How to Ensure Your Organization Lives Up to Its True Potential

How to Ensure Your Organization Lives Up to Its True Potential

Organizations often shortchange their stakeholders because they (the organizations) fail to live up to their true potential. “True potential” has its foundation in an expansive vision of what the organization is able to do, as opposed to the more limited or narrow view that is its perceived potential. Here are two examples that illustrate the dramatic differences between perceived potential and true potential:

Perceived potential:
Deliver packages
True potential:
Sustainably connect people and places and improve the quality of life around the world (FedEx)

Perceived potential:
Help children and their families recover from natural and man-made disasters around the world
True potential:
A world in which every child attains the right to survival, protection, development, and participation (Save the Children)

Here are six steps you can take to ensure your organization lives up to its true potential:

1. Ditch the “survival” mentality.
Organizations whose leaders fail to do this may survive, but they cannot possibly thrive because they are seeking the wrong outcome.

2. Create a crystal clear “big picture.”
The “big picture” is the impact the organization will make. To help identify this impact correctly, answer this question: “How will your clients or customers be better off when the organization is acting in alignment with its true potential?”

3. Communicate the “big picture” widely.
Leaders must operationalize the vision – i.e., what does it look, sound, feel, taste, smell like? All stakeholders need to know what the “big picture” looks like so they can understand fully what their roles must be.

4. Make the first sale to yourself.
Not only must leaders fully embrace the big picture, they truly must believe the organization has a moral imperative to provide its value to people who desperately want and need it.

5. Align all people, programs, processes, and systems to the “big picture.”
The infrastructure must support the vision. Focus relentlessly on the “big picture” when making decisions, setting priorities, and allocating resources. Things that do not contribute to achievement of the vision should be jettisoned.

6. Celebrate success.
Identify realistic measures and guideposts that enable you to recognize both progress and achievement. Keep the momentum going by appreciating efforts to live up to the organization’s true potential.

Pat Lynch, Ph.D., is President of Business Alignment Strategies, Inc., a consulting firm that helps clients optimize business results by aligning people, programs, and processes with organizational goals. You may contact Pat or call (562) 985-0333.

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