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Research Triangle Business Advisors

March 2014 Newsletter


Effective utilization of organizational resources and structure is critical for the development and benefit of your company. Along with organization, the ability of the leadership to influence and direct their subordinates is critical for business success. These two concepts together are often called Organizational Power. This month we will look at how you can tell if your organization needs a tune-up.




Bob De Contreras




Is It Time To Tune-up Your Organization?

Organizational power is an often overlooked competitive advantage. It can make the difference in winning or losing opportunities, and it depends entirely on team alignment with company goals and effective resource allocation.

Let’s test your view; answer true or false to the following questions:

  1. As a leader, you don’t focus on how your success hinges on your people.

  2. As a leader, you are not entirely sure what it takes to make your people happy and productive.

  3. As a leader, you don’t spend your time coaching or working on your team’s development.

If you are like many other managers, you answered “true” to some or all of these questions.

But, even if you recognize that talented employees have a significant impact on your business, it doesn't mean you are transforming their potential into effective performance.

Organizational power and team alignment can be a formidable competitive advantage because: While all of your competitors are focusing on opportunities, competition, and market alignment (external factors), you can win by focusing on getting the most out of your team with, better communications, reducing politics and confusion, and boosting productivity and morale (internal factors). Few leaders focus on organizational power--making it a formidable competitive advantage when leaders do.

Here are the measures of a strong organization:

  1. An aligned and focused leadership team – in agreement on key company goals

  2. Organizational clarity – have consistent and agreed answers to the following questions:

    - Why do we exist?

    - How do we behave?

    - What do we do?

    - How will we succeed?

    - What's most important right now?

    - Who does what?

  3. Aggressive communication of the answers to the clarity questions (above)

  4. Reinforcement of that clarity through documented business processes

To build organizational power, you first need to build a team that functions well together, and then align your team around the answers to the clarity questions.

The answers to these clarity questions, once developed, are then repeatedly communicated – until the entire organization knows the answers and acts on them. And then you build processes that reinforce the company goals and values.

Creating alignment within your team consists of three components:

    Contact. You cannot keep your team aligned unless you have frequent contact with them. They are going to do the best with what you give them. If you don’t spend time with them, it is inevitable that they are going to make decisions that are out of alignment with your view. It is your responsibility to initiate this contact. You can do this through regular one-on-one meetings, staff meetings, and by just walking around.

    Communication. Contact is not enough alone. You have to communicate. Your people cannot read your mind. They need to know what you expect. They need to understand the mission and the vision. You need to verbalize it and lead by example. Over-and-over again. In addition, if you don’t like something, you need to speak up—before you get into a high stakes failure caused by misalignment.

    Connection. Communication is not even enough alone. For true alignment to take place, your people have to know and trust your heart (your motivation and feelings). They have to be committed to your success and the success of the team. You may be tempted to think that you are entitled to this by virtue of employing them. You’re not. You can buy their presence, but you can’t buy their heart. You must earn it. You can only create a connection—and thus alignment—when you open your heart and let them in (you care about them).

Creating A Happy Team And Improving Productivity

A happy team will be a more productive team because the work is more enjoyable or satisfying.  A big step toward building a happy team is simply taking the steps listed above: build a stronger organization, have consistent goals that are well communicated, make continuous contact with the team members, and connect with the team.  By taking these steps you actually make it easier for the team to meet their goals because there will be less wasted effort targeted off the primary goals, and there will be more personal satisfaction from the success at meeting goals.

In Summary

Manage by “walking around,” because your success hinges on your people; contribute to your people’s happiness and therefore their productivity; spend time coaching or working on your team’s development. It’s just three simple actions that do take your time, but the returns are significant in terms of meeting company, division or department goals.

Cary | Raleigh | Research Triangle Park | Greensboro | North Carolina
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