Norvell and Associates: Tips on Creating a Viable Organization

The corporation, or any organization for that matter, has come of age as the representation of the artificial or virtual personality invented by humans to achieve certain goals which the solitary individual alone cannot hope to accomplish. Ironically and due to the unique structure of most organizations, it is through the abilities of a singular leader – say, the president of a nation or the leader of the band – that the organization functions as if it were one person. And we refer to that as leadership, which without its dynamic energy electrifying the whole group, the organization cannot function effectively.

Yet, the leader is patently like the head which tops off the body that contains almost all the organs needed to allow the entire body to work as one organic living system. The organization, as the juridical personality it has come to be in modern times, owes its existence to the many small but important roles taken by people who compose the organization. If we come to think of it, even the highest officer of an organization (as exemplified by the most unassuming of humblest of leaders), only has a humanly small task to do, yet made large by the perception of many or by the exaggerated importance given to the position and not to the task.

In essence, tasks are neither small nor big. The diligent worker is deemed an indispensable component of the organization. For he or she who genuinely works, benefits the whole organization and not any single person, whether a supervisor or the president of the company.

Here are some tips to make an organization a viable and dynamic and thriving personality that others would want to be a part of or to deal with in whatever capacity, as customer, partner, benefactor or beneficiary:

Satisfying Customer Needs

Any company, whether profit-oriented or not, will somehow have to interact or deal with the public at-large or with a particular market sector or group of customers. For the car manufacturer that would include not just the end-user but other indirect customers or entities that have interest on the use of cars, such as government policy-makers and even suppliers of automotive paint or car radios.

Excellent, direct and broad interaction with customers is the best strategy an organization can adopt to maintain its viability. This is further founded on the idea that the organization must fulfill its purpose of completely understanding the needs of customers. Often, businesses fail because they make certain assumptions not founded on meticulous research of the market it has targeted. Small shops or fashionable products tend to be self-styled concerns revolving around an entrepreneur's choice of design, function and other features. Hence, Nike shoes started out as the new alternative to sneakers or tennis shoes until it became a caterer of every customer need you can imagine, from gym shoes to hiker's boots to golf clubs to backpacks.

Some organizations, admittedly, may not actually shift into other products or services (such as Coca Cola or Volkswagen); but they keep in pace with the growing needs of people. Coke Zero came out in response to the need to reduce sugar or calorie intake. The new Volkswagen design and features grew out of the user's need to upgrade their favorite car's ability to provide greater comfort, speed and visual appeal.

Developing Human Resource Skills and Job Satisfaction

While satisfying customers is an important goal of the organization, providing an environment conducive to growth and personal accomplishment for employees is equally important. One feeds the other in terms of material and psychological benefits in the long run. When the organization considers the future of its employees through training programs and a genuine reward system, it invests in a long-term relationship that will benefit the whole organization.

Beyond that, the truly dynamic organization allows its employees the freedom to make decisions without fear or hesitation, as well as to innovate in ways that will enliven and strengthen the organization's capability to compete and to withstand internal and external problems. The old concept of the black-and-white dressed, robot-like employees working in a factory production line only exists in the past. When machines can do the tedious repetitive tasks, people are freed to do what they do best which is to make decisions that bring greater value to the organization. Yes, the production line still literally exists; however, people can now have the choice to work in an environment where they can gain satisfaction through greater company benefits and opportunities for career development.

Call-center agents may find their jobs tiring and tedious; but they find satisfaction in their ability to serve the direct needs of people and to interact in ways that bring them a greater sense of accomplishment from their job.

Building a Strong Corporate Culture

We cannot avoid dealing with the corporate ecology as it is important, if not equally important, as the natural ecology we live in. Inasmuch as the organization is an artificial entity living in a natural environment, it remains subject to the laws and rules of the greater external world. In building, therefore, a viable culture, an organization must consider principles that govern all living organisms. Not doing so will result in further alienation and artificiality which now prevails in many human systems.

The Japanese had it well thought of for many decades and even until now. Their cultural heritage provided a way of seeing and operating business as not apart from their intrinsic life and way of thinking. Whether they saw business as a way to fulfill the samurai's life or to attain artistic balance and harmony, it was all motivated by their overall idea of achieving excellence and purpose based on established principles they had inherited from generations of successful ancestors. In a sense, they saw corporate life as a mere extension of their cultural heritage of seeking balance and finding the productive path between danger and complacency. It does not mean that the Japanese do not play by the rules of the real world as well, when necessary. They do when they have to; but back home, they play by their own rules and keep their own culture intact.

The western industrial nations followed a divergent path which tended to control and dominate and to even marginalize other cultures. Strength can come in various modes, depending on how one defines strength. The organization can see itself as weak in relation to others in terms of only one measurement: sales or overall productivity. But being an organization that can sustain its operations and capable of satisfying its people's needs as well as its customers' needs in its unique ways can be seen as strength as well. As in sports, strength and ability are not measured by victory alone but by one's ability to survive the trials and the obstacles encountered.

The road of excellence and enduring success begins with establishing the right organizational culture, not merely in aiming for and attaining gains. The bottom-line is a good measure to keep; but the overall health status of the organization is the much better goal to maintain at all times.

Norvell and Associates adheres to these essential steps to establishing a viable organization which can be applied to the large and the small company. People can function better more efficiently and gain greater sense of well-being when they can anchor themselves within an environment that provides sense of belongingness or acceptance as well as psychological rewards, not just material benefits.

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