“2 months! You have got to be kidding me! ” shouted Mark at Jill, our head of procurement.
It was around 7:00 PM, most of the employees had left for the day. The ones that were in the office were gathering to see what the public brawl was about.
“This can’t be good” I thought to myself as I got nearer.
“Hey, hey!!! Can we please take this in my room.” I interrupted.
While we walked towards my office, I wondered,
” I was brought in by the CEO and the board as the head of operations (of this software development company with nearly 500 developers in three centers) to help them streamline the operations and grow the business .”
“For my part, I have done everything by the book. I have incorporated (Key Result Areas or Goals) for each department in-line with the organization goals. I have then rolled out a balanced score card throughout the entire organization. Then I have put in a system of measurement on each project, and finally made the leads and managers responsible for customer success. All in just over a year. This was a no-brainer. It should work!”
“Yet, we have issues:
- Each project seems to be working as a little company and nobody seems to care for the organization
- At the ground level there are constant struggles between departments. It seems that we needed more and more processes
- Teams are interested in getting only their task done without care for anyone else. It felt like we are running a bunch of mercenaries…”
I pondered on, as I made them both sit down in my office.
My thoughts were interrupted by Mark, the head of our design group.
“Harsha, I have to have the latest hardware for my project and have made a procurement request as well. But Jill here is telling me that it is going to take two months to get it in!”
“But Harsha, you have asked me to import these machines from the low cost vendor as a part of the organization cost management process.” protested Jill.
‘That is fair’, I thought, but before I could react, Mark rebutted, “By that time my project will be done and dusted! Look, I want to be a team player, I have even done the analysis on the web and called a couple of vendors locally. They can have the machine in-house by tomorrow morning.”
“But that is going to cost more” said Jill defending her department goals.
“By how much?” I asked both of them.
“$285 more…” came the answer.
I nearly fell off the chair!
I asked them to go ahead with it. I told Jill that we will add this to her budget and that it would not affect her department targets. Notice, I just broke a company rule for the good of the company.
Both of them went about their business and completed their projects successfully.
As they left my office, I shook my head in disgust.
“$285! And, they are fighting like kids! But it is strange. Both of them are empowered employees and do everything by the rules I have set up for them. Meaning, they are both trying to do good! But somehow, the organization and I have let them down. The organization structure, the systems and processes that I have laid down with the best of intentions are the real reason for them fighting. Their corporate goals are opposing one another!”
But how would I fix this????
As I reached home, my daughter came up to me and asked, “Daddy, which nail polish do you think I should wear?” and thrust out 5 different choices from her moms collection!
I did exactly what any self respecting parent would do and washed my hands off it by saying, “Why don’t you ask your friends?”
By then she got distracted and went away.
An hour later, she flopped into the couch next to me. I noticed that she has a crazy shade of blue nail polish on her hands that was mixed with pink and silver dots!!!!
Knowing fully well that something crazy was going to hit me, I ventured, “I didn’t see you go out. Did you call your friends?”
She quickly said, “No, I checked with them on the social networks and we decided that I should go with a combination than just one color!”
She disappeared just as she had appeared but got me thinking of the problem earlier in the night.
That is when it hit me!!!!!!
The world around us has changed. We have three main advantages going for us.
- With the advent of the internet, information is instantly available to everyone (Not just the procurement guys!)
- We can’t put processes/rules around everything. We have to let the organization evolve through empowered execution. We can do that with knowledge workers of today if we can ingrain the right attitude first. How do we do this? (Look for answer in point 3)
- Since people are influenced by their society and social networks, companies can harness this power to drive employees to execute strategies to success!
The Club VA (VA‘s enterprise social network software to enable operation excellence through empowered organization!) is built to help companies execute by leveraging these three advantages.
Results: After we implemented the Club within the organization, we found the following results:
- Not only did we not have the problems described above, the server utilization increased by over 20%.
- Empowered employees made decisions for the organizations at the execution levels that decreased costs by 10%
- In just one year of implementing the software, we were able to bring about team cohesiveness and reduce attrition by over 50%.
If you want to achieve similar results, please feel free to call any one of us at Vantage Agora.
About Vantage Agora
Vantage Agora (VA) is a global provider of back-office solutions, custom IT services and consulting services for companies in the insurance, finance, and healthcare sectors. As a SSAE 16 Type II audited company,Vantage Agora utilizes advanced data processing and quality control systems on a secured network to ensure efficient, comprehensive management of back-office for the insurance and finance sectors. Along with that Club VA has helped several companies improve their operational efficiency of their organizations. Founded in 2004, Vantage Agora has offices in Cleveland and Dallas.