What’s Your Burning Platform?

24 April 2019

“We have to change – where do we start?”. Does this sound familiar?

Many organisations look at their poor results, or see what their competitors are doing, and assume that the fault is with their workforce. It’s easy to go down the conventional route – costs across all departments by a certain percentage or buy a new product, but the majority of times that people have done this, they end up worse than they were before. Successful organisations shout their success from the rooftops. Failed organisations go under, or keep very quiet about it. Success and failure, when following the crowd, can seem to strike at random.

Is it your staff? Or your management?

Costs can get too high due to many different factors. Yes, employees and salaries are one of the highest costs in service companies. But poor processes, lack of clarity, duplication of work, and lack of automation can all mean that good staff are less efficient and cost more than they should.

Before embarking on a huge and expensive change programme, it’s worth getting an in-depth understanding of how your organisation thinks:

  • Does the organisation share a mission and a vision, or is that just a boardroom fantasy?
  • Who’s working to help the company succeed, and who is working to prevent it succeeding?
  • Do they all think they’re working to help the company succeed? Is there confusion?
  • Do you know how to show everyone whether you are succeeding or failing, on a week by week, or month by month basis?

Japan was heavily penalised following the Second World War. The country was required to pay huge war reparations, which meant that nobody in Japan had money to buy goods, and no other country was buying their exports. The work culture was of a ‘job for life’, but companies simply couldn’t afford to keep their workers, and in company after company, workers were being called together by their directors and advised of layoffs.

Matsushita was also suffering. Kōnosuke Matsushita called together his employees, and they feared the worst. He was honest – announced that there were not enough customers to keep the production lines running at full speed. However, his solution was revolutionary: every member of the production staff was sent out to customers and potential customers to sell the products. Within months, production lines for back up to full speed because of the increased sales.

Business men shaking hands in black and white photo with pink border

But it had an interesting knock-on effect. Everyone now understood that customers might want to do things with their products, that they hadn’t thought of before. Everyone understood the importance of quality, the importance of timely delivery, the importance of tailoring the product to the customer need.

The same staff, the same real estate, the same management, but working in a different way.

Matsushita has gone on to become Panasonic, Technics, and has spawned other companies including Sanyo.

Matsushita, founder of Panasonic in black and white photo with brand logos

You may think “we could never do that”

Many successful companies have had their biggest growth during the toughest economic times – and we are arguably in one of the toughest economic times right now in the UK.

The Change Consultancy is looking for a number of organisations to try out a new version of the Tribe 365 tool. This tool lets you “take the pulse” of your organisation, almost in real time. We’ll help you to understand what the results mean, how much change, and what specifically. We’ll develop and implement the change with you, whether it’s about better processes, a new culture, changes to staffing, new technology, changes to company structure. We’ll be with you as you see the impact in almost real-time; you can see what’s working and what isn’t, and do more of what’s working, and change what isn’t – you’ll never throw good money after bad. In return for getting access to new technology, we ask for your permission to share anonymized data with Durham University Business School. There will be costs for Tribe 365 and for the consultancy, but will keep it tight. Contact us to arrange to meet Oliver Randall or Dr Hugo Minney now.