How can OB management functions help in making organizations and people efficient?
We have read and heard a lot about the OB practices that have been implemented across industries and companies and how they’ve been hugely successful in bringing about a positive change in those organizations. So what are some of the best practices that we, as entrepreneurs and even individuals, can use daily to be more successful in whatever we do?
Planning: This is the step where we define goals for ourselves and our organization. Without a clear cut strategy to reach those goals, it becomes very difficult to be successful. For organizations, this step is very critical as this helps avoid bad investments, gives a clearer picture to the strategy makers of the next steps that should be followed, etc. For a person, it helps if one has a ‘to do’ list for the day with clear approach in mind of how he would go about doing it. Having a long term plan also helps in keeping one motivated to achieve the goals.
One Very important aspect in the planning stage for an organization is the kind of structure it wants. Some of the most common structures and the features are listed below:
Divisional: If the kind of organization you envision has different kinds of products or different category of clients of even different geographies, it might make sense to have a divisional organization structure. Having dedicated teams/groups concentrating on one single concern makes sense in such a case and makes the functioning or the organization more productive. This kind of structure also helps in defining strategies that suit a particular product better rather than having a carpet strategy for all the different kinds of product/location. However, with such a structure comes more decentralization of power which may lead to conflicts between divisional heads. Divisions can also bring in about more compartmentalization leading to incompatibilities and complications. Also, from an organizational perspective, less sharing of data may also lead to duplication of work.
Functional: This kind of structure is more of a top-down approach with different functions working as a team to perform their tasks. Unlike divisional in which each division might have their own functions, in this kind of a structure, the resources are shared by the whole organization. In this kind of a structure, management has more control over the functioning aspects as well. Too much focus on one’s specialization in this structure can also lead to employees losing focus on the overall strategy of the firm.
Matrix: Matrix structure combines the divisional models’ work flexibility and functional models’ efficiency and builds upon it further. This kind of a structure is best suited for a firm which wants to develop its people holistically and give them exposure to different kinds of projects. However, one of the major disadvantages of such a structure is the reporting relationships. A lot of employees might face issues when reporting to multiple bosses and this may cause complications in performance appraisals as well.
Organizing: This next step involves how the tasks are to be done. In organizational context, this also includes the reporting relationships, the decision tree, grouping of similar tasks etc. Done properly, this step can reduce duplication of work in organization to a large extent. This step can also help map people to their skills better and improve employee engagement and morale. For a person, this is an obvious second step after one makes a ‘to do’ list for the day. Some questions that a person might like to answer would be ‘Which are the most critical tasks?’, ‘Which tasks can be clubbed together?’, ‘Is there any task which is a pre-requisite to another task?’, etc.
Leading: ‘Having a great leadership team and a sustainable and efficient leadership model’ is a very critical aspect in organizational context. It means appointing a person who understands the business, the kind of skillset needed in the people below him/her and the competitors well. The leader also needs to be an exceptional communicator, and inspirer and good at getting his hands dirty as well if needed for the greater good of the employees and the organization. On a personal note, leadership comes in the form of sticking with the plan made for the day and after, having good personal relationships with people all around and also being able to be in the best of health by taking care of one of the most complex organizations the person (technically the brain) heads, the human body form. This means, along with aspiring to be successful at the work a person does and any task he/she aims to achieve, it is also important to regularly exercise and play a sport.
Controlling: This aspect is concerned with monitoring the activities in the previous steps and ensuring that there are no standing issues. In also involves resolving any concerns that might have arrived before.
In organizational context, it means having efficient support functions like HR, Finance, etc. to be in line with the overall strategy and it also means having a streamlined communication channel between all functions so that this part of the cycle can be performed flawlessly. On a personal note, this is very much part of the previous step and goes hand in hand with the leadership aspect of a person.