Having been involved in organizational leadership for more than 20 years, I am always intrigued by those things that either hinder growth or support it. It’s true – every organization is moving ahead or its falling behind.
The primary focus of my work has been organizational development. In fact, the companies and institutions where I served each experienced significant growth while I was there. Several experienced record growth. And more importantly, some have continued to grow since I transitioned to a new place of work.
There are two things that have the most profound influence on whether an organization grows or declines…
…communication and structure. And problems within companies are generally the byproduct of inadequate communication or structure (or both).
Problems from within…
Communication problems often include mission, vision, or core values that are not clearly understood by ALL constituents. Inconsistent communication, conflicting messages, distrust, and lack of respect also rank among the top communication challenges. There are many more – many that you deal with on a daily basis.
Structural problems frequently involve unclear processes, policies, and procedures, improperly positioned personnel, an outdated leadership or management paradigm, a stagnant organizational structure, and many more.
I’ve observed that those leaders who adequately address communication and structural challenges successfully eliminate the majority of problems within their organizations and lead their teams and companies to grow.
The same is true for growing individuals. Growing people develop a disciplined structure for life, and they communicate clearly and consistently. It really seems too simple – which is probably why these two areas are commonly neglected for “bigger problems” or “more pressing issues”.
So why do we wait? It’s not like there is ever going to be a better time to get back on track. The communication problems will only get worse. The stale, outdated structure will only drag us down further.
So,it’s time! It’s time to address inadequate communication. Michael Hyatt has written a great post that outlines a highly practical plan for improving communication in any organization. And it’s time to address faulty structure – in our personal lives, in our teams, and within our organizations.
So, why do you think we wait? What steps should we be taking to adequately assess and address organizational structure?