Closed-loop Teams


For years, banks have taken several days, and even weeks and sometimes months to get a decision to a personal loan applicant. The application would be passed around the various departments, traveling at its own pace. A series of supervisors, clerks, and internal mailpeople handled it. Today, aggressive banks take the application directly into a focused, coordinated group—a credit analyst, a collateral appraiser, and a senior personal banker—who decide and respond to the customer sometimes in thirty minutes and always inside a day. This is a small closed-loop team.

 

A closed-loop team includes everyone who is necessary to make the deliverable flow. The team includes all the needed functional people and decision-makers and is self-scheduling. Everyone the team is working for the same objective—to provide the deliverable on time. The team is empowered to make decisions and to act. It has all functions inside it with short lines of communication. Its leader is responsible for its overall performance and for seeing that it gets all the capability, both technicall and human, it needs. All of these are essential to flexibility.

 

The old bank loan approval process was open loop. There was no continuity in the process, no visible standard, little learning between the principles, only occasional feedback on the process, and no one responsible for making it better.

 

In order for the loop to close on a process it must be tightly organized around the deliverable; the same core group must be involved in the process every day; and there must be a working leader on the team.

 

Small teams work better than large ones because large groups create communication problems of their own. It’s best to include only essential functions and to exclude people whose job is peripheral to the deliverable. For example, the bank loan team excludes accounting and records people. Teams have to be self-managing and empowered to act because referring decisions back up the line wastes time and often leads to poor decisions. So the team ioncludes a bank officer because if the officer were not on the team, he or she would be prone to second-guess the group’s decisions. Its better if all the questions are asked and answers are exchanged just once.

 

Closd-loop teams handle variety better than open-loop teams because they can create new information and flexibility.

 

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, Line of Sight

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Creating Strategic Slack


In considering strategies for supporting or protecting core distinctive competences and growing new ones, the issue of resource demands has to be considered. One means of releasing resources is to review those distinctive competences that are no longer central to the strategic future. As is often the case in organizations, competences and distinctive competences emerge, and become embedded into the culture/conciousness of the organization. However, as organizations change their strategic direction, the utility of these competences may reduce, sometimes with them becoming completely irrelevant. Identifying these will free up resources—creating strategic slack. Where competences (or the activities supporting them) are to be withdrawn, careful considration of how this is to be achieved is necessary (who needs to be consulted? What needs to be put into place?) so as to ensure that the resources are freed up rather than covertly protected.

 

An obvious means of freeing up resources is through outsourcing. Through building the business model, those areas that are considered potential candidates for outsourcing will have been scrutinized. Often organizations outsource units, departments and tasks without considering the overall impact on the business model, or on a distinctive competence. Understanding how the particular area or task to be outsourced fits in with the overall model can thus ensure a more sustainable and coherent approach.

 

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, Line of Sight

Bocoming Process-centered


Your organization is probably divided into separate departments, such as R&D, sales, IT, and accounts. These departments don’t work independently, but should all cooperate to achieve the organization’s goals. To help with this, many organizations have become process centered.

A process centered organization removes the process of satisfying customer demand. Process centering, more than anything else, means that the people in the company recognize and focus on their processes. When an order comes to a traditional organization, everyone does their separate part of the process and seems to work in isolation — sales collect orders, manufacturing makes goods, warehousing adjusts the stocks, transport delivers the goods, accounting sends out the invoices. The problem is that no one looks after the whole process, integrates different operations, or eveb makes sure that customers actually get their products.

In a process centered organization, everyone has the overriding purpose of contributing to a process that leads to satisfied customers.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please contact Asif J. Mir.