Organizational Common Sense

Lean, 5S, 6 Sigma, ISO 9001. There! That covers the buzzwords that triggered your search engines to locate this site. Now, while I have your attention:

Do you have a number of employees with Lean Training binders stored neatly in their offices? Do you have a list of active lean projects? Have you got a wall with process maps sketched all over it with sticky notes that has been there for months?

And how about that 5S? Has your staff been on training, but all you have to show for it are a lot of binders? Yes, you say, and still no one can put anything away, and there are no designated places to put things.

ISO 9001: Still a slave to myriad pedantic procedures that do not add value to the operation?

6Sigma: What? You haven’t used statistics since school days? This is process improvement written by statisticians.

Let’s cut to the chase. All of the above are packaged and merchandised ways to apply common sense to your organization. Full blown 6 Sigma, 5S or Lean programs may be the best medicine for some organizations, but a typical owner managed firm will benefit from a good dose of organizational common sense. Organizational common sense is neither appealing nor sexy, so it doesn’t show up in search engines. So why is organizational common sense so elusive, and why do organizations falter?

The answer lies in Entropy (that is, the tendency for a system to go awry, or the inevitable and steady deterioration of a system or society). A business starts out. It is small. Everyone knows each other and chips in to make things happen. The business grows. The system gets more complex, fiefdoms emerge. Personnel become territorial. Process interrelationships become blurred because protocol gets in the way of process. Before you know it, the operation suffers from any, or all of the following: Cycle times that are too long for order processing or fulfilment, poor delivery performance, uncompetitive cost structure, dissatisfied customers, loss of market share, poor investor returns, and competitive onslaught for which you have no defence.

To prevent entropy you need to:

  • Regularly review the vision and mission of your operation;  
  • Ensure that the objectives and targets align with the mission;
  • Ensure that the responsibilities of key personnel are in sync with the objectives and targets;
  • Have a forum where the criteria listed above are critiqued and challenged to ensure they are all aligned and take into consideration changing market circumstances.

It’s that simple. This is called organizational common sense. Of course, the simple things are not necessarily easy. But it is easy to take simple things and turn them into monstrous initiatives (we’re doing lean), which allow us to feel like we are doing something yet really permit us to stay in our comfort zone and continue to put out fires.

If your organization suffers from any of these maladies you should have Array Strategies in for a visit. We will identify your problem, the cause of the problem and the solution. It is up to you to execute the solution

We can return at a predetermined frequency to critique, coach and monitor your system and your team. This will ensure alignment of your vision, mission, objectives, market focus, capabilities and capacities. This will prevent entropy.

It’s common sense.