What Successful Companies Do Today and Will Do Tomorrow

Today’s economic and cultural environment that businesses have to work in are subject to the greatest levels of change we have ever experienced. Nothing is the same as it was. SuccessEverything is either growing or dying.

What do companies have to do today to be ready for the advanced changes that will be happening tomorrow?

Successful companies are going to be the ones who have evolved their traditional performance management systems into a more sophisticated set of real time conversations that focus on collaborative rather than individual performance.

Such conversations help individuals understand that how they work together is as important as how they work independently. Individuals need to adjust their contributions to meet the changing circumstances and needs of the business as a whole. The business needs to ensure that the workers have adequate, timely information that allows them to perceive when they need to adjust or adapt to enable the success of the team effort. Individual performance remains critical, but it needs to be referenced against the changing requirements of the team. Businesses can expand from an individual to a collaborative focus by including the following elements in the on-going conversations about the work:

  • Creating a shared understanding among all involved of the changing nature of the business environment, and its implications for the company. Are customer expectations changing? How so? Are emerging technologies creating new opportunities for us? Are the basic assumptions on which we built our business plan changing? Which conditions are changing in ways that require us to adjust our thinking?
  • Creating a shared understanding, at a deep level, of our business plan and the thinking behind it. Why did we choose the current strategy? What advantage do we expect it to give us? What occurrences do we need to watch for that would cause us to change it?
  • Developing the ability to anticipate and interpret the implications of competitor maneuvers in the marketplace. What are people learning from customers or suppliers, etc., that is relevant to our current thinking? How do we act to keep competitive advantage?
  • Building a shared recognition of evolving developments within the marketplace and their implications for how the team must adjust to compete well as a whole. Ensuring that the whole team understands the business well enough to recognize how developing scenarios and unfolding circumstances affect us today and how we must think differently about business tomorrow.
  • Encouraging and supporting the ability of everyone to communicate effectively with each other as the business plan unfolds. Communicating across functions, levels, and boundaries of all sorts.

The realities of today’s business environment require companies to be fast, focused and adaptable in order to thrive. Business processes that hinder these organisational capabilities must be reworked and updated. Processes that pass information rapidly, that foster communication among the people working interdependently, and that help every individual reference their efforts against the company’s strategic aims are vital. If a business wants to be fast, focused and adaptable it must have the infrastructure to act that way.

The most effective way for a business to create this infrastructure is to remove the barriers that prevent individuals from talking together, and minimise delays in providing feedback. Create and reinforce the expectation that coworkers and collaborators will talk directly about the quality of their collaboration. Remove the long delays between performance and feedback by ensuring that dynamic conversations about the work are happening continuously rather than on occasional, predetermined dates. Expand employees’ understanding of their roles from thinking of themselves as individual performers to being able to think about their performance from the perspective of the company in action.

There is an old Chinese proverb that states, no matter how far you’ve walked down the wrong road, stop! If you are trying to improve the performance of your team by using outmoded individual performance management systems, the results will be disappointing. On the other hand, by helping your people work together for greatest effect, you will create an unassailable competitive advantage.

Many thanks

Mark Williams

Head of Training

MTD Training   | Image courtesy by Nutdanai Apikhomboonwaroot of FreeDigitalPhotos.Net

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Updated on: 26 October, 2012

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