Sunday, September 9, 2012

Organisations as social systems

When I retired from my company , where I worked 37 years and the last 15 years as  business leader of the European Branch, I received from my employees and workers the most magnificent gift I could dream off: 150 people wrote their opinions about me.
Reading them , the tears were flowing because they were nothing else than congratulations,words of thanks and putting me as an example of their ideal boss: a people manager.

And so it is , managing and leading a company is leading people.....Leading the company as a social system.It's not easily, because still today company's are seen as dynamic organism, but where the dynamic is done by machines , rules, procedures and policies.

Because of internally and externally pressures, corporate leaders became aware of the need to take into account the concerns , interests and objectives of :
- first the people directly part of the system: workers, employees, customers, suppliers, subcontractors
- second the larger systems that contain them:society, legal systems, family's...
- third ,the purposes of the  different systems

For me , all members of the whole system were my customers which I respected by listening to them, sharing my experience , helping them to give solutions , helping by giving the resources for development. The corporate "shareholder", was fast replaced in my mind by the "Stakeholder"

We are living in a complex world, with a overflow of communication, fast changes and globalisation in all aspects. I want to give you some critical points, I've used to manage my organisation. I think there are also the critical skills of each businessleader today:

1.Be aware that most employees today can do their jobs better than their bosses can . therefore the traditional notion about superfusion is old fashioned . The important thing is to create working conditions under which the subordinates will function well, feeling respect with a culture of trust.

2.You have the obligation , to enable your people to do better tomorrow, than the best they can do today.Therefore a "Thank you" is more important than a salaryincrease to motivate.Be open for experiences and learning from failure.

3.In developping a quality system, we just wrote procedures on the interactions between departments and people .Managing relations between people and deprtments will give the maximum contribution for the whole.

4.I focused more on stakeholder satisfaction (as well internally as externally), than on performanceindicators of specific actions .They are also important , but a balance has to excist.

5.Decision has to be made at different levels , so that the organisation can change very rapidly and effectively.

6.Finally, this is for me the most important one . Because I've got the freedom to developped myself , I've seen the big benefits of it . Therefore personal mastery has to be encouraged, because the organisation has to be capable of rapid learning and adaption. Learning effectively from others, will happen when a culture of constructive diaolgue is created

There is a proverb who say's : "a boss can only be good , if  his subordinates are good"
I can only confirm this !!

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