Most everyone wants to succeed and they are looking for the magic answer, or “silver bullet”, to improve their business or organization. They tend to want success and they want it now. That such a thing does not exist is very close to the truth. Organizational performance improvement requires dedication, perseverance, hard work, and knowledge. As Dr. Noriaki Kano of Japan says, he wishes it were easy, but it is a hot and sweaty job.
That having been said, there are three key elements to a successful business operation that are worth exploring: strategic planning, daily activity, and teamwork.
A good strategic plan will identify the organization vision (ideal end target), mission (purpose), organizational values, and action steps required to reach the vision in the desired time. The action steps are usually between three and twelve in number. The plan is communicated to all employees, investors, boards if any, and even to key customers and suppliers. Each employee then identifies what action they need to take to help the organization complete its actions steps to reach its objectives. In communicating this plan, it is important to remember communication has two parts, sending and receiving. It is important that every employee understand the various elements of the plan and the need to make it happen.
Daily activity, sometimes called daily management, is a system that enables everyone to know what he or she has to do to make the organization run smoothly. It includes what has to be measured and controlled to make this happen. Important to effective daily activities is the participation of all employees in the discovery and implementation of small, incremental, continuous improvements that they can make in their own work environment.
All employees need to understand:
- The organization’s strategic plan
- Who the customers are
- The customers’ needs and expectations
- Who the suppliers are
- How to communicate accurately your needs and expectations to your suppliers
- The benefits of the product/service that you provide to the ultimate user
- How your job fits into the overall product/service that your organization provides
- The work processes involved in doing your job
- How you will be recognized for continuous improvement activities
- Yourself, your strengths, limitations, and preferences
Good teamwork needs to be understood and practiced up, down, and across the entire organization. Not only does this apply to all employees, but also to key suppliers, customers, the community, and ownership. This extended system must work together to achieve common organizational targets such as quality, cost, delivery, and productivity.
Mastering these three elements is not easy, nor quick. But the dividend of success of the organization and satisfaction of employees makes it all worthwhile, and maybe even necessary.