By Jesus P. Estanislao
Any enterprise transformation road map would include several strategic priorities that address the many challenges any enterprise faces with its core processes: these need to be more streamlined and made much more efficient, indeed brought to a completely newer, higher level, if possible in line with global high standards. Addressing these priorities related to the enterprise’s internal core process would require close and tight coordination, and the most effective teamwork involving several of the enterprise’s small, working teams.
This brings up a key governance discipline, much needed for the sustainability of the enterprise’s governance and transformation program. The discipline calls for good, effective teamwork between at least a few of the small, working teams within the enterprise. This is as critical as the imperative of each working team being tightly connected with one of the strategic priorities in the enterprise transformation road map.
Teamwork between several small, working teams within the enterprise should address first and foremost the need for the enterprise to significantly improve its internal core process from A to Z. Core process is at the heart of any enterprise’s operations, i.e. how the different phases of the operational system jibe and work seamlessly with one another. Kinks are ironed out; gaps are filled; waste is cut almost down to nil; waiting times are cut; and unnecessary delays are avoided; therefore, over-all efficiency is brought to the highest level possible. All these would require the operating system to run in tip-top shape and to be maintained in such top-top form at all times, also keeping an open eye on new technology and shifts in production and operational methods. Obviously, these requirements would be too big to meet for any one small, working team. They demand harmony, synchronization, and coordination between many such teams.
- This is where the suite of at least a few closely inter-related strategic priorities in the enterprise’s transformation road map comes into the picture. Since small working teams are connected with only one strategic priority, there may well be an added imperative for several of these small working teams to be in close working relationship with other teams that are connected with, and committed to, other closely inter-related strategic priorities within the suite. The priorities belonging to the same suite may be bunched together under one strategic theme: and all small working teams serving one strategic priority within that suite or strategic theme can be strongly encouraged and made to work in more direct and much closer relationship and deeper solidarity with each other. They can and ought to be bunched together as one bigger strategic theme team.
- The focus of each strategic theme team is much wider; it can cover a wide swathe of the enterprise’s entire operational core process. Where this swathe cannot cover the entire core process, a few of these strategic theme teams may have to be formed and made to work so as to cover the whole process. t
- Care needs to be taken that within this formal structure to address the enterprise’s core process priorities, there should be some room left for special action teams that would focus on “skink works”. These are the truly out-of-the-box projects that demand high creativity and imagination; in many instances, they may demand an extraordinary level of entrepreneurship and daring to address unusual challenges with unusual approaches and extraordinary vigor. At least, a small window and some room should be opened and reserved for this type of small team initiatives in any enterprise that keeps an open eye on new technology and other scientific advances, which may pose unusual opportunities for, and threats to, the enterprise.
Small working teams need to remain rooted in their core responsibility to become the ultimate performance delivery unit of the enterprise. However, they should always remain intrinsically connected with the broader and wider demands of the enterprise’s strategy for moving forward and transforming itself. It is for this reason that each working team should always stand ready (and be willing) to work with other small teams for the bigger requirements of the enterprise.