Management recession: time for an Organisational Effectiveness (OE) function? Series 2 of 3

It is apparent from Series 1 that the ongoing management-recession at firms needs a fix. And that the fix may be as simple as ‘functionalizing’ effectiveness i.e., making organization-effectiveness (OE) a formal function like finance, HR, etc and appointing a weighty honcho for the function

So – would having an OE Tsar address the recession we are witnessing in management? Will such a move take away the complexity, strategy dissonance, and all the other mishmash prevalent at organizations?

The answer from us at the Effectiveness lab is a firm, Yes, but with one caveat – that the transition to the so-called OE configuration and accompanying paradigm shift is done the right way.

Walk into some of the prominent entities today – get mid-level and rank and file staff into some safe space – and initiate discourse about what could be done better, and guess what the likely pointers are? Too much complexity, strategy dissonance, decision making velocity challenges, and ultimately, the toll all this confusion brings to an already stressed workforce

Introducing the OE function can’t be approached as the business as usual organizational change process – the familiar organization chart tweak that more often than not, results in the dreaded redundancy, change in processes, change of guard, cost-cutting, etc.  It can’t also be the honchos looking for a ‘safe’ response to presiding over botched OD. systems at the company.

Sadly – the corporate culture has conspired, directly and indirectly, to buttress a flawed solution to organizational ineffectiveness and malaise (read: restructure and make redundant, cost cut, re-package what already is and present as new, etc.). The result of applying an old, increasingly stale solution to a complex organisational problem, of endemic dysfunction, has brought about at both the macro and micro levels, management-recession.

The Effectiveness lab opines in this blog that, just as the relentless and successful lobby for the CIO and HRM seniors to get seats in board and senior management suites, Effectiveness Tsars should be appointed and given the right profile within the hierarchy, to address the deepening management malaise at firms big and small.

The Tsar should be given ‘audit-like’ powers to red flag dysfunction within business value chains and its cause. But unlike the orthodox auditor, the OE Tsar/team should work jointly ‘in’ and ‘with’ teams to suggest and implement the right solutions

The case for OE Tsar – fallacy or not?

Well, the answer is equally straightforward and mostly in the role the Effectiveness Tsar should play at the firm, articulated so very well in an article by the HRMagazine:

The OE Tsar Responsibilities

• Working with executive teams at each level to analyze and drive performance and capability – including regular and formal organizational health assessments of all strategic business units and functions.

• Championing the setting of clear objectives and standards, focusing on what’s important and evaluation of outcomes, and avoiding over-abundance of initiatives and KPIs.

• Internal and external scanning and analysis to identify performance and development drivers, provide evidence to prioritize areas for decision and action, and challenge conventional thought.

• Facilitating teamwork and collaboration, disarming silos.

• Designing, orchestrating, project-managing, and facilitating changes of structure, processes and jobs – both incremental and transformational improvement – built on a foundation of systems thinking and practice.

• Steering and assessing culture – including important facets such as performance orientation, customer-centricity, learning, ethics, balanced risk-taking.

• Designing people policies that clearly add to performance and capability as well as meet legal requirements, co-creating these with managers and employees to enhance embedding.

• Shaping leadership selection and behaviour at all levels – ensuring effective succession through building robust and diverse talent pools, recognizing the critical few while inspiring contributions from all.

• Driving organizational adaptation to advances in technology, analytics and cyber risks, building the skills from boardroom to frontline to operate in a digitized, big data and AI world.

• Stimulating a compelling narrative about sustainable value creation from insightful, robust data about people and capability – the triple bottom line and story behind the financial figures.

The OE function should serve as the glue that blends the core functions like: HR, ICT, Finance, Administration, Purchasing, Marketing, etc.  The OE function, if embraced and supported by all stakeholders from the owners, the corporate suite and all rank and file at the organisation, should ultimately deliver a self-managed team of committed professionals whose sole aim is to deliver effectiveness.  The HRMagazine perceives the latter as the ultimate replacement of the so-called organisational headquarters – a concept it refers to as – less ‘head office’.

The quality of an OE function should be a clear differentiator in an organization’s capacity to succeed.

If making OE a formal organizational function is the fix to the ongoing management-recession, and clearly, the OE mandate looks similar to the HR function, then what is HR not doing right and do we still need HR?

See you next week – for Series 3 and we will delve into matters HR and its relevance/new mandate, should firms choose to appoint OE Tsars

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  1. Management recession: time for an Organisational Effectiveness (OE) function? Series 3 of 3 – Gabazira's blog

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