As organizations strive to stay competitive in the current dynamic environment, they have increased their investments in strategic projects. With multiple projects going on simultaneously in most organizations, there is a state of an operational whirlwind. The key to the success of these projects is knowing what and how to prioritize. An operational Whirlwind can be defined as a set of multiple and competing priorities for business teams, and most often, it is left to the Leadership of these functional teams to take a call on how to manage this and get results.
A 2017 article by Harvard Business Review says –
“High-performing teams, compared to lower-performing teams, spend 54% more time first setting direction, crafting a vision that serves as a guiding light for decisions regarding resources. They spend more time strategizing and translating that strategy into actionable goals and interacting with key stakeholders to ascertain and anticipate roadblocks and opportunities.”
What Is Important for Your Business
Operational whirlwind is the reality of every business today. It sustains your business, whereas strategic goals are what get your business ready for tomorrow. As an organization, one cannot afford to deprioritize either of them. As a function leader, the responsibility to continue to contribute to the organization’s strategic goals, as well as ensure that your day-to-day operations are being executed and your stakeholders are getting good service, becomes an important priority.
What’s the Real Problem and How to Decode It
Managing day-to-day operations as well as contributing meaningfully to strategic organization goals is a familiar problem. Businesses try to do quick automation so that their time on operations reduces and they can spend more time on strategic projects. However, teams are almost never committed to projects that create day-to-day operational efficiency because they are generally not highly visible projects. Such effort often leads to solutions that do reduce time but never as much as you thought they would.
Rather than looking at such operational projects as time-saving exercises, Businesses will fare better if they look at this as not a process-only or technology-only problem but more as a management framework problem. The fundamental question to ask – Is your function’s operating model set up to manage –
- The day-to-day operations?
- The quantification of additional operational effort that arises due to all the strategic projects that the organization is running?
- The continuous monitoring and contribution to the strategic projects?
Defining the Operational Model
An operating model can be defined as how a company manages its resources to bridge the gap between strategy and execution. A good operating model needs the right combination of people, skill, capability, accountability mechanism, governance structure, and measures to see that it is achieving its goals. That means defining which metrics matter the most, mapping long-range planning, resourcing, and, most importantly, work assignments to get the maximum value.
To get started, as a function leader, you need to ask yourselves the following questions:
- What are the 3-4 things that you as a team must do to support your organization’s goals – Let us call them SIGs or the supremely important goals. E.g., One of your organization’s strategic goals is to improve Time to market. SIGs are the battles that your function needs to win to contribute to the overall goal.
- What are the activities that you and your team do as a part of managing the everyday operations?
- Once you have the share of the two – Out of this, what can your team support? And more importantly, identify what the gap is.
And lastly, through brainstorming, identify the root cause of these gap areas – Whether it’s due to Bandwidth, Skills, Technology Adaptation, or Effort Intensive Process?
Business Enablement Services Leveraging People, Process, Technology, and Data
Once the gap area is identified, Business Enablement Services from DefineRight can be leveraged to ensure that the business function is still able to deliver despite the additional effort. BES creates the necessary flexibility in your operating model. It forms a flexible cross-functional layer specific to your organization’s environment. It helps the business function team manage some of the everyday operations as well as the additional operational effort due to organization-wide projects by leveraging the right people, processes, technology, and data. It allows you to manage the operational whirlwind while creating the necessary focus on the SIGs. It helps with two things:
- Sustains your today: Helps you to effectively manage your operations and keep your stakeholders happy.
- Gets you ready for your future: Helps you to contribute meaningfully to your organizational goals.