Manage the Culture or Get Run Over by It

Research has shown a growing perception among executives about the importance of Corporate Culture, even greater than Strategy. Other signs of this emphasis are the huge number of books currently available on the topic, and Google returning almost 11 million search results. The main motivations for this in the business world could be:
1. Engage all the employees in the mission and values, for greater collaboration and productivity;
2- Equip the front line team for quick and effective response to customers, in an ever challenging and competitive business environment;
3- Increase appeal for generation Y professionals, who seek identification and purpose in work;
4- Change the game with resilience and innovation, in the face of crises and the disruptive market.

Corporate culture can be perceived by the way people think and act in the company, based on established formal and informal beliefs, and is naturally inherited from the founders. Murals and posters on the walls cannot define culture, but mostly the everyday experiences do it, influenced by example that comes from the leadership. By the way, almost all companies have their mission published, however most of their people are not able to recite it.

If you are looking for very different results and/or understand that your business needs a significant change of direction, it is inevitable having to change the organizational culture. It is the leadership responsibility to manage the organizational culture for desired results, and not end up being run over by it.

Workforce Arrangement

An organizational aspect that tends to be apparent in a company is its people structure, especially when it comes to a service-based business. Therefore, it is normal for business leaders to present their business through an org chart, which often reflects also how they monitor and act in that organization. Family businesses have a lot of history to tell justifying why certain people occupy certain positions in the organizational structure, based on relationship with the founders and on the trust developed. However, this is not the best criterion for filling vacancies as the company grows and faces new challenges.

A company must systematically deliver superior value to its customers in order to sustain its competitiveness, so the people who work there should organize themselves in a way consistent with the value chain implemented. The allocation of each one in the workforce structure should consider, directly or indirectly, his// her contribution to deliver value to customers and results for the business. Thus, technical specializations are ordered with the levels of responsibilities in areas and positions in the organization (vertical), and allocated as resources according to the requirements to operate the processes involved (horizontal). Grouping of people then can follow a logical orientation that favours collaboration by prioritizing value and results, and not simply to meet demands from functional sectors or hierarchies.

In conclusion, the org chart should not be a “personorg“, reflecting a personal view of organizing people in the company, but rather be consistent with the business value flow and aligned with constituent processes.

Processes as Business Asset

I usually think of the productive chain when I go to a super market for organic products, with processes like: identify and certify suppliers, contract and balance supply, receive and store products, position in store and promote, sell and update stock, monitor and discard products due, evaluate demand and adjust. All of this besides the support processes with people, infrastructure and business management. The logical organisation of activities and resources utilized defines the value flows and provides the systemic vision to coordinate them, in order to generate sustainable value for customers and shareholders. WholeFoods was recently acquired by Amazon in a multi-billion transaction, for the brand’s high penetration in the market and for the processes that operationalize this valuable business

Is your Operating Model defined?

All business idea, no matter how good it is, can only make a difference when put into practice, and so demonstrating its ability to generate value. There are many ways of combining resources and organizing their productive relation, considering human and technological competencies, internally only or integrated with third parties. This arrangement is called Operating Model, as the result of an exercise of structuring options to run the business efficiently and sustainably. With the Operating Model defined, leaders can promote an active collaboration among business participants, based on a shared vision of the working processes involved, for an optimized execution.

#operatingmodel

The power of connection

Promoting healthy relationships in the work environment through collaborative values and a set of meetings, with clarity of shared objectives and means for syncronization, conflict resolution, and collective learning, is fundamental to face crises. The power of connection among people who make up the business contributes with positive attitudes and reinforce the company ability to overcome huge challenges. They are the neural pathways of an intelligent organization!