I first had this insight almost 30 years ago, and while I cannot prove it is true, the many organizations I have worked with since have all needed to change their internal design before results could improve.
That is to say, there is a direct link between the components of a design and the results. The characteristics of each component, and the way the components fit together, determine the quality of results through time. For example, a 3% volume growth year on year cannot suddenly be transformed to a 10% growth (if market conditions allow) without a re-structuring of the organization.
This re-structuring might be radical, or it might be small. The precise changes needed are defined in a rigorous and thorough process “Assess2Design”. This process ensures that only what has to change is in fact changed – change is a slim and effective program developed for that that specific organization, aimed carefully to impact a specific result or results.
What got you here will not get you there
I think this statement is true for individuals, for teams and for organizations.
If you are a plant manager, for example, the skills and abilities you have acquired in your career are what have got you to this position. But the skills and abilities needed to become a candidate for the next step to Manufacturing leadership will be different and may be difficult to acquire in a plant manager role. The aspiring leader needs to have a clear strategy for skill acquisition based on a comprehensive understanding of what the next step needs.
The same applies to teams, except here the skill outage can be defined as the team’s ability to move to the next stage of teamwork.
According to ‘Cog’s ladder’ teams develop through a 4 stage process summarized as Forming, Storming, Normimg and Performing. It’s a nice summary, but I see that each of these stages must be re-visited regularly to keep the quality of teamworking on a path of continuous improvement. Teamworking needs to continuously improve to get continuous improvements in the results delivered by that teamwork.
As applied to organizations, what got you here will not get you there indicates that changes to one or more component of organization design is needed to improve results.
Planning, Past, Present and Future
Planning is necessarily about the future. Planning starts with the past, “what happened last year, and is last year any guide to next year?” I argue that the present should also be part of planning.
In the present, here and now, an infinity of possible outcomes are available, including those outcomes rooted in the past. So if shipped volumes increased 2% last year, the possibility that shipments will again increase 2% in the coming year is a possibility that is available. But the possibilities in the present include every other outcome, and a planning process that ignores the present risks ignoring more favourable outcomes that are genuinely available.