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Flaws In Organizational Systems To Blame

The Clifton Review 


The Clifton Review is a tri-weekly column that examines the question of the Clifton project along with the evolution of the war between two billionaires. We covered the start of this war with articles describing the battle over easement rights, the mysterious burning of a home, the blocks to rebuilding, and countless questionable court filings.

While the 2018 series salutes fashion mogul Peter Nygård’s Golden Jubilee detailing his rags to riches story, his incredible business success over these past fifty years and an inside look at how he did it, The Clifton Review will also continue to address current affairs as they relate to the good of The Bahamas.


Flaws In Organizational Systems To Blame

By P.J. Malone

With all that it takes to make a business successful, a business leader’s biggest nightmare must be his own staff turning potential customers and clients away. Yet, it likely happens more often than not.

It isn’t usually as blatant as the example of the financial services company previously described, but it happens because of flaws in organizational systems. Without belaboring the point, it happens when organizational systems are misaligned. 

Remember authors Jonathan Trevor and Barry Varcoe who wrote the Harvard Business Review article, “A Simple Way to Test Your Company’s Strategic Alignment”? Their article stated, “There is no universal or one-size-fits-all prescription for a winning business. But corporate leaders today seem to agree that strategic alignment is high on the list.”

Trevor and Varcoe further explained with the following point: 

                      -Strategic alignment, for us, means that all elements of a business — including the market strategy and the way the company itself is organized — are arranged in such a way as to best support the fulfillment of its long-term purpose. 

While a company’s purpose generally doesn’t change, strategies and organizational structures do, which can make chasing “alignment” between strategy and the organization feel like chasing an elusive will-o’-the-wisp.

The challenge for the financial services company discussed in previous articles stemmed from misalignment of its organizational structure and processes: leadership put its core focus on strategy and making money and no focus on assessing organizational systems to ensure its structure and processes were aligned with its strategy. 

To further illustrate this point, here is another example, from this same company, that the organization development practitioner also discovered while conducting her organizational review.

The recruiter described being hard at work one day reviewing resumes and studying candidate after candidate to fill a needed position at the company. It had taken a while, but she finally found a candidate that she thought would be perfect. After additional research, she added him to her short list. The list already had three other names on it but she felt this candidate was the right one.

The recruiter called up the executive who had requested the position be filled to get his availability for potential interview dates. She was amazed by what she was hearing. The executive had filled the position days ago. She reported slamming down the phone wondering for the umpteenth time why she even bothered to work at that company. 

This wasn’t the first time this had happened. It was standard practice for the recruiters in human resources at this large financial services firm to be the last person to know once a position had been filled and they no longer need to look for candidates.

This example is not as clear cut an example of the company losing money, but when you think in terms of time is money, clearly the company is wasting resources.

So how do you avoid such pitfalls? It requires that your goals and strategies be tied into your organizational systems that are required to fulfill your strategies. There are core questions that should be asked and a process created and followed to ensure that alignment happens.

Stay tuned for specific examples of how this can be done as well as an example of how fashion mogul Peter Nygard ensures alignment that, no doubt, contributed to his fifty years of success.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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