Your people are amazing. They are highly skilled and capable. Their expertise shines.
Your processes are solid. They are well thought-out and comprehensive, and when followed they minimize waste and yield good results.
Your technology is great. You’ve been smart with your purchases. Your teams do a good job determining what to build and when. In general, you have high-quality systems that work well for your business.
So why does it seem overly difficult to deliver results?
Why is it so hard to make decisions?
Why aren’t you really sure what you’ll be able to deliver, or worse, if you’ll be able to deliver against your goals at all?
This conundrum exists in a lot of mature environments, causing a fair amount of discomfort among senior leaders. It can cause you to second guess things like your people, processes, and technology, but those are rarely the problem. The issue is where you aren’t looking … the behavioral norms (i.e. tenets) that govern how people/process/technology come together. The tenets that are usually missing are Transparency, Inclusivity, and Data-Driven Decision Making. And you must address these in order to get maximum value out of your operating model.
How does Transparency, Inclusivity, and Data-Driven Decision Making lead to better results?
Ultimately, your results are a function of your people, processes, and technology. People leverage the technology available to them, following prescribed processes. Along the way, people make decisions that ultimately lead to results. Their decisions stem from ideas which are informed by the information available to them. So the quality of your results directly depends on the quality of the information your people are acting on.
So, if you want better results, get better information, right? That’s part of it. Of course having high-quality information increases the probability of getting high-quality results. There’s no guarantee, obviously, but generally I’ve found this to be true.) Defining “high-quality” and pondering how to improve the quality of the information is a topic (or debate 🙂 ) for another day. Today, I want to focus on the accessibility and usage of the information.
Accessibility and Usage of Information
In most organizations, sufficient information already exists to support ideation and good decision-making. The issue is that it isn’t fully leveraged due to the following reasons:
- Lack of transparency. Some people have the important information, others don’t. Those who have it need to be transparent a) that they have it, b) what it is, and c) how it supports their ideas and decisions.
- Lack of inclusivity. Just because the information is transparent, it doesn’t mean it’s being shared in the most effective way. Information is often kept from groups that could benefit from it. They could use the information to contribute their own ideas to enrich decision-making and the results. The best solutions are born out of inclusive environments and diverse perspectives.
- Decisions aren’t data-driven, or don’t appear to be. Leaders are often required to make decisions with seemingly insufficient information. However, good leaders will do whatever they can to get more and better information to increase the likelihood of making the “right” decision. Good leaders are also transparent about the data they use which provides context to others. Even if they disagree with your decisions, they are more likely to respect it. Data-driven decision making leads to more objectivity, and minimizes subjectivity and emotion-driven interactions.
More to come
This is the first article in a multi-part series. We will examine each of these tenets - Transparency, Inclusivity, and Data-Driven Decision Making - in more depth, in future posts.
As a leader, you expect your people, processes, and technology to come together into a cohesive operating model. Even when you have amazing people, solid processes, and great technology, you may still struggle with delivering against your goals and getting the best results. This is often due to cultural norms that prevent you from getting maximum value out of your organization. In that case, you should inspect HOW the people, processes, and technology work together. Specifically, evaluate how your org practices transparency, inclusivity, and data-driven decision making in the process of translating information to ideas, ideas to decisions, and decisions to results.
Dockett Ellis can help!
Dockett Ellis Consulting works with organizations to improve their operating models by developing and cultivating cultural norms, enabling them achieve better results. We are experts in organizational development, talent and leadership coaching, and org transformation, particularly with transitions to agile operations and product development. We believe in the power of data, and partner closely with you to understand your unique business needs. We are more than consultants -- We are Problem Solvers! Contact us if you’d like to discuss ways we can help improve your organization’s ability to deliver.
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