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Articles - Business Awareness
Articles - Organisational Awareness
Sustainable and Intelligent Solutions to Organisational Problems - by Hamid Soltani
It is certain that in the life span of an organisation, there will be a variety of occasions that it will be seriously confronted with problems relating to their performance, stagnation of essential supplies, stakeholder’s management / engagement / satisfactions or capability management. Such problems can occur anywhere within the overall organisational maze of interrelating networks, conduits and the end-to-end processes. The common practice in such situations can be a direct management intervention and instant rectification of problems. They commonly use the concept of “project” as a viable driving vehicle for delivering the required solutions.
Challenges of Finding Solutions to Organisational problems
In addressing the heightened business problems or blockage, the question on the mind of enlightened management would be – in the process of clearing the immediate blockage, should we (organisation) directly deal with the root causes of the problem or should we ignore the extra steps required for a detailed and thorough investigation? Some may justify a quick win solution as a viable option in order to reduce project costs, time or potentially protect their “can do” reputations in their organisation. Of course management mistakenly believe they have the complete solution.
The reason for such thinking may be attributed to:
Obligation- either management is pressured by their leaders or they are personally driven to take short cuts for short term fixes;
Apathy – Management’s lack of interest in the wider organisational context, needs and aspirations;
Lack of 'Know how' – Management’s lack of necessary comprehension/ business intelligence to explore the real solution.
If an organisation decides to holistically deal with its particular problem:
how does it know how far and wide to go in order to uncover the root causes?
how does it know what they actually are and where to look for them?
what methods could it use?
The fact is that when organisations fail to identify the real reasons for their given problem(s), its potential consequence (the resulting simplistic assessment) will undoubtedly find its way in firstly, the business requirements that effectively will lack necessary substance needed to address the real needs and secondly, the developed solutions will naturally behave with a predestined deviation from the desired outcomes.
Such solutions, at best, will give the organisation a short respite and in most cases, the problem will reappear and potentially with more complications and potency. The clear loser in such scenarios is the organisation.
Our practical experience reveals that even with the right intention, majority of organisations fail to convincingly explore the real causes of their impending problems and for this reason, their solutions often fall short of eradicating the real issues and clearly lack the integrated and comprehensive approach to problem solving. It is no surprise that many organisations often try to fix a problem on more than one occasion and sometimes spanning their costly effort over decades.
What can an Organisation do?
The most appropriate action that organisations can take is to Restore Order & Intelligence in their management practices. The following are intended to provide some guidelines for organisations to focus on while trying to solve their problems:
Get to the Root Cause
Establish and support the practice of “let’s get to the Root of the problem before solving it”. Be aware there is always a number of underlying factors that give rise to a particular outcome. Each factor by itself may also comprise of other causes until we unpeel further and further to reveal the final root causes. If a given organisation experience or outcome is undesirable, the causes supporting the process that produced a given outcome needs to be identified and subsequently changed. Imagine the possible ramifications of not exploring the real causes of problems in your organisation.
Consider all Possibilities
The causes may comprise of a combination of logical, psychological or technical factors. All possibilities are within the realm of genuine investigation. Note the solution may also lie in a holistic view around the sustainability of stakeholders, ecosystem, capability and the supporting culture.
Everyone is Responsible
Be aware that the overall well being of your organisation is in your personal hands. If for whatever reason, your management does not allow you the necessary opportunity to investigate the real causes and requirements for a given problem, ensure your systemic concerns are noted and communicated clearly to the right levels of management.
People are the Main Focus
All organisational designs and solutions should be structured around the people and the environment. People are your shareholders, customers, staff, suppliers, regulatory bodies and community. The environment is the natural environment that sustains the organisation, plus the operating space that satisfies and balances the needs of the stakeholders.
Middle Management Rules
The leadership role of the middle management is highly critical in educating and guiding their executives and subordinate’s awareness for a holistic approach to problem solving. Variety of research studies continually indicate that middle management possess the appropriate key to help shaping the organisation for better outcomes and greater sustainability. Middle Management possess greater understanding of their business practices, potential and issues. Further they are generally in a great influential position to lead their subordinates and advise executives. When they do not step up to take leadership roles, the organisation’s opportunity for effective change becomes severely curtailed.
