As a consultant, it is one of life's joys to visit an organisation where there is that palpable sense of unity and purpose, evident from the point of entering the front door, clicking onto their website, or speaking to the company helpdesk. Their consistent messaging is a reflection of the company ethos, and is understood and exhibited by all its staff.
And when it's not quite like that?
Of course, in most organisations, it isn't like that. Staff are often recruited at speed, rarely inducted well and are usually left to get on with it, without much feedback, until they make the inevitable mistakes. Organisations usually measure the outputs of their staff members' endeavours, often pedantically, but rarely do they expressly define how they should perform the task. This leads to a world where disappointment, blame, and tension become endemic, the cultural collateral of focusing on the wrong thing.
Having a clear description of what "a good job" looks like is critical - it can underpin induction, training and performance management.
The importance of the "How"
The thing is, although measuring the final outcome is important (after all you need to understand the progress is being made) only through measuring the "how" can sustained and consistent performance occur. Called organisational behaviours, together they combine to create powerful levers of change, and standards by which staff, suppliers and, of course, customers measure the organisation. Arguably, they can be the standard through which reputations are made or lost.
What was it like, the last time you had to complain? Were you treated like a nuisance or were you listened to and treated with respect? All organisations make mistakes, but how they deal with them reflects their focus on the "hows" - their staff's attitude, demeanour and behaviour.
Chris Lorimer is an
experienced consultant who has helped many organisations to grow through his unique 4 Ps approach.