Going it alone

External and internal consultants need each other.

Developing performance improvement systems is almost always part of the broader aim of creating an environment that lends itself to continuous performance improvement. This can sometimes be a very complex issue. A part of any solution will be the interrelationships between managers, supervisors and the workforce, systems processes and procedures, the satisfaction of critical training needs, and the development of a total team approach to performance improvement.

The ambitions contained within these aims and the wide scope of a typical performance improvement project are only two of the many reasons for using an external consultant. Their role is not to run courses or perform other activities that internal people could do, but rather to make the overall project work.

First we shape our structure, then our structures shape us.


You better be lean before you play these games. Jack Welch

First, we shape our structure, then our structures shape us, said Winston Churchill.

The purpose of organization structure is to provide a framework for achieving the predetermined long-term goals or strategy of the organization.

Many organizations are structured in a way that no longer supports the business strategy. The structure often does not accommodate opportunities or deal with threats arising from the internal or external environment, nor does it adequately provide for the achievement of the organization’s outputs and targets. There is no doubt that organization structure affects the levels of performance that an organization can achieve in pursuit of its strategy.

Rewarding Performance

There is no doubt that systems for rewarding performance can be a very powerful motivating tool to improve productivity, quality and overall teamwork.  Yet most reward systems are geared around a few individual managers rather than encouraging a philosophy of one team, one direction and improvement of the overall system.  As global competition intensifies, a real opportunity for competitive advantage exists through the encouragement and development of the capabilities of all employees in the service of the organization.

Organizations which establish a reward system for employees that is based on productivity goals will increase employee commitment because such schemes foster responsibility.  Employees will want to own tasks that are recognised and appreciated by the organization.

"order leads to more order, disorder leads to chaos"

One of the major reasons why strategies in organizations fail is because they are not in accordance with general systems theory.

If we were to study the laws of nature, we would see that everything that endures is systematic.  Everything that is disorderly or ad hoc, on the other hand, dies.  In other words, order leads to more order, while disorder leads to chaos.  So an organization, a department, a new system that is purposeful, organized and systematic will succeed; one that is disorganized and ad hoc will not.

A system is a set of interrelated and interdependent parts which forms a whole.  Societies are systems, as are cars, plants, the human body, organizations and business plans.