New Liberating Culture
Restore people’s faith in organisations' direction for creating a better world for everyone- namely the “common good” (Business research shows that organisations have higher and more productive people engagement when they apply and embed the mechanics of liberating culture into their organisation). This may include empowerment of staff and creation of the environment of trust and transparency. In this paradigm, staff at all levels will be listened to and allowed to assist in improving the organisation and shaping the ideal learning and participating culture.
Effective Management Practices
Organisations can only grow, improve and prosper under effective management practices. In order to propagate the “liberating culture” where issues are freely allowed to be investigated all the way to their root causes, where individuals can feel empowered to effectively voice their views and make notable difference in the organisation, there needs to be a major deviation from the traditional style of command and control practices to an open, collaborative and systemically responsible practice.
Power of Collaboration
The systemic philosophy and practice of mutual collaboration at all levels of the organisation can significantly lift the general productivity and promote the sense of unity in teams, departments and the whole organisation. The concept of people collaboration can span effectively over the new strategic initiatives as well as facilitating the day to day problem solving activities. It can also become a strategic tool in supporting and maintaining a positive working relationship amongst the internal and external stakeholders.
Learn from History and Reduce Replications
When we learn from the past mistakes, we fully understand the root cause of what went wrong in the first place. There is no learning without real understanding.
Value Corporate Memory
The organisation strength & capability lies with its people’s knowledge. High costs are associated with staff unduly leaving organisations. The cost may include: past staff training & development, potential disruption to sustainability (e.g. customer negative impact), recruitment costs for new staff, new staff training.
Blockage in organisational flow can systemically undermine the performance of the organisation and if they are not addressed promptly, over time, they can severely reduce or totally halt the throughput/ performance of the entire organisation.
The solution lies in a basic philosophy of “get to the root of the problem before solving it”. The failure in doing so is the biggest impediment for organisations' current and future success. As the matter of urgency, all levels of management should shift the balance from what is popular to what is “best for a common good” as they weigh up their decisions for appropriate action.
This is a highly exciting time for organisational leaders to courageously explore, embrace and sponsor a new management culture of openness and transparency amongst their staff. This culture combined with the adoption of supporting management practices of 'staff freedom of expression', can directly promote and propagate the application of real intelligence to organisational decision making process and problem solving activities.
Breaking away from the unworkable organisational practices - by Hamid Soltani
(Organisations can break away from their old limitations, think and behave more intelligently)
Ever increasing complexities in innovative interactions between market participants, volatilities and fast paste of change in people’s trends and expectations for value, quality, speed, service and sustainability have reached an unnerving peak for most organisations.
The birth of a new age conscious stakeholders with now, global reach and influence are presenting a unique set of challenges for all “globally exposed” organisations. Challenges such as - “ever increasing disenchanted/ disloyal customers, disheartened/ unmotivated staff, short term driven shareholders, unpredictable/ low resilient suppliers and the world fragile/ disappearing natural environments” are forcing organisation to quickly sober up, rethink and question their traditional wisdom. The self-aware 0rganisations are desperately searching for innovative capabilities that can allow them to intelligently make sense of their complex and ever changing ecosystem, effectively anticipate and respond to their environment in order to ensure their survival and secure their future prosperities.
“Time has truly come for organisations to either fundamentally smarten up and put their entire house in order or stubbornly disappear in the face of their unworkable traditions and practices”.
The answer is not more of the same old tired methods of rearranging the organisation’s deck chairs
The main and most recurrent root cause of organisation’s on-going setbacks is their general obsession for holding tight to their old/ artificial organisational working paradigms and practices that have been in use by many for generations. These fragmented hierarchical rules and beliefs have never been fundamentally challenged or considered as potential culprit for their reoccurring problems. The corporate world often circles around through economic, political and natural turbulence, sometimes powerlessly and deprived of real wisdom for how to address the root causes of their uncontainable problems.
