders who can provide valuable input. Both groups have similar needs and every organization takes steps to impact them. The results achieved can be positive, negative, or neutral, and the combined results will impact the morale, motivation, attitude, efficiency, and effectiveness of every employee and stakeholder. Leaders must strive to create an environment where all results are positive and fair. Positive and fair results in these areas lead to positive feelings, which are needed for teamwork. When all stakeholders have positive feelings, they become motivated to work together as a team. This is when high efficiency and great results can occur.
he Organization Bill of Rights has many lower level components that must be implemented to satisfy each of the ten requirements. Employee and stakeholder needs are two very important components that can have a negative domino effect on other requirements if improperly addressed. This diminishes team results, reducing organization satisfaction and is preventing long-term sustainability for many organizations.
A few of the requirements listed in the Organization Bill of Rights requires additional explanation. Continuous employee development requires succession planning throughout an organization. The organization benefits from this because employees see potential paths for growth, reduced hardships caused by unexpected absences, and, when promoted from within, have a much better understanding of the organization and are therefore better prepared to make the best decisions. Effective leadership has many components that must be addressed. The leader needs to create an environment where people are motivated to work together for the good of the organization. This is accomplished by providing direction, inspiring others to be leaders, setting goals, empowering, rewarding and recognizing employees, providing security and eliminating demotivating actions. It must be stressed that failure to implement any part of the Organization Bill of Rights will create conditions that lower morale and therefore reduce the ability of the individuals to work together as a team. Components for a team environment include all the components listed under employee and stakeholder needs. When properly used, these components will create positive feelings for all stakeholders. If any components are omitted or utilized incorrectly, negative feelings can be generated, breaking down cooperation, communication, honesty and a desire to look out for the organization, which places the team environment in jeopardy. These components are key for team success and are often overlooked or assumed to have no impact on team results.
In addition to improving these areas, the leader must clearly define and ensure that employees of the organization understand legal, safety and ethical needs. There are many different opinions on what is ethical in an organization. As a result, if left for each employee to decide, you will get dozens of interpretations. By training employees on established policies, a guideline is created that can be used by employees when difficult decisions are necessary. When an organization has a strong ethics policy; safety, legal and ethical issues are avoided.
Finally, the leader must make every effort to improve the perception of the organization’s name or brand. This can be accomplished by improving the products and/or services provided along with implementing the rest of the Organization Bill of Rights. These actions can have a significant impact on customer perception, which will lead to employee satisfaction, increased efficiency, positive financial results and long-term sustainability.
It is this cause and effect relationship that will end in positive results but only when effective planning and execution takes place. Effective planning must include short-term planning, long-term planning and the use of Shewhart’s Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle. Without successful planning, improvements will be missed and the organization will not be able to capitalize on opportunities presented. It must be noted that every decision and action can have a positive, negative or neutral direction. A positive or neutral direction is self explanatory, but a negative direction can have severe consequences that may not be recognized. A negative direction is toxic for any organization. Required processes will worsen, allowing employees to perceive that the leader does not care. When this occurs, the employees can stop caring, which leads to unmotivated employees, lack of support, additional problems, high turn-over, and ineffective teams.
In the final article of this series we will see how the requirements of the Organization Bill of Rights create alignment throughout the organization. In addition, the article will include an illustration of how almost every organization currently creates misalignment throughout their organization. These details will justify why the Organization Bill of Rights creates an infrastructure that produces superior results.
About the Author
Chris Whipple is the author of A.C.T. Now or Fail!, a book that provides in-depth details on how to implement these concepts and explains why each is so important. Chris can be contacted at www.advancedcorporateteams.com.