Earlier in my career at SAP, I took a new role with a group that was described as in need of a “turnaround” and an “updated strategy and direction.” I was urged to introduce a new mission/vision, strategic objectives, and revised key performance indicators. Exert top-down control.
My first few weeks on the job contradicted this advice. I noticed that almost every important decision had to be made by me personally. At first I assumed this was because individual employees had little understanding of the company strategy. However, it became apparent that cascading the strategy was unlikely to help, because everyone was used to delegating up.
I came to the conclusion that the organization didn’t need a new strategy to solve its performance problems. While performance hadn’t been up to full potential, the issue didn’t seem to be with processes or structures or metrics. After a couple of years of being told what to do and being discouraged to think for themselves, my new group had a culture problem.
Because most leaders view culture as something soft and intangible, it’s often overlooked when they take a new job. Unfortunately, in my experience, the single biggest roadblock to success for a new leader is not understanding the current culture of his/her new team and clearly articulating how that culture must change. A well-designed and well-implemented strategy will not be effective unless people are motivated to support it. This idea is captured by the mantra, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast,” popularized during Mark Fields's tenure at Ford Motor. In my situation, culture was clearly my job one.
So rather than working on strategy or objectives or metrics, I concentrated on changing the culture. I immediately removed myself from some of the approval chains. I delegated critical and visible decisions to my direct reports and publicly reinforced their decisions. I encouraged them to finalize some long-standing issues without vetting them with me beforehand. And perhaps most importantly, I shared all of this with my manager, who went out of his way to reinforce the new style.
'A well-designed and well-implemented strategy will not be effective unless people are motivated to support it."
I cannot agree more with this statement. Many companies struggle to improve efficiency, implement new tools and methods, and focus on training. But at the end, it comes down to what the company culture is. If the culture is that everything is centered on the boss (typical in small companies), it doesn't matter what changes are implemented, and employees will hesitate knowing that the boss will reprimand them for doing otherwise.
In the other side of the coin, big companies can have burocracy hamper decision making, having employees hold back and making positive changes.
This is all addressed by creating an environment of sharing knowledge, awarding creativity and innovation, and empowering employees to make decisions and actually be able to implement them.
I am a bit confused. Are you in a way, not doing what you initially set out to change? Why did you have to go back to your manager and seek his blessing in implementing the change. You could have said 'The buck stops here' and changed the culture thereby.
The blogs and comments posted on EnterpriseEfficiency.com do not reflect the views of TechWeb, EnterpriseEfficiency.com, or its sponsors. EnterpriseEfficiency.com, TechWeb, and its sponsors do not assume responsibility for any comments, claims, or opinions made by authors and bloggers. They are no substitute for your own research and should not be relied upon for trading or any other purpose.
12/17/2013 - This webcast will show how you can:
-Transform your IT infrastructure by leveraging Dell’s OpenManage integrated with System Center, our Hyper-Scale technologies, and factory capabilities
-Connect with people-centric solutions with Dell Desktop Virtualization Solutions (DVS)
-Inform your users with business intelligence based on Dell deployment, applications like Boomi, and comprehensive reference architectures
Enterprise Efficiency is looking for engaged readers to moderate the message boards on this site. Engage in high-IQ conversations with IT industry leaders; earn kudos and perks. Interested? E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dell's Efficiency Modeling Tool The major problem facing the CIO is how to measure the effectiveness of the IT department. Learn how Dell’s Efficiency Modeling Tool gives the CIO two clear, powerful numbers: Efficiency Quotient and Impact Quotient. These numbers can be transforma¬tive not only to the department, but to the entire enterprise. Read the full report
Now that TGen has broken new ground in genomic research by using Dell's storage, cloud, and high-performance computing solutions, the company discusses what will come next for it and for personalized medicine.
The Translational Genomics Research Institute wanted to save lives, but its efforts were hobbled by immense computing challenges related to collecting, processing, sharing, and storing enormous amounts of data.
On a recent African trip I saw examples of the value of the cloud in developing nations, for educational and community development programs. We could build on this, but not only in developing economies, because these same programs are often under-supported even in first-world countries.
VMware's debate with Cisco on SDN might finally create a fusion between an SDN view that's all about software and another that's all about network equipment. That would be good for every enterprise considering the cloud and SDN.
Wearing a bulky, oversized watch is good training for the next phase in wristwatches: the Internet-enabled, connected watch. Why the smartphone-tethered connected watch makes sense, plus Ivan demos an entirely new concept for the "smart watch."
Cloud storage costs are determined primarily by the rate at which files are changed and the possibility of concurrent access/update. If you can structure your storage use to optimize these factors you can cut costs, perhaps to zero.
The Internet has evolved into a machine for drumming up a chorus of "Happy Birthday" messages, from family, friends, friends of friends who you added on Facebook, random people that you circled on G+, and increasingly, automated bots. Enough already.
Fedora Linux is launching a new model for structuring Linux distributions, a two-ring approach with core functions surrounded by special-interest-group customizations. This could streamline Linux to enhance its role in everything in our tech future.
For many users, lack of support is the only barrier to open-source adoption, and there are some strategies that can be used to get you support and one possible way of minimizing your need for it in the first place.
Who'd have thought? But the liaison is actually not only good for both companies, it's good for the cloud market, because it will promote the cloud to SMBs, and it's the little guys that will make or break the cloud of the future.