Operational efficiency should be a baseline to organizational development.
Functional efficiency has always been a personal love. As a teenager, I found it necessary to reorganize my mother’s kitchen to streamline; every cupboard and every drawer to make it was more functional and efficient. I believed that if you were standing at the stove you should have the tools needed for that function within reach; at the coffee pot the mugs should be in the cupboard above, and so forth. I personally found the results brilliant! Unfortunately, my immaturity didn’t lend itself to the insight or forethought that I should have asked my mother’s opinion first. Still makes me laugh and brings an unusual delight to my heart that my mother was gracious in hiding her frustration in order to encourage my fortitude and skills.
Functional efficiency in business growth requires the same need to know the right way to build and apply change. Typically, in downsizing an organization, redevelopment takes a look at streamlining and simplifying, whereas when increasing growth, the infrastructure needs deeper foundations of systems, teams, departments and protocols. Both directions can go to extremes or be out of sync without proper timing. Knowing how to start out and when to redevelop the baselines is important for a healthy business, team and for operational growth.
Here is advice I’d offer as a business consultant and coach:
Streamline & Simplify
A rookie mistake for new entrepreneurs or business leaders is to build based on personal passion rather than organizational needs. The drive to build out a system should be to meet the needs of the environment and for efficient delivery of products or services. Otherwise, the system is for the sake of the system and not your company. This can create a cumbersome, unnecessary process that does not support, but instead hinders efficiency and growth.
A timely streamline and simplify hinge point is in downsizing or planning strategic redevelopment. If you’ve lost major client contracts or Amazon is stealing your core customer base, now is a good time to reevaluate before you’ve lost all margins or have dipped into the red. Market climates are turbulent. Trade wars are creating uncertainty, and business needs are increasingly called to go lean and smart. We can learn from history, such as the economic dip of the late 80’s that demanded a timely response to cutting middle management.
For steady-growth, companies founded by the CEO often bottleneck in the transition and require greater operational development to support growing past the initial stage. It causes the need to restructure of teams, processes, and leadership. For example, founders who have successfully built a company often times did the grunt work of tending the field and can have a hard time leaving the weeds to move into the next role of leading the company. Instead of having to establish new infrastructure, building a team, and giving more than perks to key employees, the goal is to give and support those employees by enhancing their authority to do their roles more effectively.
It is similar to a system overhaul versus a software update. You’re not just adding a room onto the house; the foundation needs to be restructured for real efficiency and long-standing sufficiency.
Perspective for process, timing, and method of redevelopment is key in every phase to bring the right solutions for development or redevelopment that supports the operational demands in your current season.