Establishing Best Practices Early: Key to Streamlined Organisational Growth

In the expansive world of business, there’s a tendency for large, mature organizations to become bogged down by complexity and cost as they evolve.

This complexity, often a product of unchecked practices and an absence of early-stage governance, invariably drains both resources and efficiency. An observer with significant experience in supporting such mature entities often ponders the potential transformation of smaller organizations, especially during their nascent stages. They dream, or perhaps more passionately, fantasise, about the opportunity to guide these budding enterprises, ensuring they incorporate best practices right from the beginning. Doing so not only promotes growth but also establishes essential guardrails against the infiltration of unnecessary complexities later.

Here are three vital guardrails, drawn from years of observation, which can set a fledgling organization on the path of streamlined growth:

  1. Re-evaluating Reporting Relationships

The foundation of any organization lies in its reporting structure. It’s crucial to avoid two specific scenarios that often become counterproductive:

  • 1:1 Reporting Relationships: When a manager has only one direct report, there’s a propensity for role overlaps. Such managers frequently find themselves in endless meetings, resulting in diminished productivity and, more critically, a blurred line of responsibility.
  • 0:1 Reporting Relationships: On the flip side, managers with no direct reports often signal a misalignment in the organizational hierarchy. Such situations can lead to inflated role titles, which can inadvertently reduce the span of control, leading to delayed decision-making.

By steering clear of these pitfalls, organizations can maintain clarity in roles and responsibilities, enhancing overall efficiency.

  1. Emphasising Clear Governance Standards

Governance is the backbone of any successful organization. But without clarity and standardization, it’s akin to steering a ship without a compass. The emphasis should be on:

  • Purpose-driven Meetings: Every meeting should have a transparent objective. This ensures that time, one of the most precious resources, is utilised effectively and minimises the scope for ambiguity.
  • Presence of Decision Makers: It’s essential that the person or persons responsible for making decisions be present during relevant meetings. This eliminates the back-and-forth that typically follows meetings in their absence, expediting the decision-making process.

Tiered Governance Structure: An established hierarchy or tiered structure offers a clear path for escalation, ensuring that concerns or decisions reach the appropriate ears without unnecessary detours.

  1. Prioritising the Right Tools

Just as a craftsman is only as good as his tools, an organization’s efficiency can be significantly impacted by the tools it employs. One classic example is the use of Excel. While it might initially appear to be a cost-effective solution, it can quickly morph into an organizational nightmare.

  • Reproduction of Excel Files: Over time, Excel files tend to multiply exponentially across an organization. This proliferation leads to multiple versions of the same file, often leading to confusion, redundancy, and inefficiency.
  • Data Storage Issues: With no centralized system, these files often end up scattered across individual hard drives, making data retrieval a Herculean task.

By investing in the right tools from the outset, organizations can significantly reduce such issues, ensuring a smoother workflow and greater productivity.

In Conclusion

For smaller organizations at the threshold of their growth journey, the allure of shortcuts or quick-fix solutions might seem enticing. But the sagacious advice from those who’ve navigated the choppy waters of large organizational complexities is clear: establish best practices early. Embedding these guardrails at the beginning ensures a smoother, more efficient path to growth, keeping avoidable challenges at bay. After all, as the age-old adage goes, “Well begun is half done.”