Ten Important Questions About an Organization's Work

  Management consultant and Continuous Improvement pioneer Bill Conway often said, "The most important business decision people make every day, is deciding what to work on. It's all about the work" This perspective has proved to be true in much of the consulting work our firm has done. In fact, we've found that working on the right things comprises at least half of project improvement or continuous improvement! But once people know what to work on, there are ten critical questions to consider, the answers to which will lead the way toward building a high-performance culture of continuously improving an organization's work. These ten questions are: What processes should we use to identify the best opportunities for improvement; the work processes that, if improved, can make the biggest impact on the bottom line? How will we prioritize the opportunities? How can we ensure or increase alignment? How will we identify desired outcomes... the way things 'could or sh

Measuring the Success of an Organisation

  Organisations only exist to achieve something that individuals can't achieve alone. This involves coordinated, cooperative effort. In 1938, Chester Barnard, author of The Functions of the Executive, wrote "the only measure of a cooperative system is its capacity to survive". Despite its vintage, that seems like a valuable insight at the moment with the demise of so many household names over the last decade and many more to come during the current economic turmoil. But how to measure an organisation's capacity to survive? Is it the age of the organisation? But that only measures historical capability to survive, not necessarily the current and future capacity. Is it a measure of vitality - like a doctor measuring vital signs: heart rate, blood pressure, blood composition, immune system, etc.? Measuring liquidity, cashflow, and any number of financial ratios are useful metrics. But, continuing the medical analogy, measuring vital signs helps you know if you're out