What is your organization focusing on?

Do you know what your organization is focusing on? Do your colleagues know? What are the odds your answers differ?

Where are you heading?

There are two types of organizations: those that clearly understand where they're heading and those that don't. Which one is yours?

No one will ever admit their organization is the latter. But the reality doesn't lie. If you asked the CEO, the management team and the workforce, the chances are slim you'd get the same answer. So if everyone has a different idea of where their organization is heading, how can your organization achieve its goals?

Every day, we all make tens if not hundreds of decisions. If we don't understand what's important for our organization, how can we choose the right criteria to evaluate our decision? We can't. So we end up with making choices that feel right/are cool/make us tick, but which not necessarily contribute to our organization's goals.

All is not lost

Typically, the CEO has a pretty good idea where the organization is going. Management team probably too. Often, problems start with translating the high-level goals to the workforce and helping them to understand what it means to them and the decisions they make every day.

If you're a consultancy for example, your business model is built around billing hours. There are only so many employees in your organization and so many hours you can bill. So to increase the revenue you have to work smarter (do more work in fewer hours so that you can bill more) or increase your value add (through unique selling points so that you can increase your billing rate).

The CEO knows this. The management team knows it too, like the back of their hand. But do team leads and architects and devs use these criteria to evaluate their decisions? Trying out framework X or rewriting the build system to something new and shiny hardly contributes to increasing the revenue unless you can make a business case that it will help you work smarter in the end. Don't get me wrong, R&D has its place and I'm not saying you shouldn't experiment. But when you do, make it a conscious choice. Make a plan for it and see it for what it is - a business case that might or might not make sense.

Start making better decisions today

For all this to work, you just need two things: a common understanding of what it is that your organization focusing on and use it to evaluate your decisions. So go on and talk to your manager. Find out what is important to your organization. Align your team. And the next time you have a decision to make, look at it from your organization's point of view. Your manager will thank you for it.

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