dt56293794 balancing factors largeThe primary challenge in creating value in business today is far more complex than ever before. The reason for this stems from contradicting performance requirements that companies should meet to create value, such as quality and low cost, reliability and speed, customization and standardization, innovation and efficiency.

This challenge becomes exacerbated by having to satisfy multiple stakeholders including board members, stockholders, customers, and employees, all having different needs. [quotesright]The question is which do you satisfy first[/quotesright] that may help in satisfying the other stakeholders?

Companies like Southwest Airlines, Netflix, Amazon, and H&M have been able to take the challenge of competing performance requirements and turn them into a competitive advantage by satisfying the contradictions in an innovative approach that is their value proposition to the consumers. Southwest Airlines balanced the speed and reliability; Netflix and Amazon offer richness of content and reach the maximum audience; and H&M equalized fashion and affordability.

Having to satisfy performance requirements contradictory in nature while contemporaneously satisfying various stakeholders can be a problem, particularly if the over-provisioning of structure, processes, systems, matrices, and/or incentives complicates the organizational structure.

[quotes]The more complicated the organization, the more difficult it is to navigate the path.[/quotes] People consequently lose direction and work becomes less meaningful, resulting in feelings of overwhelming stress and eventual burnout.

[quotesright]One symptom of an overwhelmed organization is when the leaders and mid-level managers spend more time in meetings[/quotesright] and concern over producing reports as opposed to performing the significant value-driving activities.

In general, managers spend more time creating reports and meeting for subsequent respective discussions than developing, guiding, and managing the employees on their team. [quotes]This lack of direction causes teams to spend more than 50 percent of their time on non-value adding activities,[/quotes] having to work longer and harder yet yielding only disillusionment and burnout. Focusing on value-driving activities is key in successful business.

7 Steps You Can Take

There are seven steps you can take to adapt to the shift required for better management of business complexity:

  1. De-clutter the organization from multi-level hierarchy, creating an inclusive environment,
  2. Encourage your teams to learn to prioritize and focus on the most value-driving activities,
  3. Understand exactly what your people do,
  4. Distribute the power within teams to give autonomy to foster the ability to use judgement in finding solutions, collaboration, and ownership,
  5. Reinforce integration,
  6. Allow learning from every experience and share knowledge, and
  7. Reward those that engage and reinforce the consequences for those that do not.

Challenges are complex in today’s environment and teams must remain creative in identifying solutions. [quotesright]Teams must be cooperative, engaged, and possess autonomy in finding available solutions that are beyond the pre-defined processes of the past[/quotesright] to support the success of their organization. Allowing for such cooperative teams to flourish requires a change in the hardwired structure of the past.

-        By Business Coach Shohreh R Aftahi, MBA, PhD