Organizational self-satisfaction

How much of your organization’s total available work time and energy is directed inwards and how much towards your customers? In many businesses that I see, the share of customer oriented activities is far below 50 percent. 

Recently, I was signing a small contract with a large international organization. The monthly fee is a low $1000; however, in the finalization of this agreement, there were six(!) people involved: the economic buyer, the Head of HR, a HR employee, the coachee, the Head of Purchasing, and a purchasing employee. Four of them are not at all value creating (guess who!). The process took almost 6 weeks and involved two on-site meetings as well as numerous phone calls and emails. At the same time, with another customer, I got a contract of over $50’000 signed after one meeting and two phone calls with the involvement of two people. 

I tell you this story because I wonder how much time and energy an organization that needs 6 people to sign a $1000-contract can still spend on creating business and serving customers. Ironically, my coaching for this customer is also about how to reduce the excessive time consumption of internal meetings and complex decision processes. 

Ask yourself: “Do we direct our main efforts, number of employees, and work time towards our market and our customers or do we allow too much of it to be consumed by all kinds of internal stuff?” 

Here is the challenge: over time, internal time consumption grows automatically, like weeds in a garden. External focus gets lost if it is not continuously and actively nurtured. 

I’d like to give you three concrete tactics of how you can shift your organization’s focus and energy from internal to external: 

  1. Become aware. I find it amazing that many managers are not even aware of how many people are needed to run purely internal processes and how much time staff members spend to satisfy the needs of these internal people. Often, like in my introductory example, 75 percent are not creating any value whatsoever.
  2. Evaluate how many internal processes and steps are just in place because of lack of trust and lack of quality awareness in the first place. If you need a purchasing department to approve a $1000-expense of a senior manager with a budget responsibility of several million dollars, then there is a complete mismatch between responsibility and competence.
  3. Ask yourself: what happens if we just scrap this or that internal process? What is the true risk? In many cases, the risk is minor and the cost and time savings are significant. Sure, often people might need some training to take the additional responsibility. And many need training for changing their mindset, too.

Are these tips entirely new? Of course not! Jack Welch already introduced his famous “work-out sessions” over 20 years ago.

However, many businesses lack the daily discipline of looking at these potentials for higher productivity relentlessly. They let simply the weeds grow. 

I can help. Click here to contact me to discuss how my consulting can turn more of your organization’s focus toward your customers instead of internal processes.