Such serious and costly organisation’s lack of appetite for finding real substance are often further fuelled and legitimised by some external experts that either suffer from wider perspectives on the holistic dynamic nature of life and/ or driven by their subjective gains. This unfortunately results in organisations continuing to struggle with the same old tired restructuring, re-engineering or technological initiatives that essentially prospers first and foremost, the special groups with their subjective interests and sadly disadvantages organisations greatly by exacerbating their pains and postponing delivery of real substance and lasting solutions to their fundamental needs. These festering unresolved problems have roots deeply embedded into the same old unchanged and unworkable organisational working paradigms and in many cases, their arcade management practices.
A new intelligence is required
The real solution lies in developing a new intelligent culture and a new intelligent paradigm of perceptiveness, rationality and responsiveness that can organically fulfil organisation’s basic needs, allow them to thrive at a sustainable pace and holistically maintain a healthy balance between their competing stakeholders' needs. The challenge for organisations is not only to satisfy their apparent customer needs. It is also and importantly about how to balance and maintain sustainability amongst such drivers and other diverse range of stakeholder expectations in their dynamic operating ecosystems.
These fundamental challenges require a far superior organisational capability, “know how’ and management practices than those are currently offered by the conventional wisdom in the market place.
We are living through an exciting Entrepreneurial Revolution and the whole world is genuinely craving for authenticity, inspirations and real insight into how things can be done right. To continue faking or cheaply simulating transient success is no longer an option for a responsible organisational management going forward.
What hinders Organisation for achieving a Gradual/ Organic Intelligence?
There are 8 major problems that organisations have to address “head on” in order to shake off their ineffective organisation’s working paradigms/ practices before they can successfully embark on achieving their Organic Intelligence:
Management often lacks necessary methods and knowledge for perceiving and mobilising their organisation comprised of interdependent, intelligent and coherent parts. Parts that are expected to work harmoniously towards a greater organisational good;
Management lacks expertise and skills for: (1) mobilising its resources to respond cohesively and effectively to its on-going events within its internal and external ecosystems, (2) sustainably balance and manage the diverse needs of their stakeholders;
Some pockets of management have “persistent reluctance” to learn and adopt new ways outside their convention or comfort zone. This could be due to: (1) organisational culture inhibiting insightful exploration of new paradigms, (2) management taking short cuts for short term gains, (3) lack of interest in the overall organisational context and aspirations, (4) lack of necessary management practices that should promote investigative approach to root cause analysis and problem solving;
Staff lack of sense of belonging, score settling with management and general apathy amongst some members can seriously inhibit the necessary action required for identifying and resolving emerging problems within organisations. The sad fact is that, in many organisations, the essential culture and practices crucial for securing staff trust in their management and fostering genuine collaborative and safe work environment are either lacking or non-existent. In this dangerous territory, many dissatisfied staff, at various levels and degrees could consciously withdraw/ reduce their effective contributions towards achieving organisational goals. This may occur either through their deliberate inaction or retaliation. Unfortunately, such shortcomings are not easily detected and often cost organisations dearly in the long run;
Lack of necessary management leadership to lead by example. Intelligent leaders can suppress sterile silos, inspire staff to effectively collaborate and create an stimulating culture and paving the environment for any potential future leaders to emerge;
Due to lack of clear appreciation of the causal consequences behind various options, decisions and actions, management often opt for easy ways to produce quick results. In many cases, the short-term priorities and pressures from above can often override the prospect of any long-term objectives for achieving fundamental or lasting paradigm shift in the way organisations are adversely positioned and allowed to operate;
Lack of necessary courage by some senior executives to stick their necks out, individually champion and campaign to fundamentally change the conventional ways of doing things unintelligently;
In the absence of the above 7 essential core provisions/ capability, management often attempt superficial and silo remedies to temporally boost and improve its frantic position. But such desperate approach to problem solving often results in catastrophe and potentially causes long term grief for the struggling organisation. This is akin to a desperate car owner repeatedly attempting to fill a perforated car radiator with water, the heat will eventually cease the engine and bring the car to a complete halt. This is when the organisation gets a bad publicity for its failings, gets blamed for its mismanagement and inevitably, due to the “ensuing public pressure and witch hunt”, it is often forced to roll certain heads within its management structure. However, In spite of the usual management public apology, remorse and promises such as “this will never happens again”, such empty promises will not hold for too long and the history often repeat itself mainly due to the fact the initial root causes of the problem were never really understood in the first place. Is your organisation guilty of this old saying?
