IN THIS ISSUE:
- Large Scale Organisation Transformation & Org Design
- UN Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDGs) – concern us all!
- Circle Work – Creating Engagement and Customer Focus
- Free Organisation Structure Analysis… A Once Off Offer for a Not For Profit! Sydney based!
- The art of being a good EA, how to balance different needs whilst staying sane.
- The World has become more complex
- Win one of five new books and the Book shelf
Large Scale Organisation Transformation
& Org Design
Andrew Olivier, Partner.
Key Drivers for Successful Transformation – Purpose, Trust, Commitment; Mental model, Coherence; Long View, Metrics; 5Q, UVA, MoR; Clarity, Consistency and CommonSpeak; Perseverance, Ongoing, Development, Authority = Accountability, Flow.
The Organisational Sequence – the blue print for design, operations and leadership.
We have been working for the last two years plus on a major transformation project with one of Australia’s largest general insurers. A brief explanation of the key drivers for successful transformation is below;
Purpose, Trust, Commitment: A clear purpose provided the anchor for the intent and culture. Support from the Group CEO and two key executives have been critical in moving this five-year embed project forward, as well as the many leaders in the organisation. Ongoing commitment to knowing, being and doing for the long haul, with leaders actively leading!
Mental Model for Coherence – Key to this journey is having a comprehensive mental model on how to design, operate and lead. The Organisational Sequence (above) provides this. The Group has been restructured to make it fit for purpose, with strategic business units realigned to strategy and functional alignment ongoing to ensuring clarity of work. The tough job of ensuring authority matches accountability, both vertically and horizontally, is still underway.
Long View and Metrics – The Group is firmly on the journey to becoming customer centric, agile, balancing the now with longer time horizons (moving from three to ten years+ time spans), with empowered people and clear value adding roles. All the key indicators are positive, dashboards provide tracking metrics and the Group hit its highest share price recently. Employee NPS scores continue to rise as does profitability.
5Qs, Unique Value Adding, MoR – Work is diligently underway to ensure employees can answer the five core questions (5Qs), all have MoR (Manager Once Removed) interviews (for many a first), are aware of how they spend their time (role balance) and how they all add unique value (UVA) in their work.
Clarity, Consistency and CommonSpeak– A key objective is a common framework and language to;
- Communicate and understand the world of work with common language;
- Have agreed best leadership, design and people practices
- Encourage UVA and deep working
- Build effective systems of work.
- Ensure all work is a direct link to intent.
- Empower and live the Group’s values.
Perseverance, Ongoing Development, Flow, Authority=Accountability – workshops were held throughout the Group from Group CEO to Front Line Leaders and these are ongoing. At the same time systems of work were designed and realigned to support the new way of working and talking. A key focus is ensuring people are aligned with their role requirements (flow), able to make decisions (and held accountable) and are on a journey to make their and their client’s world a fun, safer place.
Feedback From the Client:
‘The Working Journey have played an important role in assisting me to implement a comprehensive organisational redesign and leadership development program across our group. In addition to the delivery of the organisational redesign program, Andrew has regularly provided me and my team with strategic insights on a range of corporate culture and leadership issues. This has made him a valuable advisor and thinking partner.
I would highly recommend Andrew and The Working Journey to any organisation that is planning or implementing large scale organisational design initiatives.’
CEO Australia (9,000 employees and turnover > $6 Billion) – shortened from original letter.
United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – concern us all!
At a 2018 UNSDG Australian SDG Summit, governments, NGO, research institutions and the private sector met to discuss progress and challenges in implementing and monitoring the SDGs. These SDGs are critically important to ALL of us, not only the top end of town. If we start thinking about them, socialising them and living them, they will happen a lot faster than the traditional top down approach.
Andrew leaves for six weeks abroad on 18 May, heading to a UN Sustainable Development Goals linked workshop/ conference in Geneva, then off to a Global Ecovillage Network (GEN) International meeting and workshop in Scotland; from there to Schumacher College, attending an international symposium on transformation and the need for societal systems change. Back in Australia 25 June and off to Adelaide for an internal Working Journey learning session.
Andrew says the common thread for all the workshops are the UN Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDGs) as this the common, yet unspoken glue behind the myriads of independent initiatives taking place globally. He says, “In my view, they are absolutely critical to our survival, let alone well-being and 2030 is aspirational to say the least”.
The Working Journey is planning a possible UNSDG conference in 2019 in partnership with, amongst others, GEN International and GEN Australia (a linked UN affiliate). There is lots of power in the bottom of the pyramid, as CK Prahalad said!!
