Implementing changes to an established business model can be complex, but sometimes, it’s necessary. Here are some helpful tips for success.
- How to identify an established operational business model
- Common challenges that chiefs of staff face when processes are already established
- How to improve the existing operational model
When a chief of staff enters an organization, they usually inherit its existing operational business model. This includes its systems, processes, structure, technology, and all activities the organization runs to translate its strategy into results.
Its existing model might not maximize efficiency, though, making it necessary to implement changes. In these scenarios, following some best practices can ensure success.
Here’s how chiefs of staff can improve an established operational business model.
Identify the operational model
Understanding the existing operating model is the first step to improving it. This means identifying the business’s strategy, systems, processes, organizational structure, technology, and team roles. These areas serve as building blocks for cohesion and identification of areas that need improvement.
Here are steps to follow to identify an existing operational model:
- Start by understanding the organization’s value proposition and the roadmap being used to deliver it.
- Get familiar with processes and workflows to understand how and why things happen.
- Explore the organizational structure to determine whether a slight adjustment or a complete shift is needed.
- Consider the technology the organization is using to translate its strategy into results, and whether there are better alternatives.
- Reflect on the key roles of different teams, including how they serve the operational goals.
Exploring your organization from different angles will provide a clear picture of the strengths and weaknesses of its existing operating model. The existing model will fall into one of four categories depending on process standardization and integration. These are:
Coordination operating model
This model comprises autonomous business units with high levels of integration. These units generally have higher control over business process design and shared access to data. However, there’s a low level of standardization.
Unification operating model
This model is based on highly standardized and integrated processes. Business units have distinct operations but similar and shareable processes and data. These processes are centrally managed, meaning business units have less autonomy in how they do things.
Diversification operating model
This model usually exists in organizations with very few shared suppliers, customers, and processes. Business units are independent and operationally unique, with minimal integration and standardization.
Replication operating model
This model provides a balanced blend of autonomy and standardization, where business units have high control over their operations but must follow standardized processes.
Understanding the existing operating model can help you determine whether it’s the best way to achieve your organization’s bottom line. Sometimes, you’ll find it necessary to implement changes. This might not be easy, and you might receive some pushback from employees or the management team.
Challenges for chiefs of staff when processes are already established
One of the biggest challenges of implementing changes is getting buy-in from stakeholders. This is especially true if the existing processes have been established for a long time and stakeholders are comfortable.
The best way to avoid this obstacle is to get buy-in early on. That means interviewing stakeholders during the initial stage to discover their concerns, and factoring them into the operating model. The interview process should be inclusive and represent the concerns and desires of every team in the company. Involving all stakeholders will help you create a model that people love, leading to enthusiastic adoption.
Another significant challenge is the complexity of implementing a new model. While getting early buy-in helps, it can be difficult for your team to adapt to new processes, structures, or technologies. However, consistent training and effort can help them navigate the new landscape.
After considering everything mentioned, the next logical step is discovering the best ways to improve the model.
Tips for improving an existing operational model
Here are some things a chief of staff can do to improve an existing operational business model:
Begin with the minimum viable process
Testing the viability of an operational business model is essential before investing all your resources in it. This means having a candid conversation with all stakeholders to learn their needs, then testing your ideas based on that feedback. The goal is not creating a highly polished deck, but rather a minimum viable process that still delivers on your organization’s value proposition. Once you feel confident in that, you can build on it.
Align the organizational structure with the new business strategy
Examining a company’s organizational structure can provide useful insights into which adjustments are necessary to maximize efficiency. For example, you might discover that a functional reporting structure works better than a matrix structure or that cross-collaboration yields better results than having teams work in silos. Regardless of the situation, ensure that the new structure aligns with the new business strategy.
Talent mapping and employee development
You should ensure employees’ capabilities aren’t being underutilized when looking for ways to improve an operating model. This means identifying high-performing employees and matching them with high-impact roles.
If there aren’t any positions that maximize their skills, let the employees know you appreciate their talent and give them new goals to work toward. Additionally, you can provide individualized support to ensure all employees reach peak performance while also providing leadership development training to those executing the operating model.
Recognizing employees and providing growth opportunities will make them feel valued, improve the organization’s overall productivity, and help attract and retain top talent over time.
Build trust and communication to improve transparency
Building trust within an organization is fundamental for success. Vulnerability and candidness are some of the ways to build trust. Fostering an environment where people can ask direct and honest questions can help you lead authentically and maximize an organization’s effectiveness.
You should also ensure that ambiguity doesn’t impede communication by creating a shared language across your organization. This keeps everyone informed, leading to more efficient collaboration and unity.
Use the right technology
The right technology can drastically improve employees’ productivity. It’s likely that there is already some technology that’s implemented in the organization’s current ecosystem. However, you should examine its efficacy in streamlining workflows and research alternatives that can help employees work better.
Keep the new business model alive through consistent meetings
Create a meeting schedule for stakeholders to stay in sync as the company and strategy evolve. Clearly define the objective, frequency, and participants for each meeting. Verify that those who couldn’t attend or aren’t required in the meetings are also up to speed.
Do you need help improving your company’s operational business model?
These tips will help make your launch a success. However, this list isn’t exhaustive and operating models are dynamic. You’ll need to review your operational business model periodically and check for areas of improvement.
If you would like help with improving an established operational business model by partnering with visionary, agile chiefs of staff, we’re here for you. Contact Chiefly Consultants today to learn more.