How Your Company Can Work Better Together, Starting Right Now

Author: The Effective Syndicate | | Categories: Process

How Your Company Can Work Better Together, Starting Right Now.jpg

Your organization cannot operate efficiently in silos. In an unstoppable organization, your people, processes, and platforms all work to support one another.

This simple statement gets lost in countless organizations but always needs to be part of the ongoing improvement conversation. Over the years, we have seen cases where this was just a small issue with inconsequential mishaps, and we have also seen cases where this was a massive problem with departments in the same organization having metrics and goals that were actually counter to one another.

Let’s dig a little deeper to see how this happens and see how we might fix it. Here are some things to keep in mind moving forward:

  1. It is not an evil intent that causes this.
    It is usually created by aggressive leaders who want to win and coming up with important and challenging metrics to drive performance. This is an important note as it doesn’t really matter how we got here what matters is how will you get out of it. Assume noble intent.
  2. This shouldn’t be a hard situation to identify and reconcile.
    If you have any sort of standard communication process this shouldn’t be a hard to fix. If you don’t have a communication process in place, we encourage you to have a team meeting with your department managers/leaders and simply walk through metrics they are trying to improve.
  3. This situation can impact your culture and morale.
    If your team members feel like they are working against other people in the same plant who don’t have the same objectives and goals this can really hurt morale and breed a bad culture. It creates this “Us vs. Them” mentality and it causes this easy “excuse” for why something isn’t working.

So, what to do about it? This part is very straightforward. Dig into it like a 3-year old opening a birthday present.

We recommend that you start with a brief meeting where you ask the team/department managers to come and walk through the metrics and goals they are working to improve. Make sure that the other department managers can see and hear them, and simply have the conversation. Does that metric help or hurt your department? If there are no concerns or frustrations, carry on and high five the team! But you should still ask the question is there a way to create better alignment?

If there are conflicts and concerns start with your customer and work your way back through the organization until you are at the beginning of the process. The question doesn’t change from the customer all the way to the beginning of the conversation.

Ask things like:

  • What do our customers want from us?
  • What are they paying us for? Then you go to the last department before the customer (usually shipping) and ask the same question?
  • What does shipping need from (the last process before shipping)?
  • What does that process need from the process immediately before?
  • Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

In each step along the way, make the measures and metrics line up perfectly within the goals and objectives of the following department all the way to the customer. Incent the department to deliver that highest value product all the way through so that all the metrics support each other.

You will find some opportunities along the way that will help your location’s performance, your team’s morale and most importantly your customer experience. This approach creates a new harmony as the conversation between departments is then about how do we help each other? How is what we are doing here, helping or hurting your team there?

Good luck, we would love to hear some of your experiences with this approach.