“Horizontals”

  • Sumo

Things I see/discuss everywhere

These days mature Staff Functions – Operations, Marketing, Information Services or I.T., Facilities,  Strategy Planning, etc.,  are now much more interactive with, & impact broadly, both horizontally & vertically, all line functions in most organizations. Here are 15 trends or processes, and 5 responses that are a framework of focus everywhere I am.

 1.  Overall Technical Architecture – OTA is a long standing I.T. quest. Still elusive

2.  Project Management Office – [PMO] – A more organized discipline/process now. A few are corporate wide. All should be.

3.  Enterprise Wide System(s) – Primarily I.T. driven. But often owned or led by a senior line executive. Huge/broad impact during and most especially after implementation. Sometimes resented and not really embraced enough, by line organizations that are crucial. Often slow to produce expected results. The technical part is the easiest. “Gets you up to zero” is my favorite quote.!

4.  Business Process Redesign – Usually, now, a part of #3. Same comments

       #5 to 8 below are hardly well in hand anywhere, not seen as just I.T.’s prerogative, especially      again by professionals in other functions, nor by the younger generations of professionals throughout the organization.
        Plus “Digital Detoxification” [i.e., overload] is increasingly a topic of real productivity concern.
Full understanding of the un – stoppable, but false impression of anyone’s positive multiprocessing ability, is a crucial new management and leadership initiative everywhere

5.   Mobility – handhelds everywhere. Often get in the way

6.  APP based development by anyone. Standards, network architechural requirements, etc., are easy to ignore

7.  Cloud Residence of possibly sensitive data. Safer now but a worry

8.  Multiple Function Devices (BYO). See# 5 above

These next 6 points are not effectively owned anywhere, consistently enough, in my opinion, for the fast approaching future in most industries or profession.

9.  Security – In its fullest sense, it’s under- attended to. Sometimes has been operations, facilities or I.T. located, occasionally grouped in with Disaster Recovery. Clearly a corporate wide responsibility with growing identity theft, corporate address or account #’s mis-use, and customer concerns re. privacy.

10.  Leadership Development – needed urgently in all staff groups, then in concert, corporately! My Leadership Learning Forum work has been originally primarily with I.T. groups who wanted this as a priority, largely because of all 15 of these trends integrating them in some surprising ways, internally and externally throughout the whole organization. That integration has spread. Collaboration across functional lines is an imperative, for many,well beyond leadership development

11.  Organizational Culture and Change – Human Resource functions have a large part of the responsibility for this, but often do not have the working relationships, or “line’ credibility to help Executive management get it done. Sometimes # 2, 3 and/or 4, above, are used to attempt this change

12.  Ownership & accountability expectations – very uneven approaches everywhere!

13.  Internal Consulting – A characteristic capacity of high performing staff organizations
Always has been!

14.  Analytics – Actually been around for some time [many of these have] but perhaps not with the full understanding of the importance now, with global competitiveness, to do this fully! And to take the lead!!

15.  Re-invention – Another old topic but now being focused on everywhere I am. Has many labels. And meanings, but basically one of re-thinking almost all beliefs, assumptions, and approaches. Often difficult. Easy to rationalize around

     So all fifteen current focus points or processes could/should be tightly integrating in some companies, initially with occasionally abit of confusing, sometimes overwhelming impact. Their “horizontal” and “Vertical” form, seemingly, and potentially in impact, cutting across multiple functions or locations, and through layers, challenges traditional management and leadership capacities. The result is that, for some staff groups, they are now, often, way beyond their traditional role, or comfort zone of performance. And other units may “blame”, critique, or just not be fully collaborative, perhaps with some justification, unless a lot of the below A to F happens!! Arguments about location of responsibility have been strong for some time. Many professionals, often younger, are either proficient or @ least quite familiar with the principles & techniques involved. So the trend or process may not be clearly, or effectively, perhaps not “acceptably owned” yet, by any traditional function.

Here are some FREQUENT  positive responses:

A. – There is a strong, continual focus on Relationship Building especially in the early stages, i.e., before a problem or a request. Anticipation is highly prized today. Early is key

B. – Higher and realistic levels of all potential Customer or Marketplace Connections. Awareness by, and experience in, by all staff!

C. – New soft or “one – off” measurements, in addition to the easy to collect traditional metrics that absorb some I.T. functions. Or are displayed on many current dashboards. These soft or one- off measurements are usually not traditional “metrics”, but are likely more pictorial or tonal in quality, and more insightful!! Kind of like the difference between an essay type exam and a true/false exam. Emotions are not easy to display but are crucial to understand & respond to. Especially the negative ones sometimes provoked by the above trends and resulting feelings about some I.T. projects, or leaders.

D. – “How much is enough” is an ever present executive balance point, re. standards, methodologies, process vs. result, useful documentation, etc. etc. What can in fact be done with real stretch, but not burn-out nor short fall?

E. – Teamness. Not necessarily teams. Attitude perhaps more than identified groupings, e.g., thoughtful communication [i.e., who could benefit from knowing], more than a meeting of those involved

Because everyone is in the same competitive global market place, for talent, for capital, & for customers, despite their historical borders, or self-images, this set of responses is worth continual brainstorming by all staff leadership, to creatively identify ways to capitalize effectively on the 15 imperatives above, in their organization.
 

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