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Bruce Holland

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Do Your People All Pull Together?

When people don't pull together, many managers assume it's because of lack of will or workers just don't care. However, in over 20 years working in business strategy, I've yet to find an organisation where people don't want to do a good job. If they don't do a good job it's nearly always because of poor organisational design.

Organisational design

Organisational design is like a boat with three rowers. Their names are:

  1. Culture
  2. Brand
  3. Customer service.

To be successful, the three rowers need to know where they are going and they all need to be pulling together in the same direction.

What often happens

In many organisations the three rowers pull against each other like this:

What should happen

What we want is for all three rowers to pull together like this:

The three rowers are closely related to each other

The diagram shows how the rowers are related:

  1. The relationship between staff and the organisation defines the Culture.
  2. The relationship between the staff and customers defines the Customer Service
  3. The relationship between the customer and the organisation defines the Brand.

Where the boat is going

In business, there are really only three places (Value Propositions) your boat can go:

  1. Customer Intimacy where we know the customers' business better than the customers know it (e.g. IBM in the 1960s)
  2. Product Leadership where we are constantly redefining the state of the art in product design and innovation (e.g. Apple), and
  3. Operational Excellence where we closely follow the system and processes to produce good quality at a reasonable price (e.g. Mc Donalds).

How they row is very different depending on where the boat is going

The way the rowers row is very different depending on which Value Proposition they choose to aim for. For example, if the boat is aiming for Product Leadership, the Culture, Customer service and Brand all need to be entrepreneurial, individual and exciting; however, if the boat is heading towards Operational Excellence, the Culture, Customer Service and Brand all need to be more structured, disciplined and measured.

I help organisations set their direction (strategy) and align all parts of the organisation to achieve it. Actually, it is a bit more complex that I suggest above, because there are 10 rowers rather than 3; however the principle of aligning all of them is the same and my simplification makes it easier to understand. It's very rewarding work, because when the rowers are pulling together towards the same Value Proposition the organisation has unbeatable strength.

If your people are unsure about their Value Proposition; or, if they aren't pulling together, give me a call. It will get you lasting competitive advantage that is almost impossible to imitate.

For more:

  1. Bruce's Alignment Product
  2. A case study on Alignment

´┐╝Regards Bruce.
Bruce Holland
Virtual Group Business Consultants
Phone +6421620456 or Skype Bruce.Holland
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Key words: Leadership, leadership development, leadership management, leadership training, leadership program, leadership skills.

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