Avoid Conflicts With Operational Governance
If you are in a mood to be proactive, you can actually avoid conflicts with operational governance. Is your business experiencing any of the following problems?
- Groups working toward common goals are in conflict.
- Projects and initiatives bog down around decision making and control.
- Organizational factions are fighting, openly or subversively.
- Conflict is taking focus away from your customers, mission, and vision.
If any of this looks familiar, your business and its people would probably benefit significantly from a dose of operational governance. What is that?
The Need For Operational Governance
In the absence of defined operational governance there tends to be significant conflict, and the working environment becomes quite political – even Machiavellian. Negative influence prevails, the loudest voice wins, meetings result in arguments, secret factions vie for control, and back stabbing is common.
So what is everyone arguing about? Typical sources of conflict include:
- Disagreement over operational direction
- Fragmented control over money, resources, and priorities
- Battles over what to fund – and what not to fund
- Confusion around acceptance of deliverables and work products
Whether the problem is at the highest level of the company (e.g., operational direction and major funding decisions) or within the lowest levels of a business process (e.g., work product review and acceptance authority), defining the rules around decision making in advance can dramatically improve operational performance and help with conflict management.
Transforming Wasted Enterprise Energy
Think of governance in terms of managing the energy of the enterprise. Any company or government agency has a finite amount of energy (mostly in the form of people and money) to accomplish its work. When there is conflict – opposing forces – a tremendous amount of energy is utilized by the conflicted parties to obtain their desired outcomes (e.g., emails and phone calls to build alliances, secret information gathering, meetings and conversations to organize and influence, etc.)
When it is clear in advance how decisions will be made, and by whom, there is a level of congruence that brings efficiency – and even peace – to the decision making. All of the energy that would have been wasted in conflict can now be used to accomplish the work of the enterprise. Add that up across all of the decision points in the enterprise and you’ve unleashed a tremendous amount of positive and productive energy!
There is a gold mine in your business waiting to be tapped.
It is helpful, especially in highly emotional areas of conflict, to employ the use of an experienced outside consultant to facilitate discussions and agreement on how decisions will be made, and by whom. Visit our Operational Governance page to find out more about how we can provide governance consulting to help you improve operational decision making in your business. Or, contact us to discuss your specific needs.
Skills Corner: Tips for Working Smart
Improving Operational Governance
There are many types of operational decisions, and the mechanisms for each should be designed individually to ensure an optimum outcome. However, here are some general tips for improving your operational governance:
Identify Areas for Improvement
Target areas of conflict. Where there is conflict, there are probably governance issues.
People who are responsible for a work element, small or large, should have commensurate control over it, including decision-making control.
Empower and Align
Decide on group vs. individual decision making. Empower individual decision making for people who have commensurate responsibility. But also know where representation and group decision making are essential.
For group decisions, agree on who should be involved and how each representative will have a voice.
For any decision, identify the decision making criteria. This will remove subjectivity and personal bias, and provide appropriate parameters for decision making.