“The secret is to gang up on the problem, rather than each other.”
– Thomas Stallkamp
Power silos, executive silos, departmental silos, and failure to reach out and gather information wherever it is available has been the downfall of many executives and companies. This failure to reach out has negatively affected decision points, neutralized the power of delegation and collaboration, and limited process and business development.
A decision point is that point at which you decide to change some aspect of your business that involves redirection. The decision has an impact on operations: how you deliver services, produce product, or interact with your suppliers, contractors, and target client group or groups. It is a turning point.
In common usage today, the term “decision point” initially arose out of the world of computers, the routing of data. Today, it is the point at which you face a significant decision; something is not working, or your company is facing growth that needs different management, processes, or technology to survive and thrive.
The lead up to these decision points is crucial to your business success. If you fail to gather sufficient data, or accept the wrong data, the outcome will not be what you expect or want. But you already know that.
How you assess or evaluate current practices or processes in your business determines what you see, your perspective, and ultimately, how you form your opinion of what needs to change where and when. With incomplete information, or analysis error, you are in trouble.
Clearly, as a business owner, manager, or executive, the decisions you make always carry with them threats and risks of failure. The big question is always, ‘Do I have the right information from the right sources?’
The solution to the dilemma of how much, from where, is in our second focus, delegation.
Delegation of responsibility across and up and down an organization is vital to its ability to thrive in today’s environment. It is part of maintaining the flexibility needed to negotiate our quickly changing environment.
We, as humans, are all motivated by a sense of purpose. from the executive offices to the front lines of every business.
Our highest and best performances are achieved when we as individuals have a sense of purpose, knowledge that our input matters, and that we are seen as valuable in the process. Give us, as humans, a sense of responsibility and meaningful contribution, and most of us will dive in. Delegate even just a little more independence, and a little positive feedback, most of us purr like happy cats. Productivity spikes upwards.
” United we stand, divided we fall”
(see Wikipedia online for historical sources)
Change something that has no outcome value, fail to listen to practical objections and suggestions from within, and most humans will slowly sink into apathy around performance. Bad news for a business.
The Millennials are pushing the envelope here. They want to be engaged, valued, and challenged. While they may need more guidance than they want or appreciate in many cases, their demands are being heard.
There are leaders who have promoted active participation at all levels, and effectively challenged silos of power and information. They have gone forward into this new world before us and succeeded beyond their wildest dreams.
What they have learned, is practical promotion of the talent, intelligence, education, ingenuity, and creativity that is available, from the people hired, those who contract in or supply our businesses, and those who use the services and products we provide.
Quantum physics and mechanics are proving the old saying that
“The whole is greater than the sum of the parts”.
(see Wikipedia online for historical sources)
In other words, the outcome of the coordinated contribution of all parts together exceeds the total value of individual effort. This is Systems Theory in action (start with the definition in Wikipedia).
Taking advantage of this knowledge means changing how you organize your company communications. Look at using meeting styles that Apple, Microsoft, Nike, Zappos, and other entrepreneurial companies, small and large, have used to grow exponentially, stay relevant in the marketplace, and thrive.
Those meeting styles include large group (all staff) meetings, where everyone has the opportunity for input, and frequent, short, standing meetings to share information that has impact on others in the organization. The key is less structure, more relevant and pertinent information-sharing.
Process and Business Development
To survive in the business world today, we need more information from more sources faster than we can individually access. Too much is happening too fast.
Utilizing the scope of information that many of your staff have, younger staff who have grown up with computers and social media, and longer term staff who have history, education, training and experience behind them, means bringing them all together to discuss innovation and forward movement together. Build a system, use system theory.
Silos have stymied many executives in their search for growth and development for decades. This shift in management process towards a more flexible workplace environment, more sharing and distributed responsibilities may move organizations into high gear. Will yours be one of those companies?
“When leaders take back power, when they act as heroes and saviours, they end up exhausted, overwhelmed, and deeply stressed.”
– Margaret J. Wheatley
The bottom line? If you, as the boss, executive, or owner, begin to use this knowledge about people and systems practically – and effectively, you will delegate down the line the responsibility for providing input into decisions that need to be made to keep a company current, viable, “nimble” (Daryl Conner) – and thriving. Tap into the collective knowledge.
What does it mean to us as executives, owners and managers? Perhaps more work as we promote growth and development in our employees, but maybe more interesting work. The employees get a peek into the big picture, and just maybe…a sense of being part of some larger purpose.