February 01

WHAT YOU COULD LEARN FROM ‘THE END OF BUREAUCRACY’ THIS MONTHS HBR (NOV/DEC 18)

Making process improvements stick

After the initial focus and xxx of a new process, the benefits soon ware off, over 44% of initiatves still show benefits after two years.

To keep reaping the benefits of improvements, here are the authors top tips:

  • Visible support from board members and senior leadership (35% improvement after one year and 79% after two years)
  • Consistent measurement and monitoring
  • Communicate the changes in a clear narrative that aligns with the organisation’s goals
  • Direct energy towards pain points, which make employees lives easier
  • Avoid initiative fatigue, by letting initiatives bed-in and show progress, and not jump quickly between initiatives

The end of bureaucracy

“[bureaucracy] is a disease … a tax on human achievement’ James Diamond CEO JP Morgan Chase

“bureaucracy defends the status quo long past the time the quo has lost it status” Laurence Peter

Today’s advantages comes from innovation, the change of pace is hypersonic, not gradual.

Here are the tips to reduce/avoid unnecessary bureaucracy:

  • Set expectations. Have a “zero distance” policy from those that make decisions and your customers
  • Shift from monolithic hierarchical business units to micro-enterprises, responsible for their budget and the success of their team and their product/service
  • Shift from incremental goals to leading targets, where the challenging goal is set from the outside in (not from last years performance)
  • Shift from internal monopolies to internal contracting, agreeing on SLAs up front between teams and if teams are not happy they can get support/services from elsewhere
  • Shift from top-down collaboration to voluntary collaboration, encourage platforms (teams of teams) to be responsible for working together and set the platform’s goals for growth to encourage this
  • Shift from rigid boundaries to open innovation where communication and innovation cross team, unit and outside the company (e.g., suppliers, universities, start-ups)
  • From innovation phobia to entrepreneurship at scale. Create conditions to allow ideas to flourish without leadership support/involvement. Allow people to share ideas and build a following, allow leaders to ask anyone to submit ideas, or allow anyone to pitch ideas to the leadership team regularly
  • Shift from employes to owners, you need to partner autonomy with gain sharing

Better people analytics

Historically employee analytics focused on:

  • Traits – facts about individuals that did not change, e.g., ethnicity, gender, work history
  • State – facts about individuals that do change, e.g., age, education level, tenure

Using analyticis they found several correlations

  1. Ideation signature. Predicts which employees will come up with good ideas. Good ideators occupied a ‘brokerage position’ i.e., they were a link between teams or spend a lot of time will different teams
  2. Influence signature. Products which employes will change other peoples behaviour. Senior leadership did not have the most influence, rather people who are highly connected to different teams with strong connections
  3. Efficiency signature. Predicts which teams will complete projects on time. Tenure and function had no impact, but high connectedness between team members (built trust, taking risks and reaching agreement) and interconnectedness between teams (source information and resources) has a large impact on a team’s ability to deliver on time
  4. Innovation signature. Which teams will innovate effectively. Teams that were less interconnected internally were more innovative, probably because they could have more discussion and debate.  However, like high-efficiency teams, they need to be highly connected to other teams
  5. Silo signature. Predicts whether an organisation is siloed. Teams that were highly connected, but had few connections with other teams were highly siloed
  6. Vulnerability signature. Which employees the organisation can’t afford to use. Individuals that connected teams with multiple other teams/companies were critical and the organsation was very vulnerable to