Circle Work – Creating Engagement and Customer Focus.
Adam Thompson, Partner.
There’s a reason advertisement don’t show org charts – customers don’t care about the internal org design. The more we can organise around the end-to-end processes that deliver value to particular customer segments, the less seams are going to trip us up.
A Team of Owners
The mental model we adopt for how hierarchy works is the key to whether it becomes an enabling system that allows people to find flow…or the opposite.
Some foundations: a manager is accountable on behalf of the organisation for the team delivering its mission. To make this work, the manager is provided with the formal authority to make certain decisions around who is in the team, who does what, how people are going and to initiate removing people. All foundational stuff.
Now, ask the team to draw their ‘org chart’, and they’re going to draw something like this:
A visual like this easily leads to felt ownership of the work gathering in just the one person. Not an optimal situation.
So here’s a change. Draw your team like this….
By the person in managerial role treating the others in the team like they are co-owners, like they are all partners in business together, ownership of the team becomes shared. And like in a legal partnership, not everyone necessarily owns the same share – in this case, the manager is the 51% shareholder, so, when required, it’s their call.
Circles – Teams of Owners Focussing on Customers
There’s a reason advertisement don’t show org charts – customers don’t care about the internal org design. The more we can organise around the end-to-end processes that deliver value to particular customer segments, the less seams are going to trip us up. This is not new, various ‘councils’, ‘user groups’, ‘cross-functional teams’ and the like have been set up with the best of intentions. But these often get messy, then fall apart as people retreat back to their functional areas.
We’ve been using an approach that works. First, we choose a different word for the end-to-end customer team. Borrowing from Sociocracy, we often suggest ‘Circle‘ to be the term as it creates a difference from the functional team, gets people’s attention, and creates the mental picture of ‘everyone in’. Then we make the purpose of the Circle clear – in the case of an end-to-end process, the purpose is along the lines of ‘to continually improve the customer experience, cost and sustainability of the work system’.
Here’s where the key point comes in – using the functional structure, a leader of the Circle is appointed, and is asked to take accountability for the Purpose of the Circle as part of their role. This leader is explicitly given authority name the people they need in the Circle and those people are invited to join. Where they are from a different business area, this is explicitly discussed with that area, it’s not just left to the wind.
In other words, we clarify or modify roles so taking co-ownership of the Circle being successful becomes part of people’s roles….whichever functional department they come from. And the leader of the Circle is given the managerial authority to make decisions as needed to achieve the mission, but, crucially, is expected to treat all those in the Circle as co-owners.
We then ensure the Circle has meaningful customer value information along with foundational practices of team working in place which lead to effective meetings and actions. Because if a group of people gathers together weekly and can look at meaningful information about their work, it’s not possible to stop them trying to make it better.
Linking Circles to Functions
Linking back to the functional hierarchy, we explicitly change the goal of each functional area from ‘deliver your KPI’s in isolation’ to ‘deliver what is required of you by the Circles you contribute to’. In other words, we are making sure that what is being optimised is the end-to-end process, and not the results of any one component of it. And because cost can only be taken out at a functional level, there is always a role for each function to see how it can deliver what’s required of it with less resource.
Finally, we set up a Governance Circle consisting of the longest-term role across all the functions and Circles, (for example a General Manager) and their two levels of reports. This provides a weekly forum of ‘the full system in the room’ for triaging and decision-making, and with all the authority, power and influence of the Division present, progress is a natural outcome. And with progress, engagement and delivery are also natural outcomes.
The best part of all of this? It bring large groups together and joins them together in the mission that they were always on. And that makes for better days at work.
Feedback from a Client – Mr Dominic Jacob, General Manager, RAA.
“Adam has been working with the Automotive Services management team since January 2018, helping us reset, reorganise and refocus, following a major successful technology change implementation.
During several initial workshops, the senior management team unpacked a range of issues and concerns and clarified the fundamental purpose of the work being done across the business unit of nearly 300 employees. This centred on being clear on where/ how our customers realise value and better understanding the work systems used to produce the valued outcome, using the resources we are entrusted with.
A series of key principles were developed to help shape and foster the required changes in thinking and behaviour, with the emphasis on the things we value and priority trade-offs we will make to achieve required improvements, including;
• Overall customer experience OVER individual departmental performance,
• Flow of work through the work systems OVER individual resource utilisation efficiency,
• Completing important work OVER starting multiple bodies of work,
• Priority focus OVER multi-tasking,
• Satisfactory completion OVER perfection.
