Update to this article: Since the publication of this article, there have been a couple items that I would like to share with the readers.
1. This post talks about the importance of having identities for both the organization and departments. That is the “what”. As far as the “how” to do that, you might have your own tools that you use. If you don’t have or leverage tools on the “how” to create these two identity documents, I invite you to click on this link and learn about the Conversation Frameworks I call IDENTITY. IDENTITY Org and Department Duo Overview VideoFeel free to contact me through the website if you are interested in learning more about this tool.
2. Over the last few months, I have been surveying organizations and consultants on which organizational challenges they are facing or seeing with their clients. The data, while still a small sample at this point, is beginning to show some interesting trends and results. For example, on this topic of having an identity at the org and department levels, in the current respondent data results, 87% of the respondents say that they have challenges around this topic at the organizational level while 73% of the respondents say that they face challenges on this topic at the departmental level. Those are some staggering statistics. And the most common scenarios that challenges them are the following:
Organizational Level: No high-level company positioning document exists, resulting in a variety of individual interpretations of what the company stands for among the management and employees.
Departmental Level: A department’s role and activities have morphed over time as they adjusted to company changes. Employees are confused about what the department’s core focus is today, impacting priorities and workload.
3. If you would like to participate in this Organizational Challenges ongoing survey, I would welcome your feedback. The survey takes 15 minutes to complete. After receiving a larger data sample, I plan to produce a report and share it with the people who took the survey. The survey can be taken by multiple people inside an organization. Having various perspectives from the same organization would be quite powerful and insightful. The same link can be used by multiple people. Here are the links to use:
a. For organizations/employees (or consultants who would like to analyze their internal challenges: Organizational Challenges Survey
b. For Consultants/Coaches who would be considering the challenges that their clients are facing, please use this link (again, multiple people from within the consulting company who have insights into client challenges came use this link): Client Challenges Survey
4. For those readers who would like to dive into the world of neuroscience at a basic level and understand how your way of processing information impacts your communication with employees and clients, I have developed a short, 5-minute, 10-question assessment that I call QUADRANTS. Here is a link to a short video on this assessment: QUADRANTS Thinking Styles Assessment Overview videoIf you are interested in taking this short assessment and receiving a free, basic report, please use these links:
a. English: QUADRANTS Thinking Styles Assessment – English
b. Spanish: QUADRANTS Thinking Styles Assessment – Spanish
c. Upon completion of the assessment, you will receive the free, basic results report with an option to purchase a longer, personalized report with results interpretations.
d. If you are working with teams or would like to have department staff members take the assessment, the same links apply and a team/group results interpretation report and coaching call with the supervisor, manager, or team leader is now available.
WHO ARE YOU? DEFINING YOUR COMPANY’S IDENTITY
In my last posting, I gave insight into how to change people. One of the seven points was to “define internal positioning,” which I also said was considered a “luxury item” by many people. In this posting, I hope to explain why taking the time (guided reflection) to define and document internal positioning at two levels can benefit people throughout the organization.
In a nutshell, internal positioning is the process of documenting who and what the organization is at three levels – the organization as a whole and the individual departments. Once the documents are created, they should be communicated throughout the organization and maintained as information changes.
Level #1: The Organization
Most large organizations have an internal communication and positioning guide, while most small and medium-sized companies do not. The communication and positioning guide is the principal repository for information that defines and describes who and what the organization is. The wording is precise and deliberate since many subsequent documents are created using the text. Items such as catalogs, press releases, website text, company presentations, and annual reports might contain verbiage from the communication and positioning guide (CPG). The CPG often highlights products, taglines, and product benefits. The CPG might also include information on the competition, company philosophies, and industry trends.
An organization-level CPG gives everybody a single source of information and maintains focus and clarity.
Level #2: The Departments
The next level that merits developing and disseminating CPGs is the department level. A couple of examples of how a CPG at the department level proves to be a helpful tool are as follows:
The New Employee: When a new employee enters a department, a CPG, including names, terminology, significant processes, special policies, workflow diagrams, org charts, internal customer information, and other topics, will reduce the employee’s training time. For example, the new employee could read and digest the org-level CPG and the department-level CPG to get a global understanding of the two levels. The terminology and acronyms that current employees use freely and without explanation would no longer be totally foreign to the new employee. Having process flows on paper, and an org chart to refer to would provide a visual that many people need. The CPG would also ensure consistency regarding information being presented to new employees.
Department Alignment: For senior management, having department-level CPGs effectively keeps departments properly aligned and focused. By comparing the CPG from each department, a senior manager can identify duplication of activity or resource, inefficient processes, conflicting priorities, or policy issues, all of which need addressing.
Outcomes of keeping things aligned:
- Keep everybody on the same page.
- Communicate how all the employees and departments fit together to support the organizational goals and vision.
- Reduce training time with new employees as they use the benchmark documents to learn various aspects of the organization, understand how their department fits into the overall organization, and realize how their position is part of the big picture.
- Begin with the organizational level document – create the vision and framework for the departments. Review and revise every 6 to 9 months.
- Have each department create its positioning documents as a department, then have senior management review them to ensure all critical information is accurate. Review every 6 to 9 months as the organizational version is updated.
In summary, people want to feel they contribute positively to their organization’s goals and future. By developing and maintaining positioning documents at each level – organization and departments – understanding how and where employees add value to the organization becomes obvious. Need help with CPG document creation? Let me know in the comments section below.
I hope you found this to be useful. Post a comment below and be on the lookout for my next post when I begin talking about the three Ps at the root of both change initiatives and problems – People, Processes, and Planning. I’ll discuss the P nearest and dearest to your employees’ hearts – People (i.e., Themselves!).