“Organisations never have enough time or money to do things properly in the first place, but miraculously, they always seem to be able to find enough time and money to do things twice or more in order to rectify them”.
The SoltaniTherapy approach offers new ways for understanding real problem causes & solutions
The offered methods and practices are especially recommended to organisations that over time have gained the necessary maturity and simply recognise the fact that, the commonly available methods and sales driven market trends can no longer give their organisation the required lift to successfully achieve their long-term prosperity.
Soltani Therapy offerings help the soul searching management team to create a new intelligent organisational culture that can organically reshape their outdated and unworkable management practices through out the organisation. The organisational impacts are positively long lasting, sustainable and provide a solid foundation for the evolution of a self organising and intelligently managed organisation.
The template offered by Soltani Therapy enables the permeation and evolution of intelligence in organisations. The supporting logic is carefully based on 'how intelligence operates within the domain of a human mind'. This understanding provides the necessary clue on how we may think and measure intelligence within the broader context of a commercial organisation. In this paradigm, organisations can directly mimic the heuristics and rules governing the notion of how a human being anticipate and respond to its complex environment and ecosystem.
In our view, the best commercial template for creating a sustainable, intelligent and functioning organisation are those that are directly based on the great capabilities demonstrated in living entities in our natural world and those that best depict the universal laws governing our ecosystem in their designs. Due to their; high potential for exercising intelligence, adaptability to deal with the ever changing complex world and high degree of resilience in dealing with external adversities, human beings represent the most complete, viable and well functioning organisational template in our natural world.
As these natural fundamentals are at the core of our perceived world of reality and the way we collectively define how life and societies are organised and should operate, we have used the human template as the best possible template for creating a well organised, functioning and intelligent organisations of the 21st century.
The Soltani Therapy collective offerings help organisations to confidently, intelligently and successfully manage their everyday affairs
Identify and understand their internal pulse and what truly happens at every level of their structure. They can learn how to look for relevant information, to intelligently measure and to appropriately respond to them;
Identify and understand their external ecosystems, events and information. Define the boundary line for how far and wide a given organisation should look outside itself and recognise the presenting information as relevant to its survival;
Understand the needs, wants and expectations of all their stakeholders and recognise how equally important each are to the present and future success of the organisation and how they should be organically balanced and managed in order to achieve true sustainable prosperity;
Intelligently measure the ramification of all forces acting upon them. Recognise the impact on all its constituents and make intelligent decisions and respond effectively and decisively;
Go beyond just the conventional strategic planning exercises and create an art form in effective management of the organisation based on total respect for the governing natural parameters, sensitive alignments of the essential people and effective mobilisation of resources;
Naturally coordinate and mobilise capabilities for appropriate action without having to go through the experience of traumatic transformation.
Potential Organisational Benefits:
A proper adoption of Organic Intelligence methodology helps an organisation to:
Organically become self-aware and naturally adapt the benefits from its lowest to its highest levels of its management;
Create a real vision and paradigm that can fundamentally and painlessly reshape the organisation;
Establish new and natural management practices across the whole organisation;
Achieve fit for purpose organisational journey towards organic intelligence without the traumas and pains associated with conventional transformations;
Provide an inclusive approach and enable people at every level to genuinely exercise legitimate autonomy and motivation to excel and provide real wholesome values;
Enable the organisation to naturally rectify itself and create a sustainable and learning culture;
Enhancing the business ability to anticipate and respond - By Hamid Soltani
We live in a world of constant variability and change and amongst such uncertainties, business has a difficult challenge of making real sense of their often complex internal & external environments, making rational decisions, developing effective strategies and intelligently delivering solutions for their survival and future sustainability. Over the past two decades, global integration and new technologies have created great opportunities and also added new complexities for organisations to deal with. As organisations desire to improve their capabilities, and in the absence of a holistic, intelligent and fit for purpose solutions, they can waste their precious energies and resources on silo and singular technical solutions. The hidden key in capability development lies in their Business Intelligence (BI) for them to holistically anticipate and respond to internal and external environments.
