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Continued from Previous…… SUM UP
We continue to discuss solutions in the major areas of People, Infrastructure, Processes, and Resources may be listed as major heads in which work needs to be done.
SOLUTIONS – INFRASTRUCTURE
If people are central to scaling up, infrastructure is the theme that keeps people together. Following features may be considered about infrastructure.
Formality – an evolving organization which started small, has a rather informal infrastructure. The jobs are loosely defined, the hierarchy is unclear, and few people can do many things because the scale is small. At this stage, the organization needs this arrangement to keep the costs under control.
As the business grows, the infrastructure should also grow so that it is better able to cope with the increasing demand. Two requirements emerge: need for more people; and need for variously skilled people. The obvious considerations in this case are the cost that human resource addition would incur, whether it is really necessary, and what value it would add. The answers to these questions are as follows.
Cost is a term which is interchangeably used for investment into various activities. Human resource is a long-term asset which keeps paying back indefinitely in many ways. The cost would increase nominally over time due to increments, promotions, additions etc., but the return would always be higher. The only conditions are hiring the right people and giving them right environment for work.
Yes, it is necessary because even the best people shall not deliver their best in the absence of a proper infrastructure.
The value it will add will reflect in greater output, better efficiency, and higher customer satisfaction for internal and external customers.
Finally, the formality is necessary to keep everyone on track and responsible for their assigned functions.
Integrity – of infrastructure means that it can withstand the pressure of work. Integrity is built by two factors: experience of people working here; and clear guidelines for work which do not change at whim. Integrity denotes strength and stability and for the users, it signifies reliability and efficiency.
Infrastructures need defined processes and procedures for running seamlessly.
PROCESSES and PROCEDURES
While discussing challenges, we had talked about processes and procedures in some detail. Here, we talk about their development.
The processes in most organizations are developed in two ways.
The people who have worked in more developed organizations and are well exposed to detailed processes, their development, implementation and running bring this expertise to a new organization. It is an efficient and cost-effective method, which has served most organizations quite well. The benefit of this approach is that no time is lost in buying-in of the key people, they are themselves involved in it. The other benefit is that this method has already been cleared of any bugs which usually come with any new system. Third benefit is the relatively short span of time it takes to evolve and implement.
Second way is to import help either in the shape of a consultancy or a manual and then follow the guidelines. The benefit of this system is that you get a system which is based on best practices. It would have all ingredients required by a robust system. However, this approach has few problems.
The first problem is the buy-in of stakeholders. Senior managers resist very strongly and the spirit trickles down to juniors also. The resistance wastes time, raises emotions, and delays things unnecessarily. Second problem is the trial and error and debugging during implementation. It may also take inordinately long time. Third problem is that the consultants or manuals cost a fortune, which most organizations would not like to incur.
Based on my personal experience in several organizations, I would recommend relying more on the first approach.
Process development should start from defining clear guidelines and policies. These are the sources from where processes flow. Procedures are the executable forms of processes.
General recommendations about policies are as follows.
Policies should be clear, precise, and practical.
Policies should be simple to understand and follow.
Policies should address all related issues.
Policies should be based on fair play, merit, equality, inclusivity, and justice.
Policies should be based on current practices, with a mind for the future.
Policies should promote employee engagement.
To be Continued……
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