Breakthrough Strategies: Your economic value
In complex organizations based on the division of labor the involved players are often not conscious about the influence of their work on other players and the overall system. Thus, a shared sense of necessity for changes cannot arise. Consequently, problematic routines are continued – and in the worst case, they even intensify. This can develop into a threatening situation for the company and the respective organizational unit, bearing in mind the present environmental dynamics and requirements placed upon the company.
In our opinion, the intervention of the breakthrough strategy is such a processing form. Our experience shows that bringing together the right people, giving them scope of decision-making and personal room for maneuver, ensuring targeted irritation and combining different views and experiences in a professional manner leads to mutually supported solutions for further development. These solutions are actively implemented and supported by the involved key players.
The focus on the consistent implementation of recognized needs for change in a reasonable time frame combined with a continuous analysis of gathered findings present an appropriate way to get tangible changes in companies. In this sense, breakthrough strategies are an effective intervention to break the self-reference of organizations and to implement fundamental changes in routines.
What does a breakthrough entail?
Once the decisive needs for development are recognized and agreed upon in the organization, the question has to be answered how these potentials can be leveraged and how to effectively and sustainably implement the related changes.
At this point, often the traditional project management comes into play in organizations: First of all, thorough analyses, discussions, considerations and plans are made until finally there is an agreement on the procedure and on an ambitious aim. This is usually followed by a comprehensive planning of measures, division into different project phases and the establishment of a project structure. Only then implementation takes place. Often, new priorities are set during the implementation phase that redirect the energy, and thus endanger the consistent processing of the action plan.
Behind the thorough planning there is usually the organizational paradigm that clarification is first required about where to go (generally in 2-3 years) before the implementation can be started.
However, this procedure has two main disadvantages that are reflected in the often insufficient implementation:
- Frameworks are changing faster than ever before – the future is and remains uncertain – what is correct and reasonable today may be regarded as not conducive tomorrow
- The organization does not develop the ability to implement and reflect – no experiences are made concerning the implementation – the organization does not learn how to analyze and reflect measures
The alternative to the traditional project management are the so-called breakthrough strategies (also Kaizen events). They arose from the analysis of successfully managed company crises. Serious crises are mastered successfully when mutually supported and necessary steps are taken immediately and lead to the desired result.
Some factors ensure that crises lead to a dramatically increased organizational performance – Schaffner describes them as energy factors:
- Sense of urgency
- Success is close and clear
- People are working together – a new “esprit”
- Proud of performance/achievements
- Fear of failure
- Exciting, innovative, like a game
- People experiment and act unbureaucratically
Breakthrough strategies break, so to speak, the prevailing logic of the organization. Some of the change projects are not possible due to the existing patterns in which the organization works. The doubts that something new cannot function right from the start or the fear of changes often prevent the implementation of measures, also when they have already been adopted. A breakthrough event provides mobility for a short period of time to develop and to directly implement new solutions in the absence of the otherwise prevailing obstacles. Hereafter, the “new reality” has already been created – it does not need to be implemented but only defended.
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