Is your business gearbox in perfect synch?

Synchronizing all departments for optimal performance


In the power train of your company, every department is a gear. I’m not going to get into which department is the “bull Gear” or which gear delivers the most speed or torque. Ask any motorhead, and they’ll tell you it’s all about balancing both speed and torque so that your car runs at optimal power all the time. If the departments are the gears, then the gearbox is the collection of procedures that govern all corporate interactions, and if you want to run at optimal power and speed, they all better move together in perfect synch.


If you audit any department in isolation, and inspect all of its processes, procedures and work-flows you may find no fault whatsoever in the way it was designed to, and runs. “Zero faults” however, does not mean optimal performance. If departments are not harmonized or synchronized you can have no individual departmental faults, but still experience horrible business performance, akin to slipping gears when you incorrectly manually shift (and yes, you did hear the grinding noise in your head).

Even the most sophisticated businesses evaluate department performance in some form of isolation. Only a few of the most sophisticated businesses measure departmental KPIs that reveal impact on adjacent departmental teams. Fewer so use KPIs that show ramifications of actions two or three departments downstream in the work-flow.

Take your sales / BD team for instance. You can have your team running at full speed, prospecting and hitting the phones like their jobs depend on it (note – it does). Imagine them ever so frequently coming to a full stop, burdened to complete administrative functions that other departments should do. You are burning cycles and time that you can’t get back, even when you are 100% compliant with your processes.

Consider operations, and imagine a production line that is trained and ready to go, but is waiting for materials to be delivered that tied to a one-line item order processed over a five-day period used to correct every passive voice statement in the PO.

Companies need to look for ways to streamline processes, not just in the echo chamber of a single department, but within the context of all departments working together.

Take a moment and review the processes, procedures and actions of your organization every year, and do so in the context of how do they all can be modified to interact as a well-timed gearbox. Don’t be afraid to adjust ever so slightly any one gear to speed up, or slow down. Your optimal business performance is not marked by the RPM’s of the fastest gear, but by how much power is delivered and how beautifully the engine roars when all gears are in perfect synch.

And before any motorhead talks about “regenerative power” when downshifting; no – there is no parallel in my context. If your gears are not in perfect synch, you are wasting money, time and resources in some way.

Evaluate your business’ operational procedures today. What better opportunity than in this COVID19 pit stop?

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