“Everything is perfect, and everything can be improved” – Nithya Shanthi
At Vyaktitva, we believe that Business and Organization design are closely related. The underbelly of most business challenges reveals a misaligned organization system which, when balanced, can unleash the potential of the Business. Our Tatva model helps us to assess the as-is system, recommend and execute the way forward.
One of our clients, a leading food business, was experiencing a sluggish growth curve. Measured over half a decade, the nearest competitor had had more than twice the client’s growth rates and were now leading the market. While the client had succeeded in building an enviable brand and had access to the finest talent, they faced a plateauing business curve.
We conducted an in-depth Analysis, through Appreciative Inquiry meetings, with the key stakeholders across all levels in the organization. Further we excavated business goals, key people process and business process. This was done to engage and involve the energies of the entire organization and also to maintain our proximity with our client’s reality. Appropriately 50 client voices gave us a fairly good understanding of the context. It is wonderful to see the patterns that emerge when one shifts from seeing the trees to seeing a forest!
To analyse and diagnose, we used the Vyaktitva Tatva Explorer and presented the recommendations to the top Leadership Team. It was diagnosed that the key differential or misalignment lay between the two Tatvas of Sky and Fire – that of having a shared purpose, shared leadership, ownership of the team goals and facilitating authentic conversations within the Leadership Team. In short, it was a transformational journey for the Leadership Team.
Once we had a high-level alignment on our proposed solution, we discussed and co-created the Intervention Plan along with the client. Clearly this was not a training or an event but rather a smorgasbord of workshops, work-outs, conversations, meetings stitched together with robust governance over the following eight months.
At each stage, we kept the client’s leadership team engaged and involved throughout the envisioning, designing the blueprint, identifying, debating and finalizing the structures and constructs of the journey.
The journey was planned in stages based on Vyaktitva’s model for holistic and sustainable change – Epower7.
Envision and Energize
In this phase, we proposed a road map of the Intervention, through a workshop for the Leadership Team and key stakeholders, to share the findings of analysis.
In the workshop, stakeholders also experienced Authentic Dialoguing while creating and articulating their Vision. This created ownership and positive energy within the Leadership Team and key stakeholders. This was a critical step as without this ownership and commitment towards the Intervention, this transformation would not have been possible.
Now that the Purpose and the buy-in for the Intervention were established, it was critical to get the group to develop a deeper trust in their ability to handle conflicts positively. In this phase, a Leadership skill development journey was initiated through a workshop. This workshop helped Leaders build skills like dealing with conflicts and resolving it in a win-win manner, system awareness and the art of giving and receiving feedback. Change begins with Self – and this was where we brought it home for the leaders. They realized that to achieve their purpose, each of them will also need to get out of own comfort zones of behaviour. It was an energetic bunch that left the room at the end of this workshop!
The group also saw the need to set up spaces and structured processes where they could meet as the Shared Leadership team to discuss common agenda. This team agreed to commit to meeting once a month to discuss operational matters, and once a quarter to engage on strategic agenda.
Intentions are not always sufficient, action needs to follow.
In the Execute phase, a goal setting work-out was conducted to help align the KRAs to the articulated vision. This was an interactive space where teams worked on their own functional goals and also discussed inter-dependencies on each other’s functions. The emphasis was placed on the collective achievement of the team’s aspiration.
We also kicked off the first few shared leadership forums where the leadership team met to discuss common agendas. Vyaktitva facilitated the first few to help bring the rhythm in the system. I remember the Business Leader commenting – “We have always had meetings to review, but the flavor and energies around it have shifted to collective ownership, and hence greater collaboration”.
Obviously, the Proof of the Pudding is in the Eating! So, it was also important to Evaluate. The Intervention process itself had a living journey. This was tracked at various stages through continuous feedback, a dipstick survey after five months and governance to ensure that the progress was as per plan. We tweaked along the way based on the client’s progress.
The solution was deployed, and significant benefits were observed, some of which were:
- Improved sales performance and results.
- Shared Leadership in action – where the authentic dialogues happen, and key organisation decisions are taken collaboratively.
- Leaders wearing both the functional and organizational hat.
- Collective Ownership of a clearly articulated purpose and vision.
- Increased alignment and collaboration between the leadership team and their key stakeholders.
- Better focus on strategic and operational business areas leading to smooth flow of execution between functions and harmony at work.
- Increased transparency and openness.
- Initiation of the authentic dialoguing process – co-creation of the journey, goals, action plans, inputs from all on key matters related to performance, joint monthly reviews to share/take inputs/align, raise challenges.
- Trust deepening and new curve behaviours beginning to align.
At the end of our journey, the client’s CEO, Business Head and HR Head clearly expressed immense satisfaction on the outcomes. For us, it was a re-enforcement of our firm belief that for holistic and sustainable change, systemic solutions are the only remedy.