Structure Exists to Achieve a Transformation
Although an overall business objective or purpose is to 'Make Money', the underlying purpose of the organisation is usually a distinct 'transformation' from which the profit is derived. Profit is an outcome from how effectively and efficiently the transformation is achived.
A Transformation involves two things.
Transformations are enabled by sets of Functions and Sub-Functions which can be illustrated in a 'FAST' diagram. (Functional Analysis of System Transformations). It is important that at each level, the supporting functions are both 'necessary' and 'sufficient' .
- An object (eg raw material in a production process, or attitude/experience in a training process), and
- A change in the state or attributes of that object.
To what extent:
is your organisation undertaking only necessary and sufficient functions?
do the people in the organisation understand how their roles relate to the overall purpose?
are the people in the organisation able to contribute to real improvement?
Functions, Roles and Relationships
Each element within a structure or system ought to be designed to contribute to the overall purpose.
Each person in the overall transformation has a role that encompasses at least one function or set of functions. But the roles (capabilities) can only be exercised and strengthened (in maturity) when they relate or correspond with the other roles. With increasing specialisation, there is an increase in interdependence between roles and functions performed both at the micro and macro levels in organisations and societies. An elemental failure, change in performance, or violation of relationship has the potential to ripple through the whole system. If it goes on long enough, the whole system will suffer.
Meaningful (Creative) Work
The collection of Fuctions and Roles is the 'System' that people use to plan, execute, monitor and evaluate the transformations in which they are engaged. When they work well together, people experience a high level of satisfaction and creativity.
Huge invisible losses through built in performance damping (reduced job satisfaction, frustration, de-motivation, poor productivity and quality) are a direct result of ineffective functions and associated roles.
Planning for continuous, sustainable improvement must begin with diagnosis.
The first step in the Diagnosis is to establish the links between FUNCTIONS (both necessary and sufficient) that enable the primary purpose and overall transformation to occur. This is the foundation for performance improvement which points to and assists in redressing deficiencies. Imported solutions and models cannot do this holistically.
- What do we do and why?
- How well are we doing it?
- How well should we be doing it?
- How does it relate to other functions & roles?
- What share of the resources does it consume?
- What is its priority (rate of return) for improvement?