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What Makes Organizations Deliver - 4 Aces that matter

What Makes Organizations Deliver - 4 Aces that matter

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Published by Tushar Khosla
Most organizations seem to be endlessly engaged in activities, but some deliver, while
others dither. What makes some organizations tick? While external environment and
operating context have an important role to play, what are the key influencing factors
within organizations that enable some organizations to do better than others?
Closer scrutiny of the findings and recommendations of several organizational consulting
studies seems to suggest that there are set of four key performance influencers within the
organisation that largely affect organizational performance. Developing and managing
these variables is a major challenge that managers have to address for organizations to
deliver effectively. These variables may be referred to as Organisational ACES; holding
them right makes one a winner.
These four key influencers (ACES) are:
1. Articulation
2. Alignment
3. Apparatus, and
4. Accountability

For more writings, visit my website - http://www.sustaining-relevance.com
Most organizations seem to be endlessly engaged in activities, but some deliver, while
others dither. What makes some organizations tick? While external environment and
operating context have an important role to play, what are the key influencing factors
within organizations that enable some organizations to do better than others?
Closer scrutiny of the findings and recommendations of several organizational consulting
studies seems to suggest that there are set of four key performance influencers within the
organisation that largely affect organizational performance. Developing and managing
these variables is a major challenge that managers have to address for organizations to
deliver effectively. These variables may be referred to as Organisational ACES; holding
them right makes one a winner.
These four key influencers (ACES) are:
1. Articulation
2. Alignment
3. Apparatus, and
4. Accountability

For more writings, visit my website - http://www.sustaining-relevance.com

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Published by: Tushar Khosla on Jun 10, 2010
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06/18/2010

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 WHAT MAKES ORGANIZATIONS’ DELIVER?4-ACES THAT MATTER 
Most organizations seem to be endlessly engaged in activities, but some deliver, whileothers dither. What makes some organizations tick? While external environment andoperating context have an important role to play, what are the key influencing factorswithin organizations that enable some organizations to do better than others?Closer scrutiny of the findings and recommendations of several organizational consultingstudies seems to suggest that there are
 set of four key performance influencers within theorganisation
that largely affect organizational performance. Developing and managingthese variables is a major challenge that managers have to address for organizations todeliver effectively. These variables may be referred to as Organisational ACES; holdingthem right makes one a winner.These four key influencers (ACES) are:1. Articulation2. Alignment3. Apparatus, and4. AccountabilityAccordingly, any organisation analysis framework may contain review of the status of these variables to identify the existing gaps and infirmities and take appropriatestrengthening measures. This approach to organisation analysis may not withstand thescrutiny of management purists, but can act as diagnostic aid to practitioners (managersand consultants) for identifying organizational infirmities and designing interventionstrategies
.
 Each of these variables is considered as follows.
 ACE 1: ARTICULATION 
This involves two key aspects:
Defining the Basics
It is the responsibility of the organisation leaders to define the
Vision
for the organization,and the short and long-term
Goals
and the
Values
that shall guide the organizationdecisions and choices. However, organizations most often tend to define a long list of desirables (we want to do everything? touch the sky? be good organization in thoughtsand actions etc.), without adequate thought towards their consequent impact onorganisation direction, resource allocations and operational strategies.
 
 Most organization consulting jobs reveals gaps and inherent contradictions in basics,when the basics are scrutinized for their relevance and interpretation for the organisationand its leadership.Studying the organization documents describing these basics often reflect the level of thought undertaken while drafting these basics. Further, it is important to analyse the process by which these basics have been defined. Who were involved from within andoutside the organisation in defining these basics? To what extent was the exercise a participatory one? How rigorous was the exercise?To define basics, there are several techniques and facilitators available, but it essentiallydemands disciplined and collective imagination and introspection by the organisationleaders.
Communicating the Basics
Here the robustness of the process by which the basics are communicated, both within theorganisation and outside, needs to be considered. From the perspective of externalstakeholders, the brand should carry the same the message, as has been emphasized incorporate advertisements and supported by related positioning on other three Ps of marketing.A greater challenge lies in communicating these basics within the organisation. Severalcompanies have lofty goals and vision statements, hung on walls of corporate office andevery other important notice board, but these are never referred to by management inmeetings or in general communication. Further, there are no visible signs of periodic andcontinual sharing of information about organisation performance on these basics tointernal stakeholders. How can employees be considered engaged in organisation missionof being in top three or five, in the absence of communication about its present ranking,the nearest next competitor and the gap from the final goal?Further, are leaders walking the talk? Are all leaders speaking the same language? Isthere any continuity in the message with change in the leadership or composition of critical management? How are the deviations dealt with? What is compromised in theevents of crisis and what is not? These things influence the stakeholders’ perceptionsmore strongly than formal corporate brochures, and internal magazines.Communication is complete only after it is ensured that the receivers understand, andappreciate the message and its intent. The communication challenge lies in ensuring thatthe message is conveyed so that employees are able to interpret its relevance to their workplace context and feel empowered to take the right decisions. Is there any formalfeedback loop that verifies that the message is being institutionalised in the intendedmanner? The institutionalisation is considered to be adequately achieved when thequeries about basics across groups and hierarchies evoke similar responses. Theorganisation representatives in the field should know “What business we are into? What
 
are the priorities? What means are not acceptable?” as much as the staff in the corporatestrategy cell at head-office.Indeed, the Articulation Ace puts a lot of pressure on management to clarify its thought process, and demands consistency in actions, and integrity in communication.
4-ACES: Variables that influence Organisation Performance
 ACE 2: ALIGNMENT 
It includes ensuring fit at two levels.
Strategy-Structure-System fit
Any serious management would have an idea of the strategic direction, if not compete blue print. The bigger challenge is to ensure that strategy-structure and systems aremutually supporting. Strategies based on innovation and rapid response, but supported byhierarchical structures and bureaucratic systems, may not deliver effectively. Similarly,strategies requiring high level inter-unit coordination but accompanied with highlyindividualistic reward systems may not work.Although well recognized in theory, this strategy-structure-system fit often fails to get theadequate attention. Sometimes within organizations, the owners of strategy (corporate planning group), structure (Human Resource department) and systems (IT/Operations
A1: ARTICULATION
Defining the Basics-Vision, Values, Goals
Communicating the Basics
 
A2: ALIGNMENT
Strategy-Structure-System
Organization-Individual
 
A3: APPARATUS
Resources
Delivery Processes
Technology
A4: ACCOUNTABILITY
Defining the Metrics
Defining the Consequences
 OrganizationPerformance

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