Room for more structure in your business?

by Andy on January 4, 2016

When things get tough, robust structures help us get through difficult times. We see it all around us. Organisations that perform under pressure such as airlines and emergency services teams use structures so seamlessly we sometimes don’t even know they’re there.

The reason these organisations have structures is that they choose to have them. They don’t happen by accident. As we have said many times in this blog, most of us aren’t operating in such life-or-death environments, but our tasks can be complex, and the pressures we operate under just as significant. So it’s our choice whether we strive for excellence, and our choice whether we implement more structures to improve the way we do things.

I was inspired to hear this point made so well by surgeon and Reith lecturer Atul Gawande on Desert Island Discs recently. He talks about how simple (and he means really simple) checklists have significantly reduced the number of errors made in surgical theatres, because they  ensure that the obvious isn’t overlooked, and mean that there is clarity over the basics. (If you choose to listen, it’s in the first half of the broadcast).

Getting masters of their profession like surgeons to adopt such a basic tool cannot have been easy, but he has made it happen, and as he says, error rates have fallen faster than they would if the surgeons had doubled their skill levels.

Structures alone won’t fix everything, but as we at Gazing Performance Systems say with our customers, structures  usually require the most attention, and the power of structure can bring the fastest impact on the business.


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