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The 10 levers of organisational excellence

Author's avatar By Expert commentator 21 Oct, 2016
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How to achieve organisational excellence

Organizational excellence is desired by every business, but many business leaders are never able to determine how it is achieved. It has often been said that 'change is a constant in businesses', but it is particularly relevant today from a marketing point-of-view with the growth in digital transformation projects.

There is no single shortcut to organizational excellence; you need to take a multi-channel approach to improving and optimizing business performance. At Performance pH, we have designed a methodology for achieving organizational excellence, which we refer to at the 10 Levers of Optimal Business Performance.

1. Strategic Direction

Building an effective organization begins with understanding your company’s purpose. Once that occurs you can more clearly defining your long-term goals. Next, objectives can be defined that help you move toward achieving your goals. These objectives can then be assigned to people within the organization so that a named person or team of people owns the completion of each one. This accountability is important for ensuring that your business strategy is put into practice.

2. Applied Metrics

Information is key to the success of any modern organization. Define metrics that you can use to track the effectiveness of all elements of your company and find ways to monitor them. For example, you could ask your marketing department to track their monthly website visitor growth in Google Analytics so you can see how well their campaigns are working to bring traffic to your site. Similarly, your sales team could track leads and sales in their customer relationship management (CRM) software. Most importantly, you can track the progress in the objectives described in “Strategic Direction” above. Note that it is important to focus your metrics evenly on sales / operations and people / culture, in order to have a balanced approach to performance management.

3. Strategic Communications

Once you have defined your strategic direction, and determined how you will measure progress, you need to ensure that there are channels for communicating key messages throughout your organization. Consider your strategy for communicating your values and expectations to people working at every level. What is the best channel of communication? Email? Meetings and training sessions? Or distributing information through the company intranet? You might need to use a combination of these methods to reach everyone.

Whatever communication channels you choose to use, remember that communication should always be a two-way street. Give your employees a chance to give feedback on company policies and share their ideas for improvement. In fact, fostering grass roots communications is crucial. Effective grassroots communications allow problems to be solved efficiently at the lowest possible level, rather than having them escalate up the layers of management.

4. Strategic Hiring

Effective hiring practices reduce staff turnover, reduce recruitment costs, and improve efficiency. To ensure you hire the right candidates, take the time to identify the ideal characteristics you are looking for in new hires. These characteristics will depend on your company culture and the skills that you need in your organization. For example, if you are in need of IT skills across your organization, you need to make this a priority in your hiring practices. However, while skills are important, cultural fit is essential. A candidate that is not a good cultural or philosophical fit in your organization will ultimately not be satisfied and will either leave or potentially be disruptive.

5. Purposeful Culture

Every company should have a well-established mission, which should be reflected in the organizational culture. For example, if your mission is to deliver the best customer service in your industry, all of your people should keep this mission front of mind as they go about their daily work. The leaders in your organization can set an example by using your organization’s cultural values to guide their actions. You should also regularly assess every member of your team to ensure they are living up to the organizational values you have defined.

6. Relational Trust

Trust is vital for organizational excellence. Work on establishing trust between all members of your organization, from entry-level workers to senior managers. Encourage your people to speak openly about their concerns so they can be addressed proactively. Nothing breads trust better than good communication followed by prompt and thoughtful action.

7. Colleague Empowerment

Empower your employees to take action without asking their supervisors for help or guidance. To support this proactive behavior, make sure all of your people have the tools they need to solve problems, such as access to customer records or the ability to use small amounts of company funds without asking for permission. Also, make sure your policies favor empowerment. By actively encouraging employees to play a role in the decisions that impact their work, you can give them confidence and show them they are valued members of your organization. This results in them taking ownership of their actions, and gives them the pride that comes with knowing you are making an important contribution to the mission of the organization.

8. Work Environment Optimization

Is your office a place where employees feel comfortable and motivated to do their best work? An unpleasant office environment can sap the motivation of your people, leading to low morale and high staff turnover. Ensure your office has adequate lighting, comfortable office furniture, good ergonomics, places for your people to hang out on their breaks without disturbing their co-workers, and keep the office clean to help your people feel valued. But, also be aware of the social environmental factors. Make sure your people are recognized for their contributions, make sure they are treated like colleagues rather than subordinates, and make certain they have the resources to do their jobs effectively. In other words, create a social environment in which they want to do their best work every day.

9. Employee Development

Professionally, provide opportunities for your people to continually pursue excellence in the work they do. But, also provide opportunities for them to pursue personal development. Helping them develop better financial management, parenting, and community services skills are all good examples. Giving your people opportunities to develop new professional and personal skills can improve retention and productivity, helping you maintain a more highly skilled and dedicated workforce.

10. Colleague Wellbeing

Healthy employees, especially those with good overall wellbeing, are more likely to perform well at work. And of course, when the people of an organization perform well collectively, high organizational performance is the outcome. An employee wellbeing initiative is also an important part of a well-developed corporate social responsibility program, which is essential for any organization that cares about its people and its reputation in the community. But a wellbeing initiative is not just yesterday’s wellness program. Instead, it will address the physical, social, community, career, and financial needs of your people. An appropriate benefits package, total compensation program, and wellness initiatives are all part of the equation. Inducements, effective communications, and policies will all be used to support ongoing action.

Optimizing these 10 levers of organizational excellence can help you achieve optimal business performance

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