There are no speed limits on the road to success…

Posted — Wednesday 17.09.2020

Almost overnight, businesses have had to adapt to change in a way that they have never previously had to. With operating models being relinquished, slow moving hierarchies and bureaucracies have been suspended and frontline managers and employees are empowered in ways they have never been before.

A business designed for speed will see powerful outcomes; such as amplified capabilities, notable customer responsiveness and improved performance on their journey to success.  

Here are five actions to drive sustainable speed: 

Step 1: Embrace the need for speed

The past few months have offered adrenaline junky business leaders a period of accelerated change. Traditionally, business leaders will have spent a considerable amount of time contemplating change, but not taking the leap into investing time in organisational design.  There is now a shift to speed up design for the longer road ahead.  

Those that embrace the need for speed in reviewing their organisational design, will overtake the competition.

Step 2: Accelerate and delegate

Rewinding to 2019, many business leaders, when redesigning structures, struggled with the concept of delegation. Traditional structures have operated on a hierarchical decision-making principle, but the newly forged networking models have enabled more junior employees to be empowered, making more decisions than they would have done traditionally.  

Pre-pandemic, it was also an ongoing challenge to reduce the frequency and duration of meetings. Overnight, decision-making had to be accelerated and preparation time for meetings was diminished. Meetings began taking place via technology platforms which had never been previously used by many businesses. We can all acknowledge that we would rather have one team video conference a week, rather than a procrastinated face to face leadership huddle.

It is vital that businesses that want to move faster, motivate and empower their employees to act swiftly. Leaders need to have reassurance that a slow decision can be more damaging than an imperfect one. 

Step 3: Fast lane top talent

The post pandemic networking models have enabled talent to flourish, with those eager to demonstrate their abilities thriving on their devolved responsibilities.

Now that these individuals have shouldered additional responsibilities, it is important that you factor in how you will retain this vital top talent when reviewing your new organisational design. 

Many businesses are falling into the trap of thinking the challenging job market conditions will help them retain talented individuals. However, the cultural change hasn’t only affected companies; your employees have had a rare opportunity to consider where they want to live, how many hours they’d like to work, how they’d like to improve their work life balance and what career goals they now have.

For this reason, you must ensure that your design and values match your employees’ new needs.  

Step 4: Backseat bureaucracy  

With the need for speed, it is vital that your business has more people taking action and fewer people feeding bureaucracy.

We can all recall the countless times we have been asked to ‘report back’, ‘provide a brief’ or ‘attend that meeting’, costing hours of your time which could be spent doing something.

Mostly, this is an innocent instruction from line managers to satisfy the hierarchical structure, but it achieves nothing other than to feed the system and reinforce the rigid culture.

“I might need to know if I get asked”, “The Board might expect me to know”, “A functional head needs to know…”

Effective organisational design can reduce the number of middle managers and align supporting processes to eradicate bureaucracy.

Step 5: Carpool with clients and contractors

When considering accelerated change, it is vital to consider the pace and appetite from your clients and contractors.

For example, a business may want to change its work winning strategy in order to price work more competitively and so the team’s structure and processes would need to be reviewed.  

If these aren’t communicated to the partnering supply chain, these changes could cause several issues such as a breakdown in relationships, ineffective pricing of work, and anxiety as to why the changes have taken place.

car speedometer

It is therefore vital to ensure that your partners are taken on the journey of change and that they understand how your changes will support their business. By doing so, you can demonstrate your trust by finding them more effective and accelerated solutions.

Given the current backdrop, for many businesses there really is no speed limit on the road for success right now. 

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