The Recipe for Sustainable Organizational Productivity
For decades organizations have struggled with creating a culture of sustainable productivity. How do you tie strategy, vision, mission, goals, metrics, and employees all together to create a culture that thrives? Most organizations have put all their eggs in one of these baskets, however, the answer lies in the integration of them all. Our ultimate goal should be to create something sustainable, long after we leave. It has to be woven into the fabric of the organization. It requires a “cultural” transformation. So, let’s talk about the RECIPE for success and how each ingredient integrates with the others to form a well-baked highly productive sustainable organization.
The first ingredient is usually assumed and taken for granted but is essential to a healthy organization. I call it “Servant” Leadership. Servant leadership is a leadership philosophy in which the main goal of the leader is to serve. This is different from traditional leadership where the leader's main focus is the thriving of their company or organizations. Organizations that embrace servant leadership operate with the client, customer and employees need in mind. They recognize that serving its “constituents ” develops loyalty and trust that ultimately creates positive vibes and an environment of success.
Every employee must have a clear understanding of where the organization is headed. Without a Vision, the people perish. Establish a clear, precise vision that is the “north star”. I often ask organizations if your 5-year vision was across the room and you walked into it, what would it look or feel like? Develop a vision without regard to any restraints. What would you like the organization to ultimately look like 5 years from now?
Most organizations have mission statements. However, they cover a full-page and often most employees do not know what it is. The mission statement is the call to action. It tells the organization what it is committed to doing. For instance, “Using our portfolio of brands to differentiate our content, services, and consumer products, we seek to develop the most creative, innovative and profitable entertainment experiences and related products in the world.” – Walt Disney. The mission statement is the most critical piece of information that each employee should be given. I encourage organizations to put it on the back of their business cards, open each meeting with the mission statement and include it in email signatures.
Every employee must have a clear understanding of where the organization is headed. Without a Vision, the people perish
The one area where many organizations fail is in understanding its Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. Organizations need to do an open and honest assessment of what’s working and what needs improvement. Success is when organizations leverage their strengths, address weaknesses, seize the opportunities and mitigate any threats.
Based on the assessment of the results of the organization, the vision, and mission of the organizations, strategic priorities should reflect the top areas that need to be addressed. Usually 5 to 6 strategic priorities that enable the organization to achieve its mission. These priorities provide the marching orders for all departments to collaborate but also serves as a check and balance on where budget and resources should be applied.
Performance Management Scorecards
Measuring success is key! I often tell organizations, if you want to lose weight, you have to be willing to get on a scale. Organizations have to be willingly measuring their performance based on data. Balanced Scorecards of Key Performance Indicators tell you if what you are doing is working. It also highlights areas of concern and allows organizations to quickly take action.
Lastly, the most important component of any organization is its people. Many organizations take for granted the need to engage employees. Statistics show that organizations thrive when employees are engaged. Also, employees who are engaged perform better. So how do we engage employees and get them committed to the vision, mission, and strategic priorities of the organization? I recommend High-Performance Teams. The common definition of a high-performance team is a group of people who share a common vision, goals, metrics and who challenge and hold each other accountable to drive results. They have a clear vision of where they are headed and what they want to accomplish.
I encourage organizations to build teams throughout the organization that works on goals that tie to the strategic priorities. At Palm Beach County we have created “Stat” Cross-Department and Cross-Functional teams that use data to analyze process, review metrics and propose solutions. Teams are using the principles of Lean Six Sigma to reduce waste, make processes lean and to drive a culture of continuous process improvement. Best practices for developing these teams include ensuring cross-discipline representation, using data to define problem and solutions, leaving titles at the door and relentless follow-up and accountability.
So there you have the recipe: Servant Leadership, Vision, Mission, SWOT Analysis, Strategic Priorities, Performance Scorecards, and High-Performance Teams. It is the integration of these ingredients that will drive sustainable and lastly productivity and a culture of continuous process improvement.