By the help of someone you had your first bath; our last birth will also by the help of someone. And in between we manage. Life and business are series of interdependent steps. Most people don’t get it right. But it’s not mythical. Getting them right comes from simple but organized steps. It is showing average people how to do the work of supposedly superior people. As managers of that growth process, we go from the unknown, to being average then good to great. And in that journey we hit success, then significance, and cumulatively more achievement and then sustenance. It’s actually in that order. And bear in mind that there’s a huge difference between success, significance, achievement and truly building sustenance (structure/system). Anyone can succeed, as a one off. But to keep it going, there are steps and principles to those achievements.
In business, achievement comes to someone when he can do great things for himself. Success comes when he empowers people to do great things with him. Significance comes when he develops people to do great things for him, but legacy, an institution and a system is created only when a person puts his organization into the position to do great things without him. At this level comes the building of an institution. An institution is a system designed to outlive the founder. And systems run on processes. This entire route is built on a set of principles and the interdependence of systems.
A system is a set of processes that can run without you. As your business grows, you’ll need to build systems and processes that can be automated as much as possible. You’ll need to build distribution systems, inventory systems, marketing systems, customer relationship and support systems, research and development systems, effectiveness and performance measurement and improvement systems, accounting and hiring systems, and many others. Whatever systems you plan to build, beyond initiating and formulation, it must be managed independently and then interdependently with others.
A system is a set of processes that can run without you
For your organization’s management to be most efficient and effective, your management must own certain principles. Henry Fayol in the early 20th century introduced 14 principles for managing growth and organizations, which I’d be sharing. They are universal and irrefutable. Those principle are specialization; managerial authority; discipline; unity of command; unity of direction; subordination of individual interests; proper remuneration and motivation; centralization; chain of command; order; equity; job security; initiative, and team spirit. Now, let’s quickly explore each.
Division of Work – Break down your organizational goals and objectives. While goals are directional, objectives are specific. It’s from the specificity of objectives that responsibilities and role are born. In other words each person (or departments) must specifically be assigned to roles. And having each of the objectives to run as operations and projects is key. To deliver on each objectives, a Work Breakdown Structure is key. In terms of operations and getting things done, it’s more efficient to have same people do the same thing yet interdependently with others doing what they do consistently with a high level of mastery. In other words, when employees are specialized, output can increase because they become increasingly skilled and efficient.
Authority– Its always great to break down your organization into hierarchy from top down. Just like a pyramid, break your organization into executive, then management and then the general staff. Executives and managers must have the authority to give orders, but they must also keep in mind that with authority comes responsibility.
Discipline – While motivation gets us started, it’s discipline that keeps us going. Discipline must be upheld in organizations, but methods for doing so can vary. To get anything is to be persistent, but to keep it going, it must be consistent. And the key variable is discipline and commitment. Too many people are consistently inconsistent with here the consistently need to be. To be different is to be disciplined and committed.
Unity of Command – Everybody’s work is really nobody’s work. People need to be managed. And people seem to go off their trajectory without control and supervision. Supervise people. But all employees should have only one direct supervisor. It’s easier to get the intended result that way.
Unity of Direction – There’s nothing that can’t be achieved without unity and vision. Teams with the same objective should be working under the direction of one manager, using one plan. This will ensure that action is properly coordinated.
Subordination of Individual Interests to the General Interest – Always have a picture of what you want most to be over what you want. That’s long term over short-term goals. And beyond even you, the interests of one employee should not be allowed to become more important than those of the group. This includes managers.
Remuneration –People need motivations and incentives. It’s not always money (but that’s also a good option). Employee satisfaction depends on fair remuneration for everyone. This includes financial and non-financial compensation. Once in a while create a surprise with bonuses, giveaways or even public admiration and recognition. It goes a long way. As a leader, people don’t care how much you know till they know how much you care.
Centralization – Be close yet far. Be far ahead to motivate them but close enough to relate to them. This principle refers to how close employees are to the decision-making process. It is important to aim for an appropriate balance.
Scalar Chain – Flat hierarchy can be confusing. Employees should be aware of where they stand in the organization’s hierarchy, or chain of command.
Order – Sometimes it’s important to create order outside-in. It does matter how you look, where you come from and what you do. It’s even safe to say that it does matter how your work environment looks and feels. The workplace facilities must be clean, tidy and safe for employees. Everything should have its place.
Equity – I personally believe in equity more than equality in the workplace. While they are both important in management, equity and equality is two strategies we can use in an effort to produce fairness. While equality is treating everyone the same, and giving everyone the same thing to succeed, equity is giving everyone what he or she need to be successful. Equality aims to promote fairness, but it can only work if everyone starts from the same place and needs the same help. This isn’t practical. So managers should be able to use data to know who needs more or less. Regardless, managers should be fair to staff at all times, both maintaining discipline as necessary and acting with kindness where appropriate.
Stability of Tenure of Personnel – Don’t stay too long on the same spot, likewise everyone else. People should see that other people grow and that they too grow. If you’re the MD, can you have say a 10-year plan to vacate that sit for someone else while you perhaps become the chairman or something hire too. I’ve seen too many good people leave organizations for the lack of growth. Managers should strive to minimize employee turnover. Personnel planning should be a priority.
Initiative – Innovation comes from create a culture for people to take initiatives. Employees should be given the necessary level of freedom to create and carry out plans.
Esprit de Corps – Organizations should strive to promote team spirit and unity to the vision and cohesiveness. The truth is, when people buy into a vision, they become visionaries. And when they buy into the mission, the become missionaries. When you find the cohesive and “can do” spirit, it drives innovation and excellence.
Strategy. Business StartUps and Corporate Restructuring Consulting
Uwaoma Eizu is the lead strategist at Hexavia! He is a graduate of Mathematics with two MBAs and over a decade of experience working with startups and big businesses. His core is in building startups and in corporate restructuring. He is also a certified member of the Nigerian Institute of Management, Institute of Strategic Management of Nigeria and the Project Management Institute, USA. By the side, he writes weekly for the BusinessDay newspaper.