“If you could get all the people in an organization rowing in the same direction, you could dominate any industry in any market, against any competition, at any time.”   – Patrick Lencioni

Management within any organization is a constant process of making choices to optimize performance. But what happens when the choices which seem most expedient and wise, actually have side-effects that make it more difficult to go back and choose differently?

Despite being “one company”, each department or individual is actually trying to maximize their own productivity. So unless the departments are working in alignment with each other, conflicts are bound to ensue, and net productivity will be sacrificed.

For example, look at a typical scenario with sales, development and support in a software environment:

  • Sales is the lifeblood of the company. If we need to promise a new feature or modification to a prospective customer to close a sale, we’re going to do it. New features sell products.
    (The Sales group is shifting the burden for their success to the Development group.)
  • The Development group can add new features, but this consumes resources that were otherwise allocated towards the next major release, or to addressing larger issues of quality. (Rushing features out the door shifts the burden of rapid development over to the support group.)
  • Quality is everything. If the quality of the product suffers, support costs go through the roof. As our reputation for quality begins to suffer, the sales team will find it increasingly difficult to sell our product.
    (Over time, the burden on the support group will have a negative impact on the Sales team).

The answer is not to prioritize one group over the other, but rather to increase the awareness of each group of the dependence that they have on the other, and of the down-stream implications of making the quick-fix choice at the expense of long-term success.

When you are ready to take a hard look at the systemic interactions within your organization and to focus on long-term solutions, then contact Primary Goals. We’ll walk you through an assessment process to identify hidden costs, and to involve your teams in organization-wide solutions.

Reference Links

Shifting the Burden