Today’s models while disrupting status quo. As organizations

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Today’s businesses operate in a constantly changing environment where organizations are constantly developing novel business models while disrupting status quo. As organizations continue to change swiftly, they need leaders who can not only have a unique vision, but also the skills to execute rapidly and differentiate from the competition. In this paper, we will evaluate the principles of organizational behavior, leadership principles, and team building. Leadership is one of the fundamental factors that determine the success of an organization since without effective leadership resources lie dormant or are under-utilized and eventually leads to the decline of the organization. In this paper, we will provide a blueprint to educate leaders by fostering aptitudes and skills necessary to be successful in any organization.The origins of evidence-based management stem from evidence-based medicine, a coin termed by Dr. David Sackett at McMaster University in Ontario, Canada in the 1990s. This new method of diagnosis which focused on applying research that is soundly conducted and clinically relevant (Pfeffer, 2006) was a significant transformation from status quo, which primarily leaned on tribal knowledge learned at medical school. Further, a study conducted by executive search firm Christian & Timbers revealed that an astonishing 45% of corporate executives relied on intuition and instinct rather than data to run their daily operations (Bonabeau, 2014)Like doctors, managers can also excel in their functions if they are using the best available logic and evidence to make decisions. Managers need to constantly update their hypotheses, assumptions, and priorities to ensure that they stay ahead of the competition. Further, managers need to apply novel frameworks and rulesets based on the situation. Most managers have stayed in the company or the role for several years, and have probably made great strides initially, but have faltered because they have continued to use the hypotheses and the same assumptions in today’s fast-changing business environment. Because two companies can be dramatically different in size, target different markets, and use different distribution channels, managers need to look at new evidence and perform novel quantitative and qualitative analysis to make the correct decisions for the organization. Intuition and experience are certainly important in decision making, but there is no substitute for disciplined analyses using both quantitative and qualitative methods. As business situations become more complex and there is no longer a clear causality between attributes the riskier it becomes to apply intuition and experience to decision making.For a start, management decisions should be a combination of evidence, which is collected in the form of facts, information, and data supporting a hypothesis. With evidence-based management, managers can critically analyze the validity of the evidence for the given situation, and make the right decisions that impact business growth. Further, (Frick, 2014) provides managers a beginner’s guide on how to become more adept at data-driven decision making, and most importantly explains that although the usage of the phrase “correlation is not causation” is fairly common, it is probably a much harder task to apply these specific correlations in the business world. Further, he explains that a basic understanding of statistics will do a world of good for managers, who wish to become more evidence drive. In the 21st century, “data is the new oil” and managers should devote significant resources to ensure that they look for evidence in the data to aid overall decision making. Objective decision making not only motivates employees but empowers them to look deeper into the data for evidence that will help the organization make the right decision.Goal setting and performance management are the pillars of success of any organization. Effective performance management help organizations plan work and set expectations, while continually monitoring performance and executing relentlessly to achieve goals. One of the fundamentals of performance management is developing sound goals that are critical to measuring a team’s performance. One best practice of goal setting is defining an S.M.A.R.T. goal. A S.M.A.R.T. goal is defined as one that is specific, measurable, achievable, results-focused and time-bound. The S.M.A.R.T. acronym was first coined in November 1981 by George T. Doran in his paper titled “There’s an S.M.A.R.T. Way to Write Management’s Goals and Objectives” (Doran, 1981). Further, the work of (Locke, 2002) builds on Doran’s work and summarized decades of empirical research on goal-setting theory. One of the many interesting findings from this paper was that employees committed to a goal when a task was moderately difficult, when the task was moderately difficult, while the team was least committed when the task was either very easy or very hard. Further, they also found that specific, yet difficult goals actually motivated employees to do their best, and consistently led to higher performance. Goals positively impact performance by serving as a north star, helping teams focus on priorities, and away from irrelevant distractions.  Goals also make teams persistent by prioritizing attention on difficult goals and helps them optimize both time and intensity of effort. With proper training and specific high-performance goals teams are motivated to collaborate together, and intrinsically motivate each other to achieve common goals.To enable goal setting within teams, it is also important to have performance management systems in place to rally together employees across functions, improving organizational effectiveness, and accomplishing the organization’s business goals. Management control systems focus on the management of organizational performance, primarily centered around five key issues: objectives, strategies, and plans for their attainment, target-setting, incentive and reward structures and information feedback loops (Otley, 1999). One of the most frequently used tools for organizational performance is the balanced scorecard (Kaplan & Norton, 1996) which was developed by Kaplan, and Norton in 1996. The balanced scorecard was primarily designed to address a long-standing gap in traditional management systems, which lacked the ability to link a company’s long-term strategy with its short-term plans. Further, the balanced scorecard goes above and beyond financial measures systems, and focuses on the customer, internal process, and overall learning and development to effectively link the long-term strategic objectives of an organization to the daily tactics of each employee. With this focus on overall control systems, managers can focus on management of holistic organizational performance. But first, we must begin with the definition of performance, and it is important to get leadership from all functions of the organization involved in decision making. It is important to define the key objectives that are key to the overall future success of the forms. Second, we must conduct a gap analysis to understand the current strategies and performance management systems, but most importantly also understand how to successfully close these gaps. Third, we need to define the level of performance that the organization needs to achieve, and also define performance targets each metric. Motivation is key to ensuring the success of any change management program, and it is important to align performance targets to incentives. Finally, the organization should also set a cadence to review performance and incorporate feedback loops to adapt to the ever-changing business needs of the organization.Building a high performing and effective team is the dream of every manager, and in order to grow a high performing team, it is first important to understand the stages of team formation, which was first documented in the mid-1960s by Bruce Tuckman in his pioneering article “Developmental Sequence in Small Groups.” (Tuckman, 1965). Every team goes through stages of development, and understanding this Forming, Storming, Norming, and Performing model helps a new team become more effective rapidly. This framework has stood the test of time and it is important to use the framework intelligently. The framework has been applied extensively at Google, as the company performed a data-driven analysis to understand secret ingredients for the perfect team (Rozovsky, 2015). The study found that the secret sauce for effective team performance is a combination of the group’s average level of emotional intelligence and a high degree of communication. Hence, it also implies that personalities play a pivotal role in determining team effectiveness. I believe that of all these findings, the most critical is whether your core beliefs align with the teams. Further, the study found that effective teams consist of members who are cool-headed, inquisitive, and altruistic that leads to more-cohesive teams, with a higher level of information sharing, and overall team effectiveness. Every manager should strive to build cohesion in their teams with team-building exercises, and the established norms and processes, leaders must create a culture of trust, transparency and good feeling within the organization. Managers today play a vital role in talent management and acts a foundation for facilitating employee learning and development in the firm. Managers should constantly discuss career progression, provide learning opportunities, and encourage better productivity from their employees. These regular check-ins not only serve as a reminder of the organization’s pledge toward employee development but also intrinsically increases employee commitment to the overall vision of the organization.In summary, leadership is a skill that has to be evolved with the times, and managers that stay abreast with the latest frameworks, tools, and technologies will enable their teams to meet their goals and business objectives, amidst today’s rapidly changing business environment. Skilled managers are today almost indispensable to the success of firms, and I firmly believe that using evidence-based management, smart goals, balanced scorecards, and effective performance management gives managers an effective toolbox to not only become successful in their jobs, but also to bridge the strategy and execution gap, and truly empower teams to achieve their potential leading to the success of the firm. 

Categories: Decision Making


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