From Chaos to Clarity
In the last few blogs, we discussed the first organizational pillar – Personnel. In this one, we will explore the second organizational pillar – Org Structure. If personnel are the parts of the engine, your organizational structure is how your engine is put together. That is the difference between a well-tuned engine and one that is out of tune and misfires. Today, we are going to cover the ideal scene for organization as described in the article “Standard Administration,” which is part of a broader body of knowledge called the “Hubbard Management System.” “The best organization is one which has someone over it, methods of working out its problems, basic actions, and a good, desirable product. It adapts itself to its environment, surroundings, or conditions of operations so as to expand to a greater or lesser degree.” Now, that’s a mouthful! Let’s break this down. “… it has someone over it.” This means it has a leader, management roles. Now you might say: “Yes, I am the boss, I am in charge of the organization.” Are you really? Many business owners I know are actively involved in production. For instance, if you own a landscaping company, and you spend six days a week on-site with your crew, doing the work, or if you have your own trucking company and are on the road driving a truck, taking orders, and dispatching while driving... Are you genuinely overseeing it? You often hear the advice: “You have to work ON your business and not IN it.” Take a step back and assess. How much time did you spend last week actually managing your business and being in charge? If you haven't spent much time, then who is directing and guiding it? Well, I’ll tell you. It is the demands of the environment. That is where you become REACTIVE in your management. You start managing your business based on the demands you receive or the crises you need to resolve. This can lead to overwhelm and burnout. When you work ON your business, when you are the person IN CHARGE of the organization, you are in a position where you are PROACTIVE. You are now in a control position. You can anticipate what's coming and take actions that will propel your business towards rapid growth. Next, “… it has methods of working out its problems, basic actions…” As you operate your business, you develop procedures to handle various aspects of your operations. These are the best practices for your business, the things that have proven successful. They develop as you grow and face various situations. These procedures vary from business to business, even if they are in the same industry. Consider the coffee shop industry, for example. Starbucks and Tim Horton’s or Dunkin’ Donuts have different procedures and processes. These are what make your business stand out and give it its identity and uniqueness. You need to define these clearly, and your staff must understand and follow them. These are the policies, the rules on which your company operates. We will delve into this subject in more detail in future blogs. The key is to keep these consistent as your company expands and grows. Sometimes, they can change surprisingly fast. You may have developed these procedures as you started your company and brought new staff onboard to help. Or you may have a large staff already and expanded, needing more personnel. You may also have experienced staff turnover. These points of transition are where your “methods of working out its problems and basic actions” can be lost or altered. If you assume your organization is running on a certain set of processes and policies but, unbeknownst to you, your staff are operating based on different basic actions, then are you actually running the business you think you are running? For example, you may have a policy that says: “The foreman will always do a final check after the work is completed and get the client to sign off on the work completed. Then the crew is sent away from the site.” This was implemented to reduce the number of dissatisfied clients and minimize the need to send crews back to fix things. Suddenly, you start receiving negative reviews, and you discover that half of the crew is being sent back to clients to fix things, while the other half is on another job, causing delays. Your foreman is working overtime, and so on. Upon closer inspection, you realize that your new foreman decided to let the crew go before the quality check is done, resulting in late completion and the need for callbacks. These methods of working out problems and basic actions are what hold your organization together. They must be documented as part of organizational manuals, process playbooks, job descriptions, and regularly reviewed to ensure they are still suitable for your business's current needs. Your business or company is alive; it has its own identity, a life of its own, and it will evolve. Your policies must evolve with it. And finally, “… and a good, desirable product.” By "product" here, we mean: “A finished, high-quality service or article, in the hands of the person or group it serves, exchanged for value. It is not a product at all unless it’s exchanged or exchangeable.” Your company is delivering something to someone. That someone must consider it valuable enough to exchange money for it. Without clearly established products or services that are provided and exchanged with your customers, your business won't last long. Now, you might say, “Of course! I know that!” I understand that you do, but do your staff? Is it reflected in what they do? I had a dental receptionist who believed her product was “collecting money.” Most of her attention was focused on ensuring patients paid, and when they didn’t, she would call and pressure them until they paid. This approach didn't work well. While she did collect money from patients, it upset them so much that they didn't return, and the clinic lost business. She didn't understand that her actual product was: “Happy, healthy patients who follow the doctor's treatment plan and adhere to the schedule.” Once we clarified this for her and got her focused on the right product, she became very successful at her job! There are products for the organization as a whole, and each staff member must have a clearly defined product that aligns with the overall organization for smooth operation. Ensuring alignment and coordination is a significant part of your management role. Now, this was only ONE sentence from a 4-page article. There's much more to learn about standard administration and how to structure your business for stable, long-term growth. I can assist you with this, and I would love to hear your feedback on this subject. You can contact me through direct messaging (416) 559-9063 or by email at email@example.com.