Organizational Uniqueness #2:

One Approach Does Not Fit All

Consultants frequently hear from their clients how different and unique their organization is. They typically listen to this, nodding their heads in agreement, while silently identifying all the companies they have seen that are very similar to their client’s. Consultants rightfully pride themselves on being able to categorize clients. After all, professionals depend on categorization to rapidly identify a problem and develop a plan to address the client’s pain.
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However, executives need to beware of ideal models that companies should emulate. Companies have their own unique blend of mindsets, processes, and behaviors, that when aligned, provide the company with the foundation to succeed. This blend is not permanent; it must continuously evolve with the changes in its environment. But it is unique and that uniqueness must be respected. The symptoms of not respecting a company’s uniqueness are many, and almost all are painful. Greatly over budget ERP implementations that do not meet minimum expectations, and failed acquisitions that produce little or no synergy, are typical symptoms of not respecting an organization’s uniqueness.

Both of these examples are directly caused by failure to respect an organization’s uniqueness. One-size-fits-all project implementation does not work. An organization’s uniqueness is created by the natural variation of its mindsets, processes, and behaviors. The variation is created by the organization’s interaction with its environment in the past and present. When an ERP implementation is done without acknowledging the organizational uniqueness, it is rejected – or at least rendered less powerful than expected.

Just like an organ transplant, a whole slew of factors – in this case organizational elements – need to match to have the transplant work. The devil is in the details, and organizations are filled with details that can trip up an any implementation. Just search the web for the estimated failure rate of ERP implementations – it ranges from 50% to 80%. One reason the rejection rate is so high because the consulting and management team failed to respect the organization’s uniqueness. Any project implementation or acquisition integration must acknowledge that the host company has its own unique blend of elements that must be measured, understood, and changed to achieve expectations.

Make Training Work for You

Excited about training?  Probably not.  Too many owners and managers see training time as a necessary evil at best, something to be accomplished as quickly as possible so that the trainee can start contributing to the bottom line, instead of taking away from it.

Instead, make training work for you as part of your culture.  Train your trainers; provide time, support and encouragement to both trainer and trainee; be the champion and chief cheerleader.  Then watch the impact on your bottom line!