You Can’t Execute a Strategy without Achieving Organizational Visibility
As obvious as this statement might seem, organizational visibility is not always easy to achieve. How many iterations of mission statements, value propositions and other noble-sounding declarations have you seen that are totally out of phase with the reality of the company involved?
Airline sites used to fairly overflow with assorted proclamations and high-sounding sentiments about loving their customers, taking care of their customers and being proud to serve their customers. If you look on their sites today, there are mainly flight-reservation applications—there’s virtually no marketing language about how wonderful they are.
If you look on the VW America site, you will find the following:
Are they serious?
This kind of disconnect occurs when companies confuse wishful thinking with reality. This can only happen when the internal marketing function is blinded or lacks visibility into the organization.
Truly maintaining a strategy requires visibility into all of the dark corners of your company, your processes and even upstream into your supply chain and downstream into your customer base. Only then will you truly know what stands up to a strategic definition and what will doom it from the start.
Organization visibility, its processes and relationships has to be facilitated at the system level. Some business-operations products limit visibility through user restrictions, access limits and reporting limitations. Regardless, the data is likely available—it’s simply a matter of accessing it.
Adopting a project orientation will help facilitate the visibility required. You should have access to everything related to a project including estimates, proposals, contracts, supply-chain activities and product costs. This provides the information you need to see the big picture, anticipate and address potential problems and maintain the necessary level of management control.
Sophisticated service-management functionality should enable you to address strategic needs at multiple levels including planning, warranty issues, product lifecycle and supplier management.
You can’t manage what you can’t measure, and you can’t measure what you can’t see. Any strategic direction embraced by the organization requires data, knowledge and visibility into the organization itself and the processes that run there.
This information will equip you to justify a strategic position, facilitate the move toward that position and report back to you the relative success or failure of that strategy.
Management of a strategy is composed of multiple iterations of move, monitor and modify over time. Adjustments, fine-tuning and ongoing improvement drive you to success.