Welcome to the July 2008 issue of Alignment Solutions! Summer in the U.S. seems to be a good time to step back and focus on how well our structures and processes are aligned with our desired business outcomes. Often we can improve organizational effectiveness by jettisoning unnecessary “baggage.” This type of examination can be illuminating in our personal lives as well.
The premise of the Feature Article, Clearing the Organizational Clutter, is that organizations often accumulate “clutter” in the form of unwieldy structures or processes that prevents them from optimizing their business results. We offer some insight into this issue and provide suggestions for de-cluttering.
In Two Questions that Eliminate Organizational Clutter, the Business Solutions section provides a simple tool to aid in releasing some of the clutter that results in a misalignment of actions and goals.
In the Personal Solutions section, Why Losing My Luggage Was the Best Part of My Trip describes a valuable lesson about choices and perspectives I re-learned recently. This lesson might resonate with those of you who travel by air or otherwise entrust your personal belongings to other people for safe transport.
I invite you to visit my web site at www.BusinessAlignmentStrategies.com to find articles and resources that may be of value to you and your colleagues. I welcome your feedback!
Clearing the Organizational Clutter
I see a lot of “clutter” in organizations that has nothing to do with piles of paper or disorderly desks and offices. Organizational clutter can take many forms. See if any of these resonate with you:
Whatever form such clutter takes, the consequences are misalignment with organizational goals, and barriers to optimizing business results.
Organizations can be notorious pack rats. My observation is that many of them tend to grow by collecting layer upon layer of “things” – e.g., structures, processes – without reviewing what’s in place and how well it’s working. This is especially true when organizations are growing rapidly and there seems to be no time for anything other than taking care of day-to-day operations. In other cases, people simply work around dysfunction by creating additional processes or structures. In doing so, they create misalignment with desired outcomes.
Recently an executive asked me to help re-structure his organization because he felt it was not serving its customers well. What quickly came to light was that as the department had grown, the structure was designed to work around employees whose performance was problematic. Collectively, the dysfunctions were like the proverbial elephant in the living room: everyone knew they were there, they were taking up all the room and sucking up all the resources while making everyone uncomfortable, yet no one acknowledged their presence or did anything to remove them.
Here are four actions you can take to clear organizational clutter:
For examples of organizational clutter and a list of ten ways to
clear organizational clutter, please see the complete article
the Organizational Clutter on my web site.