Four factors for organizational success
Barney (Ben) Woodard
University of Maryland, University College
November 11, 2012
There are numerous ways to achieve organization success. Ask any two business guru their opinions and you will undoubtedly get two unique lists. Successful entrepreneurs covet their secrets of success and business school faculty lecture what the latest texts have written. Defining a check list of do’s and don’ts may seem like a rather easy task, but the implementation of those ideas is what will truly lead to organizational success. But what is organization success? That question can have many answers depending on the business. A University might define it as job placement of graduating students, but a middle school may be successful if its American history program is nationally recognized. A publicly traded company (and its stock holders) could define it as profits over the last quarter, whereas a small technology start-up could consider the issue of a patent on their newest widget a success. It’s my assessment that of all the factors pertaining to organizational success, those that revolve around the people within the organization and adaptation within the organization are the largest factors of success. I believe when a commitment to improvement, a continuous workforce development plan, and an implementation of a shared vision are harmoniously integrated by a resilient leader, it will place a company on a path to organizational success.
Commitment to Continuous Quality (Process Improvement)
There are no perfect scenarios where a company continues to profit and does nothing to improve. Updating a process is a continuous method that involves employees at all levels while focusing on the needs of the customer (John, 1992). Successful organizations are able to identify potential areas for increasing the value of processes or products. Not all products need to undergo substantial change in order to qualify as a process improvement. A change in the perceived value of the product is all that is needed. For example, a recent advertisement from McDonald’s is touting their Egg McMuffin sandwich as a luxury and higher class item. Taking from old consumer adage “It’s the Cadillac of …”, McDonalds has substituted “McMuffin” for Cadillac. There have been no changes to the recipe of the sandwich, but they have changed the perception of the item by comparing it to a separate premium item and in turn increasing a perceived value (Biasi, 2012). Whether a company modifies a current product, updates a process or simply re-brands, constant improvement is a key factor in the success of an organization.
In order for a company to achieve a goal, its employees must be on board with the missions of the organization. That is, employees must be aligned with the mission, values and goals of the organization in order to foster growth and achieve long term success (The secrets of organizational success, 1995). In order for an organization to implement any changes, those within (at all levels) must share in the vision of the organization (Kanter, 1988). Every company should have a vision. Without a vision there are no goals to achieve and the company has no definition of success in the future. A successful vision provides a company with a few goals to which they can devote their resources to while inspiring its workforce to achieve those goals (Clancy, n.d.). The importance (as stated by Clancy) lies with inspiring employees. A vision alone needs support. Simply wanting something done, without dedicating recourses to it, is futile. Creating a shared vision, one in which employees have a stake, is significant in the organizations long term success. Providing a personal connection to the product (or process) drastically changes the way employees approach their work and makes a substantial impact on their work quality (Hill & Tande, 2003). People have to want to...
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