BI has become a well recognised strategic tool and is endorsed by executives and business leaders as instrumental in driving business effectiveness and measurement. The biggest challenge for business however, is not just having the right hardware or software for the job, but how to create the necessary paradigm shift in their overall management practices, culture of thinking, leadership capabilities and understanding how to structure and use the organisation’s BI capabilities. Even those satisfied early adopters of BI have found themselves struggling to cope with the new complexities relating to changing Customers, Competitors, Staff, Suppliers and Regulators needs. The ongoing challenges for survival and creation of a sustainable business have added a new urgency for the adoption of Business Intelligence that can organically take root and mainfest itself within the organisations.
A successful BI
A well defined and fit for purpose BI capability enables an organisation to become more self aware, think and operate as one single co-ordinated unit with well established natural structures and capabilities to ensure its sustainable prosperity. Adoption of a robust BI methodology and practices will enable the organisation to:
Look and understand their internal pulse and what truly happens at every level of their structure.They can also learn to become wise on how to source the appropriate information and measure them intelligently with a wider organisational view.
Look and understand their external ecosystems, events and information. Define the boundary line for how far and wide their organisation would like to look outside themselves and still recognise the information as relevant.
Understand the needs, wants and expectations of all stakeholders and recognise how equally important each are to the survival of the organisation and how finely they should be balanced and managed in order to achieve true sustainability for the organisation.
Intelligently measure the ramification of forces acting upon them and to respond intelligently, effectively and decisively.
Create a holistic plan of action (one coordinated organisation voice) in order to mobilise capabilities for appropriate outcomes to ensure ongoing sustainability for the organisation.
The BI Journey for Leading Organisations
The starting point for an organisation is to acknowledge the current limitations and problems within their appropriate organisational context. This could include noted problems / issues with various stakeholders’ dissatisfactions, internal capability gaps and strategies that fail to deliver intended outcomes.
It is acknowledged by industry experts that technologies by themselves cannot provide complete solutions.
Industry sources report that inappropriate, incorrect and an improper business context use of technology can be the biggest limiting and costly force for many organisations. The technology solutions and the related services are often sold by vendors in silos and without true evaluation of the overall systemic organisational environment and/or fit for purpose considerations.
The real essence lies in the way we think, structure and manage our organisations. How we perceive the organisation is highly important to how we organise ourselves within such structure.
For example, if we think of an organisation, as a series of functions, activities and people with no clarity on the complex and systemic nature of the interrelationships between the parts, we could organise ourselves into silo structures. On the other hand, we could see organisations as living beings that, on one hand, have a complex adaptive nature and on the other hand, they acts very systemic.
The complex adaptive side deals with external variability and constantly reorganise itself and often hard to constrain. The systemic aspect deals with the internal and acts like a single body with full co-ordination of its mutually interrelating parts. With such two sided understanding of the nature of organisations. we then have a better holistic appreciation of the forces and within such framework in mind, we can deliver harmonious (balanced stakeholder satisfactions) and sustainable business outcomes.
Therefore the required shift for applying BI involves adoption of both complex and systemic views of the organisation, courage to do the right things for the long-term gains, engaging management practices that are encompassing of all parties within the organisation scope.
An appropriate BI adoption allows the organisation to mature from the “survival attitude” to a truly thriving and sustainable one. In the BI environment, the required changes to the leadership practices and cultural shifts can permeate naturally throughout the organisation.
Benefits & Outcomes of a well Implemented BI
It allows the organisation to:
Organically become self aware & naturally self adjust from their surviving to thriving state
Create real vision, paradigm and fundamentally shape organisations for sustainable prosperity
Establish new leadership structure with real capabilities to deal with the whole organisation
Conduct organic adoption of intelligence without the usual traumas and pains associated with the conventional transformation
Provide an inclusive approach and enable people at every level to genuinely exercise legitimate autonomy, empowerment, motivation to excel
Create a real and natural balance between expectations of staff, management, customers, shareholders, suppliers and regulators.