The most talented and hard working people are unlikely to go to firms that Jeffrey Pfeffer, a professor at Stanford dubs, ‘toxic workplaces.’[i] Up to ten years ago, the male was the breadwinner and the spouse was the child rearer. Now, almost half of US households have dual incomes. More child rearing is split between working parents and outside providers. We’re all trying to balance work and family time. Workplace studies show that balancing work and family is a leading source of workplace pressure for 74% of the men and 78% of the women.[ii]
[i]“The Future of Work: Career Evolution,” The Economist, January 29, 2000, p. 92.
[ii] Shellenberger, Sue, “Those Top Bosses May Signal Move to More Family Time,” Wall Street Journal, April 30, 1997.
Core process competencies are what differentiate one company from another. Organizational core competence is the same as Brand U core competence or proficiency. We all have assorted abilities and skills – core competencies. Many are current and value adding while others are obsolescent and need to be updated. Our core competencies or proficiencies are what differentiate us from one another and add value in the marketplace much in the same way a company’s competencies do.
“When you get right down to it, the real work of Silicon Valley occurs in the mind – the minds of workers sitting in their cubicles, staring at screens, pondering their challenges. That’s where innovation occurs.”
Po Bronson, The Nudist on the Late Shift, NY: Random House, p. xxxiv.
Progress flows only from struggle.
Louis Brandeis, US Justice
Transformational change attempts to reinvent, reorganize and if necessary eliminate non value-adding processes rather than simply retooling existing processes. The goal: redesigned, end-to-end processes that are logical, value-adding, seamless, balanced, and customer driven. Hence: the value-chain.
Transformational change forces an organization to look at itself objectively, examining each process step that adds or detracts value. It starts with a blank slate. Everything is questioned and analyzed. Who are the stakeholders? What do they want? What are we doing to please them? Can we work smarter and better?
A process orientation involves these interrelated factors:
Structure. A core process is smooth, balanced, structured, seamless, value adding, replicable, efficient, effective, and economic. The process has a beginning and an end. It consists of a number of value-adding steps, each of which has a customer and a supplier. A process step may involve working with people, methods, equipment, material, and environmental issues.
Layout. A process orientation is a horizontal, end-to-end view of work. A process may cut across an organization into the supplier base and even to the final customer. A process can span different functions, plants, and departments throughout the organization. The process orientation seems to work best in matrixed organizations.
Focus. A process must satisfy internal customers, external customers, as well as a larger group of stakeholders.
Metrics. Quality, time, and delivery are key process metrics.
Accountability. A Brand U project team or Brand U individual is responsible for a process step or even for the entire process from beginning to end. In process language, this accountability is called process ownership.
Entitlement is dead – accountability is alive and well. As Brand U’s, we’re responsible for the performance of our process, function, activity, team, plant, or company. Performance management is a direct outcome of self-management and self managed teams. Senior management looked to functional management to operationalize the corporate strategic vision, mission, plans, objectives, etc. Each Brand U is now expected to know how his or her contributions fit into the organization’s goals.
As well, there’s a direct win for us. More companies link pay directly to Brand U competencies, abilities, and behaviors that directly affect business performance. Linking our compensation to organizational, business unit, and team performance is seen as the way to motivate us. It’s simple old-fashioned psychology. If we’re paid for our Brand U value, our attention and motivation will naturally follow.
Computer and information technology makes data more available but it doesn’t necessarily make us smarter or help us make smarter decisions. We have access to data, but don’t know what it means or how it should be used.
Technology can also overwhelm us. New hardware, software, virtual ware and who knows what ‘ware’ can be imposed on us. While senior management sees technology as a performance enhancer, we can develop tension and technology phobias. It can become a curse when we have to learn and develop new technical skills almost continuously.
Time management is also a business issue. The marketplace changes quickly. New competitors arise. Customers are fickle. Customers want products delivered over night. Business accelerates at electronic speed. Windows of opportunity shrink as stakeholders are electronically linked.
Parts are delivered just in time for assembly or test. Inventories are reduced to close to zero. Time between a customer order and product delivery is minimized. Products across the world are delivered within 24 hours of being ordered.