Schlagwort-Archive: Direction

When targets get tangled

Our body is a good image for a company. A body is not a messy heap of cells but a coordinated whole. The various systems (such as the cardiovascular system, respiration, digestion, nerves, skeleton, muscles, and skin) have only one goal – the survival of the indivisible. It does not work without each other. The designed economic division of labor lacks this coherence due to self-interests. It already begins with how biz is divided: according to functions, hierarchical layers, or regions. “Do one thing and don’t let the other” is the mantra of the undecided leaders. When dividing, for instance, into ten functions, three levels, five regions, it creates up to 150 units with their own and common intentions. In addition, an inscrutable net of relationships emerges from professional and personal commitments. In contrast to the body, these fragmented units and overlapping responsibilities lead to self-made chaos. This becomes visible in tangled targets that hinder and neutralize each other and undermine the purpose of the enterprise.

In addition to departments, layers, or regions, the following perspectives increase the formal hullabaloo.

  • Direction
    We cannot assume that the official goals relate to the area described. It would be advantageous to know whether corporate, career, or private intentions are hidden behind them. It becomes difficult if the feigned company aspiration serves personal development or private intentions, such as leisure time.
  • Roles
    The assigned roles influence the perspective of target makers. Bystanders assume that decision-makers have their responsibilities in mind. Or the influencing stakeholders care about their sphere of influence. Or the performers confine themselves to their tasks. But what does it mean when leaders have the mindset of an employee? How do we deal with stakeholders who pretend to be in charge? What are the real concerns of the employees?
  • Territory
    Goals are given to the entire company, divisions, projects, and individual employees. It is the responsibility of the decision-makers to ensure that the targets are consistent. Even in large line structures, it isn’t easy to ensure coherence because of the overlapping measures. It is impossible to untangle the constantly changing interdependencies in an agile format or a matrix structure and maintain a consistent overall picture.
  • Temporality
    Goals are assigned for the present year. Unfortunately, measures do not adhere to the corresponding calendars: tasks cannot be completed in the current year; projects often run across the year’s boundary. When long-term plans come into play, the result is a jumble of old and new costs and outcomes that is difficult to track. This confusion cannot be reliably tracked with an elaborate reporting system (even if this is often suggested). Goals are only partially achieved or not achieved at all in such an environment.
  • Criteria
    Skillfully formulated targets already include metrics when they are prepared that can be used to gauge progress and the degree to which they have been achieved. Most goals are formulated too vaguely, which makes it impossible to evaluate their fulfillment. And sometimes, qualitative goals are pursued, which can only be estimated and subjectively evaluated.

Bottom line: Those responsible are deluding themselves if they think they can achieve consistent goals through elaborate goal-setting that is coordinated over weeks. They oversee the fact that the real alignment is not visible in the target. The roles deviate away from the corporate goals with their interests. Goal setting occurs at different levels, making it difficult to achieve consistency. The mixture of short-, mid- and long-term goals further blurs the overall picture. Setting early on measurable indicators for target achievement helps all participants. However, reconciling metrics increases the effort required to set goals. If we consider the resulting complexity and interdependencies, we understand why tangled targets cannot be realized.

The ONE intention behind every strategy

Business ventures should never be set up without a clear and comprehensible intention. This purpose gives all activities one direction. The most profane is to win. However, the intention does not always have to be the first, the fastest, the greatest, or the pressure to grow steadily. The direction could also be a fitter company, or better utilization of existing resources, or more satisfied employees. If people do not agree on one direction, any success can be undermined by concurrent disparate efforts by the various parties. That is why the intention considered by all parties is an important prerequisite on the way into the future.

The intention is somewhere between growth and contraction (horizontal axis) and between the gradual change of first order and the radical change of second order (vertical axis). Put simply, the following intentions arise.

  • Consolidate
    Making the current business more robust doesn’t sound very exciting. The protection of viability on the basis of the available means is a good measure to experience the future. For this purpose, existing offers can be developed, better placed or advertised. Additionally, the chosen value discipline (customer, product or process orientation) can be further applied.
    As long as the revenue has good prospects, this is a reasonable approach.
  • Activating
    Business can be made fit for the future by leveraging existing core aspects, offerings, sequences and capabilities and by mobilizing existing skills. For this purpose, the image of the company is polished up, the culture is described or the entrepreneurial awareness of the employees is refreshed.
    It is a question of making greater use of established paths with the current range of offers.
  • Expanding
    When adjacent fields of business are identified and decisively developed, new work contents, forms and fields of activity emerge. This is made possible by continuous creation, cross-functional cooperation and shifting the boundaries of end-to-end operations.
    The closer surroundings of the own field of activities are easily accessible and offer direct contacts for the add-on of the own assortment.
  • Reinventing
    When you leave the comfort zone of the previous market, completely new possibilities open up. New business can be exploited and previously unnoticed partners can be found. In the end, this changes the building blocks of the business. Everything starts with radical BPR, the invention of new portfolios and the opening of completely new customer groups.
    Such developments are driven by personalities, who have a clear idea of what they can additionally do for their customers.
  • Concentrating
    If the entrepreneurial body suffers from overweight and the incomes do no longer cover the current enterprise, a thought-out compaction of the activities is inevitable. The whole thing should not be torn into the abyss – e.g. closure of plants, losses or bankruptcy. This is made possible by abandoning tasks that no longer contribute, because they are obsolete or simply no longer in demand. Tasks that are not part of the core business are outsourced.
    Superfluous business and routines are proliferating, if you don’t notice the need for action and don’t take early care to shift capacities.
  • Closing
    When all measures have been exhausted, economic collapse will occur sooner or later. In the interest of all those involved, the orderly task or separation of individual areas or locations is the last resort, if it enables employees to make a secure transition to new tasks.
    Due to the early dissolution, external entrepreneurs may find ways to continue the business under different premises.

Bottom line: It may seem strange that the intentions can always be condensed into the six directions described. As soon as you start selecting the direction, you will quickly notice that nerve-wracking discussions are being replaced by joint plans. The distinct intention should be clear to every manager and every employee and the areas should be aligned in a common direction. It is the ONE intention behind any effectual strategy.