Designing your organization for success
July 14, 2010 | 08:29 AM
A favorite excuse in many offices concerns organization. When things are not going as they should, somebody says, "tomorrow, we have to get organized."
Unfortunately, in the case of organization tomorrow rarely ever comes, although many things may be changed in the name of organization. When a manager finds himself unable to control events, he or she might consider any actions taken to give better control to be attempts at organization.
Organization might be considered synonymous with new or improved management control accounting, office procedures, or sales planning and controls, but the introduction of these systems does not constitute organization.
At a time when world markets are expanding, when a traditional sellers market is shifted to a buyers market, business operations need to be increasingly flexible for better application of unique skills, the organizational structure of a business is paramount in accomplishing results.
So what is organization? According to management theory, organization is one of the five elements of management. The other four are planning, staffing, directing and controlling results. According to the dictionary, an organization is "a number of individuals systematically united for some end result," and to organize is "to bring into systematic relation as parts of a whole."
In today's information age, the key to success rest with the shared knowledge and skills of an owner's best people, and best practices applied for quality and service to the benefit of their customers.
Business strength begins with a competitive advantage — regardless of your business type. The following symptoms will allow you to look at your business objectively, and rate your companies organizations strengths and possible weaknesses:
- Inability to place responsibility
- Lack of effective action
- Unequal work loads
- Inability to get things done
- Too much detail being done by managers
- Duplication of effort
- Lack of planning
- High personnel turnover
- Avoidance of responsibility (passing the buck )
- Poor work flow
- Reluctance to make decisions
- Poor profits
- Noncompliance with company policy and procedures, or lack of written guidelines
- No assignment of responsibility for certain functions
- Improper delegation of authority,or lack of delegation
- Lack of innovation
- Poor communication
- Lack of standards
- Inability to measure performance
- Lack of goals.
If your company has four or more of these symptoms, you're not firing on all eight cylinders.
If you have a business and have a question specific to your situation, you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will be happy to help. Also, log onto the Regional News Web site, click on Powers' column under "Community and Society" and respond in the feedback area.
Powers is a semi-retired senior executive analyst who has worked with more than 1,800 small businesses during his 30-year career.