The formation of “Circles”, is how we are organising to improve understanding of the business, gain clarity and visibility of business unit priorities, and ultimately, educate and empower our frontline managers to improve work systems to enhance customer value, improve our financial performance or increase the end-to-end customer experience.
Whilst it’s still relatively early days, the “Circles” are already having a number of positive effects in relation to engagement of front-line managers, improving awareness of priorities and understanding of resource allocation decisions, shaping conversations with a focus on our customers, encouraging greater visibility and use of data, and encouraging greater co-operation and collaboration amongst those involved in critical processes.
Our aim is to use the knowledge developed through the circles to redefine what success looks like, reshape performance indicators and more broadly engage with employees to get them involved with process improvement.”
Free Organisation Structure Analysis….
A Once Off Offer for a Not For Profit!
The Working Journey has done probono work with not for profit clients since 2001. We have a unique model for doing this, involving partnerships with our clients. In this case our partner is a top 50 blue chip client.
A unique opportunity has unexpectantly arisen for us to offer a free organisational design analysis service to a not for profit organisation who is looking to restructure. We can offer a requisite analysis of their current structure with recommendations on what to do to create a structure that is fit for purpose and sees longer term intent realised. If you are interested, here are the criteria we are looking at;
- CEO to be accessible for project explanation
- CEO approved project
- Org to be >150 employees; our study will not encompass more then 30 roles starting at the senior level, includes DRs and some skip level reports as assessed in planning.
- Sydney based or environs
- Access to required employees and documentation
- Feedback to CEO
- Confidentiality assured
Previous probono clients have included World Vision, Grameen Australia, Volunteers SA & NT, Good Returns and Barnardos. This offer forms part of our accreditation training. Here is a reference from CEO Guy Winship of Good Returns;
“On behalf of World Education Australia, a heartfelt thank you to The Working Journey for providing the capability review of our senior management team. The short finalisation workshop with our Board Chair last week was most valuable and closed out the assignment neatly for us as well. To add special and particular thanks to Verena and Tim for conducting the in-depth interviews and individual capability reports. Not only were they enthusiastic and competent in their consultation they were exceptionally thorough in their approach; ensuring we have a clear idea of the capabilities of the senior members of the team, where they are at now and by understanding how they make decisions, how they can better contribute to the organisation in future.
The Board and I are most grateful for this information which will be used to develop succession plans by better appreciating the career paths of these important team members. Once again, we have thoroughly enjoyed working with you and your team. Your contribution to improving our employee engagement and innovation will assure improved organisational performance as we work towards our mission; providing people living in hardship with opportunities to invest in their own lives.”
Guy Winship. CEO. World Education Australia
If you are interested in further info on our probono work, please click the following link http://globalro.org/index.php/sig/1623-andrew-olivier-slides
If you are interested in being considered please fill out the EOI form, below, prior to the 15th June 2018.
The art of being a good EA, how to balance different needs whilst staying sane.
Samantha MacDonald. EA at the Working Journey
I was asked if I might like to put together some lines on my life as an EA/mother/wife/daughter/member of the community/owner builder, along with many other roles and how I personally balance their needs. I’ve never written an article before so hopefully it works!
I would like to think of myself as a pretty good EA, I absolutely love my job and those who I work with, which goes such a long way to providing that blissful balance.
I usually occupy the office for 3 days in the working week. My other time is spent homeschooling our two children with my husband, volunteering some time to an ecovillage community that I am a part of, designing our future rammed earth home at said village, and also taking time out for myself.
Like I mentioned, I think a essential part to work-life balance is enjoying what you do and who you are doing it with. I will very happily put in that extra mile for any of my colleagues and managers because of our awesome working relationships.
We all make mistakes, however when I do at work, I feel supported by my team and genuinely apologetic, usually wishing to go above and beyond to rectify. Basically, having a great team around you with kind and understanding leaders ensures productivity and employee happiness. It’s a no-brainer.
Another way that I feel that I can achieve a good work-life balance is not only working less than the usual 5 days a week, but during the time I do not work – taking a less rushed approach to life. I am fortunate as my husband also works part time so we both share equally in the parenting and homeschooling ‘duties’.
We live simply and slowly, ensuring significant down time to just be, exist, observe & relish in the beautiful things that life offers in every moment. Instead of being caught up in the hustle and bustle of the usual social pattern of ‘busy’, I am not, and I am fundamentally content.
