The Nine Sides Of Robust Organisations

Richard Shrapnel's 'The Nine Sides To Robust Organisations'.

As a business leader, constantly crafting an organisation that can thrive in the most competitive environments is a prime task. However, in shaping your organisation, you must ensure that you are building the traits that will endure, compound and enable competitiveness.


Active Knowledge Question:

If you were to list the traits that you seek to build in your organisation to enable it to succeed beyond all expectations, what would they be?


A Robust Organisation

Organisations take shape from the moment their founder conceives them and are moulded from that moment on until they longer exist.

It is an evolutionary process with the organisation responding and changing as it engages with the competitive environment in which it is interacting.

It can stagnate, grow or die depending on how robust it is and its ability to thrive through the worst, the best and the most stagnant of times in its marketplace.

As a leader, one of your prime tasks is to reinforce and strength your organisation so it can take on and thrive through all times. To achieve this result there are traits that will strengthen the robustness of your organisation and on which you should focus.


The Nine Sides

Here is a list of nine traits that I have adapted to suit the world of business and which I believe provide a strong foundation in what a robust organisation would exhibit.

  1. Growth Is The Norm And Everyone’s Responsibility

Growth is essential to the health of the organisation and seen as an everyday occurrence. It is what is expected, and importantly it is what everyone is focused on as a prime outcome of their daily activity no matter what they do.

Growth is reflected in impacting more lives; meeting customer needs if you prefer. Increasing sales is a simple measure of the outcome of growth and evidences a single result.  The compounding of the catalyst that generates those sales is a stronger indicator of growth.

Moreover, there is a world of difference between growth being the norm, and growth being seen as the responsibility of a sales team or something that the CEO has to ‘pound the desk on’ every few months to create.

‘Growth is the norm’ expresses the belief that the organisation exists to grow.

  1. Evangelism Is A Part Of Who Everyone Is

There is a belief in what the organisation does for the community whose needs it seeks to fulfil. A belief that it is of value, serves a real purpose, fulfils a meaningful need, and which it does better than anyone else.

As an individual, if you do not believe in what the organisation does, then you should not be working there. The evangelism is reflected in the pride in which everyone who works within and with the organisation feels, and exhibits in being part of that organisation.

They are proud to work there, believe in its purpose and the needs they fulfil, and tell everyone about it every chance they get.

  1. Diversity – Welcome, Accepted and Wanted

Everyone is welcome and diversity is accepted and wanted. It is the world we live in and reflects the communities in which the organisation acts. In diversity lays strength but only if such diversity is built upon a single foundation which is the common purpose for which that organisation exists.

Diversity necessitates acceptance of varying cultures, thoughts and lifestyles. And is not evidenced by only one of these traits, for example, cultural diversity, but by all of them.

Tolerance and an openness to others is a requirement for true diversity to exist.

  1. There Is No Perfection

We are all human, and no one is perfect. Understanding, acceptance and failure are a part of life and essential for growth.

While everyone strives to do their best every day, there will be times in which someone stumbles, missteps or whose project has not achieved what was hoped. We learn from these ‘failings’ and continue forward.

  1. Purpose and Motive Are Primary

Purpose and motive are pivotal to success and the robustness of an organisation.

The organisation was founded and exists for a purpose which lays in meeting a ‘rightful’ need within the community. Profit is not a motive but an outcome of competing well to meet the needs of that community. This founding purpose and motive provide the cornerstone upon which the organisation is built and thrives.

Purpose provides a window to future customer need and the path for endless growth. Motive secures this window. If purpose and/or motive pivot to an alternate direction, for example, profiteering, then robustness will be significantly weakened.

  1. Teamwork Is The Method

Teamwork is the method through which everything is undertaken, and everyone has a valuable place and role within the organisation.

Knowledge and information are shared openly to support everyone in fulfilling their role. Knowledge is not power and not restricted.

Everyone respects and supports everyone else in their roles.

  1. Character and Serving Is A Requirement

The organisation is not a hierarchy where position is important. Character outweighs qualifications and experience at all times. Everyone’s role is to serve the needs for which the organisation exists and not to serve their individual needs. There is no place for self-interest at any level of the organisation.

  1. Change Is The Only Constant

Better every day is the mantra as change is always occurring and the organisation is often the agent of that change. There is no resistance to change, and it is seen as necessary for and a natural agent of growth.

Through this belief, a continual growth in the customer value delivered is enabled as everyone is always seeking a better way of doing everything.

  1. There Are No Limits

The impossible is always possible through the efforts of even a single person. The sense of what the organisation can achieve is not capped through expectation. A faith exists within the organisation that it can accomplish anything if it sets its ‘mind’ to it and that every person is capable of extraordinary achievements.

Again, through this belief, every individual is empowered to strive beyond what anyone would have ever expected.


The Competitive Engine

These traits allow an organisation to develop a robustness whereby it can, will and does embrace challenges, can overcome them and step through them to continue to grow its impact within its chosen market.

It is the competitive engine, which exists in every business, that creates the conditions under which these traits will be seeded and flourish.

If you were to take these traits and score your organisation out of 10 for each trait, how robust would your business be? Consider these traits and which areas you need to strengthen in your business and turn to your competitive engine to activate them.

An entirely new level of performance.

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All the best in the success of your business,

Richard Shrapnel