Organizational Capability & Systemic Thinking

The capability of an organization to execute its strategy is a function of four enablers:

  • Systems – those clearly articulated accountability sequences designed to achieve a productive purpose
  • Structure – the positioning, alignment and definition of roles
  • People Capability – the ability & willingness of employees to use their discretionary effort and
  • Culture – the normative behavior of people in social groupings or more simply, the way we do things around here

Any attempt to introduce change or execute strategies which does not simultaneously address all four enables is in our view destined for failure. Great organizations and great leaders think and act systemically.

Kiss of Yes…

A good friend and associate of ours some time ago sought our help to take his then organization of sales, marketing and customer service people on what turned out to be a remarkable journey.

The journey was best described as one where the starting point was ‘the kiss of yes’ i.e. people saying yes with little or no intention of taking action through ‘yes but’ i.e. people finding reason to resist and ultimately to ‘yes and’ i.e. people saying “Yes I can improve quality and I can achieve a faster turnaround time”…”Yes I can reduce cost and improve safety performance”

It is quite invigorating to work in an environment where the word ‘but’ comes a long second to the words ‘yes and’. In fact his Vision Statement for a time became quite simply the most succinct, memorable and meaningful one that we have ever see…”Solutions” and if the Vision is what we will become then the Mission is how we will get there and yes you may have guessed it his Mission Statement was in two words, “Yes…And…”

A three word Vision and Mission, now that’s powerful.