A lot of people believe that this kind of existence is unachievable, but it’s not. It is simple, it is a choice. In such an opulent 1st world society – of course, luxury can be lovely, expensive cars, huge homes, amazing home-tech set ups, but they are all things chosen to have, and are they worth it in the end? they can all contribute to an off-balance work-life.
So that is the story of my well balanced home and work life, I hope others can find exactly that in their own individual ways.
BOOKS, BOOKS, BOOKS….
Win a New Book!
Win one of five free books – give us the best example of sustainable strategies in place in your organisation and how it links with the UNSDG. Win a copy of BECAUSE –
Send your 500 -800 word story to us, including email and address. Winners will be contacted by 30 June 2018. Judge’s decision final – Australia and New Zealand only; winning stories to be published.
Send your 500 word story to us, including email and address. Will be treated confidentially. Winners will be contacted by 30 June 18
Diving Deeper into Deep Work – article by Andrew Oliver. May 2018. Based on the book ‘Deep Work’ by Cal Newport. 2017.
Stewardship by Peter Block – design and run an organisation to create ownership, not dependence
It’s Not Luck by Eli Goldratt – learning about the ‘thinking processes’ which resolve conflicts and surface unbeatable product offers
Team of Teams by General Stanley McChrystal – how to combine functional hierarchy with transparency and information for an agile workplace
The Great Game of Business by Jack Stack – a systemic method for creating true ownership in the outcomes of your organisation
Hanging Fire by Jeff Cox – a better way to run programs of projects in your organisation
Beyond the Goal by Eli Goldratt (audiobook) – have your mind blown by how much local optimum thinking makes business hard.
Drive by Dan Pink
Turn the ship around by David Marquet
The world is more complex
than it used to be!
So what to do about it?
Tim Levett, Working Journey Associate
This is my hypothesis anyway! I talk to a lot of people in a lot of different industries and organisations, and one common theme that continually appears is the rate of change and how many things are going on or need to be considered in the workplace these days. There’s no actual research on the level of complexity we face today compared to previous decades (nothing solid that I’ve seen anyway), but I and many others certainly feel like we are working in a more complex and fast paced working world, and if we all have this feeling, there is probably some truth to it. Right?
A 2015 McKinsey study found that increasing regulation, accessible information and communication as well as rapid changes to technology are some of the reasons we feel that we exist in a more complex world. I can relate to each of these points and more, so it seems like a logical collective response and helps to somewhat validate the hypothesis in my heading.
So what do we do about this? CEOs and other senior leaders see external complexity and they respond (as they should). An all too familiar response is to look at all of the changes to regulation or increased competition by introducing new policies which come with new procedures or they quickly decide the organisation needs to introduce new technology or a new product to stay competitive (which always goes well) and much more.
What I generally see is organisation’s becoming more complex with over-engineered structures, systems, rules and procedures to try and deal with the complexity around them. This only tends to bog the organisation down and turn it into a bureaucratic nightmare where everything is harder to complete. Another way to look at this is that we do lots of busy or ‘shallow work’ rather than spending time on the important things, the ‘deep work’. See Andrew’s article on Cal Newport’s concept of Deep Work).
Interestingly while senior leaders should be concerned with external complexity most people in an organisation are experiencing internal complexity from the previously mentioned complex structures and systems. Tell me this isn’t you!
We should acknowledge here that every organisation, to survive, needs to reflect the amount of external complexity in which the organisation plays in. The diagram below shows an oganisation responding to external complexity as it grows by adding ‘just enough’ internal complexity or ‘dies’ by not doing so.
How you understand this external environment and transfer it into the business is critical to success (See Gillian Stamp’s article on adding value in different layers of an organisation). You need to have leaders that make effective decisions on these matters and steer clear of the over-complex bureaucracy we can sometimes develop in organisations. That is what you do about complexity!
The Working Journey has since 2001 assisted many organisations in ensuring they have leaders who can handle the existing complexity for their respective role. You use these tools to ensure that that you have people who can understand their complex environments and make effective decisions, producing better results for the organisation and avoiding the traps of an increasingly busy and complex working life.
Contact us if you are interested in learning about our approach to complexity and assessing peoples ability to deal with a complex world.
Neolithic Team Work – Hagar Qim. 4,500BC, oldest temple in the world. (©Andrew Olivier)
A better choice then Struggle Street or even Sustainability Street? (©Andrew Olivier)