A full-grown organization is customer-driven. Because it is customer driven, it is organized to discharge the processes that meet customer requirements. Processes that meet customer requirements are at the organization's core; the organization is organized around them. This is possible because:

  • Customer unique requirements are understood, including setting up the price that the customer can afford, quality assurance, and  timely delivery of products and services;
  • Processes have owners, and they have teams;
  • Processes serve customer requirements and these requirements vary from customer to customer;
  • Processes are defined, mapped, measured; and
  • There are plans to improve the processes using a scientific approach such as the Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) Cycle and other means

The process oriented thinking in the full-grown organization is mandated not only by circumstance and reality but by thinking about the future strategic positioning of the enterprise: "What are our processes for understanding the customer, for communicating the customer's requirements throughout the organization, for determining key total value propositions and measures, for tracking them, for planning, for inclusion, for managing processes, for everything key to our survival and our vitality? How do we do it? Why do we do it? Can we afford them?"

In the full-grown organization the basics of continuous improvement remain steady regardless of issue, regardless of participants. Service emanates from the intertwined activity of the company’s value chain and its value system of distributors or retailers and buyer’s value chains. The personal quality of treating everyone with respect stretches without strain from top executives to lower levels of management. It includes partnerships with customers, suppliers, distributors and complementors. The treatment of, and the relationship with suppliers is on par with that of employees and customers; none of whom are commodities or second-class citizens. Suppliers, distributors and complementors are integral and important parts of the systems managed. And because they are, and because they must be as committed to quality of products and services as the full-grown organization if they are to be integral to it, in their essence they are indistinguishable from the organization served.

In the full-grown organization actions are based on reliable data, information, and analysis. Data and information come from all segments of the organization, customers, suppliers, distributors and complementors as one would anticipate. They come also from competitors and from the world beyond the business surroundings.

In the full-grown organization being “lean” is not an objective; being competitive is the objective. Management knows that you don’t become competitive by being lean; competitiveness is a consequence of being a quality company. It does no good to be efficient at building the wrong product. Lean doesn’t help if your methods of dealing with customers make them angry. Lean comes from quality management and managers in the full-grown organization know it’s the only route.

In the full-grown organization, measurement is essential to management, but typically, most methods compare an average, maximum or minimum value to a target or past figure (e.g., this month, last month, same month last year). Looking at measurements with respect to their variability can derive far more insight. This is because the effectiveness of process interaction is determined by their variability. Understanding variation is thus critical to improve system throughput (productivity) in a full-grown organization. Shewhart’s principles of SPC (statistical process control) are therefore not only still valid, they are central to quality leadership management, which focuses on the optimization of systems. In addition, in the full-grown organization just doing well in the future is not enough. We must constantly ask ourselves “What business are we in?” if we are to survive. In a full-grown-organization there is no substitute for knowledge.

Full-grown organizations also understand that by focusing on the goal rather than the method for achieving customer bonding and quality, senior executives might be tempted to rate people or departments on whether goals were being achieved, thereby fostering destructive competitions. Full-grown organizations, therefore, believe that benchmarking results can lead to results-oriented goals and ill-informed copying. They also believe that unless you know why something works better, merely knowing that it works is of limited value (an example teaches nothing unless studied with the aid of theory). Otherwise, people merely copycat and they inevitably get into trouble because they did not understand why something was good or bad. For this reason, full-grown organizations know that if they want to study something, they study the customer first for they are all different even though some groups of customers share common characteristics. In other words, a full-grown organization must always be focused on the customer (bonding) but use peripheral vision to be aware of the competition but without imitating them.

Likewise, senior managers in full-grown organizations perform the following tasks they know they cannot delegate:

  • Take charge of the quality journey and the proper customer segmentation leading to customer bonding.
  • Form and be an active member of a quality council.
  • Take an instrumental role in the drafting of the vision and the quality policy.
  • Assemble and push relentlessly for quality goals.
  • Actively deploy those goals with the rest of the work force.
  • Provide resources for the quality journey.
  • Launch quality improvement initiatives in upper level management processes.
  • Review organizational performance against the established quality goals.
  • Change the reward and recognition system so that quality is recognized and rewarded and anti-quality performance is not.
  • Lead the change effort so that people in the workforce do not feel threatened.
  • Actively avoid a situation in which downturns lead to layoffs.

Last but not least, the full-grown organization knows that working on “visible processes which produce figures" will produce only 3% of the potential improvement. The other 97% is just waiting for the enterprising manager to grasp. This suggests the following comparison of management systems.

<-Old Style->

<------ Quality Management Practices ------>
<------------------- New Management Philosophy ----------------->
Reduce: Cost Chaos Complexity Conflict
Increase: Compliance Craftsmanship Confidence Creativity
Work on: Results Processes Administration Strategy (customers)
Aim: Efficiency Improvement Effectiveness Innovation
Motivation: Incentives Pride in Work Cooperativeness Fulfillment
Managers: Control Support Enable Lead
Knowledge: Technical "7 Tools" New Principles Profound Knowledge
Benefit: Immediate Short term Medium Term Long term

Why is it so important to concentrate on the right hand columns? Full-grown organizations believe that one major reason is that influence spreads far more easily across the table from that direction than the other. Cutting costs does nothing but save money: and often causes hidden losses elsewhere. The same effort put into removing causes of conflict produces benefits which spread across the table, and the effect grows as it spreads. So the last columns give the points of maximum leverage, and the key to effective management. But another reason is that these columns provide the foundation on which the rest is built. Without them we sink into the sand.

The full-grown organization assesses the entire business system with sound guiding principles (theory) for without theory there is no observation; there is no experience. The Delta Model: Putting Customer Before Products developed at M.I.T. and the Baldrige criteria are in this regard important tools. The assessment process in the full-grown organization has been undertaken many times, and it will be again. The full-grown organization understands the process creates and hones systems thinking: the assessment criteria are metabolized and applied routinely; consideration is more critical; questions are better; causes (not fixes) are sought and identified, and improvement is made more natural. The assessment process improves personal quality, customer bonding and offer higher profitability.

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