3 essential basics for difficult times
While not a case study, this approach has been tested in an organization that went through potentially devastating circumstances. The principles and the approach work.
Solid strategy is the result of solid thinking, which is guided by an organizational Clarity of Purpose. Successful implementation of the strategy requires a systematic cascade of "what to do" across the organization, following the principles of delay. Finally, the realization of the operational plan depends on everyone working SMART and being responsible for their own contribution, with the full knowledge that they play a vital leading role in achieving the overall objectives of the organization.
Let's take a deeper look at 3 essential basics that all organizations must follow and how their LMS can help you do this. It is important to note that organizations will implement calls to action differently. Some will use an organization-wide approach, while others may do it by workgroup or task group. However, the principles remain the same.
1. Clarity of purpose
In times of disruption, and the turmoil that often accompanies it, the organization's Clarity of Purpose is paramount. It is important to emphasize that it must include clarity of who the beneficiaries of this purpose they are as well as clarity on what organizational skills and behavioral sets will deliver the organizational purpose to satisfy the defined needs and wants of the beneficiaries.
Organizational purpose is the true heart of an organization and as such is central to all decision making. Changing the organizational purpose or ignoring it fundamentally changes the nature of the organization. If your organizational purpose has been well thought out and is clear, let it guide your decision making through difficult times. Simon Sinek and Patrick Lencioni are opinion leaders in this field. Watch the following two video clips to update the importance of Clarity of Purpose:
COVID-19 has posed significant challenges for most organizations. Much of the "talk" we hear from companies seems to be related to how they could mitigate potential harm or even "timing" what is happening. This is only speculation and does not serve as any form of reassurance to customers, employees, investors and other interested parties unless context is given. The clarity of the organizational purpose provides it.
Customers will continue to have the same or similar needs or wants. However, they may have different expectations of how they will be delivered, or in fact, the organization may need to change the way they package and deliver their offer. This, in turn, will require different forms of work and new knowledge and skills that will allow the sets of behaviors necessary to achieve it.
Call to action: Re-communicate your purpose to your staff through your LMS. Employees need a constant in times of change. Messages from your CEO in this regard, in any format, will be invaluable. Get key executives to share ideas about how they think they may need to work differently to accomplish this purpose and ask for comments and questions from staff. If new knowledge and skills are required, start delivering this through your LMS. As modest as you start, it will look positive. Communicate what you are doing and why to your stakeholders.
Finally, your executives can use the following additional essential basics to guide their thinking and communicate their action plans.
STEPS (an acronym for Systems, Techniques, Label, Process and Style) is a reminder to solidly document organizational forms of work. Clear documentation not only allows others to benefit from following tried and tested processes / solutions, but also enables them to apply their own thoughts and opinions as part of the continuous improvement challenge. Systems and techniques are tools to assist in applying knowledge to perform a specific task competently. The label is about being clear about the ways of working / rules of engagement and informs observable processes, which become a different style of doing business. How things are done is as important as what is done in terms of determining success. Label is also about having a universally acceptable way of interacting / doing things that are enjoyable and work for all staff, regardless of gender, culture, race, creed, values, and beliefs.
It stands to reason that with more people working remotely and people needing to work differently, your organizational STEPS will change.
Call to action: Review the STEPS that your organization has implemented and systematically analyze how these may need to change as a result of COVID-19. Use your LMS to bring this discussion to your employees and ask for their comments and opinions. This level of participation will help prepare employees for the changes to come and, if they feel part of the debate, help them accept the changes. This will smooth the required transition.
In times of threat or disruption, organizations tend to focus on their finances, specifically how they can defend their "bottom line" and protect their bottom line. This is important, but it will not lead to sustainable performance and health in the future. The balanced scorecard approach provides the discipline and process necessary to deliver a balanced operating plan.
A balanced scorecard requires a "balance" of measures across all organizational disciplines. In general, the scorecard requires a balance of interventions and objectives in the four dimensions that impact the sustainable performance of the organization. They are often given slightly different labels, but they essentially amount to balancing the overall goals of the organization in a similar way. A common framework is financial, customer, internal processes, and learning and innovation. The link will update you on the concept.
Call to action: The categorization of the actions you will take according to a balanced scorecard approach gives context to what the various objectives will achieve and the role they will play in the future success of the organization. It also feels like a comprehensive approach, which builds confidence. Use your LMS to communicate this to your staff and prepare them for the specific roles they will play in what needs to be done to ensure success.
Lead Delay Principles
Lag-lead is a powerful concept that helps us understand that the desired results are the result of very specific contributions that everyone needs to understand and have a main contribution.
In most modern companies, there are a large number of measurements readily available, often at the push of a button. Cunning business leaders understand the importance of delay versus the main indicators / targets. Furthermore, they understand that future success is the result of focusing the attention of each and every employee on the actions required in the short term to achieve the desired results or results in the long term. They understand that when these results are measurable, what caused them is history and cannot be influenced to change the experienced result. The results / results, therefore, are called lagging goals because they depend on the successful achievement of certain main actions measured by indicators or main objectives.
The classic delay goal for many adults is to lose an amount of weight on a certain date. It is just a late target that you will not be able to determine success or failure until the target date. The main objectives are those that will be predictive of success and are immediately measurable. If you are serious, you will set daily and weekly main goals to ensure success and monitor your progress, adjusting your main goals as necessary. In this case, you can choose two main goals, one to exercise more to burn more energy and the other to control the calories you eat.
Call to action: Use your LMS to update your employees on the concept of lead retardation. Involve them in setting primary goals for themselves that have a direct link to their overall organizational lag goals for the next time period. This allows everyone to play a leading role in terms of the direct impact they can have on the overall objectives of the organization. This is motivating and promotes an understanding of why your progress needs to be measured.
3. SMART goals
The concept of SMART goals has been around for a long time. However, it is often not consistently applied or well contextualized. SMART is an acronym for specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound. All employees must understand and apply this to credit their efforts. Ed Muzio explains the concept well in the following YouTube clip:
Call to action: Use your LMS to update SMART goals and have employees use this approach to set their primary goals. In this way, everyone plays a role in taking measures for which they can be responsible.
Most of us are familiar with the 3 essential basics discussed in this article. However, they are often not applied consistently and simultaneously. If your organization is having difficulty dealing with COVID-19, try this approach. Works!