As a thought leader, author, educator, and consultant on humanist manufacturing, I write a weekly article that benefits leaders who want to improve their organizations using elements of my Humanist Manufacturing framework.
The previous weeks have walked through the three phases of Strengths, Opportunities, and Aspirations of the SOAR Framework. The work in the framework flips the script from the traditional deficit-based approach to strategy to one with a positive focus. Additionally, there is the inclusion of a wide variety of stakeholder representation across the organization, at all levels within the company, and includes external stakeholders. Finally, we close this exploration with the Results phase of the SOAR framework.
You don't get results by focusing on results. You get results by focusing on the actions that produce results. - Mike Hawkins
At this point, the strategic planning team has comprehensively understood the organization's Strengths, Opportunities, and Aspirations. I surmise these are the actions that Hawkin references. Discussion would involve looking at how to best measure the success in monitoring the various initiatives that move forward. Some are easy to track, such as increasing annual sales by a defined percentage. Others are far more difficult to include reducing the company's environmental impact. A larger group of stakeholders will provide a better opportunity to consider a broader range of ideas and more people to draw ideas from to define the most essential organizational Results to track.
Internet research is an additional resource for determining the most critical Results to track. One example is the annual financial and sustainability reports that most corporations publish. Reviewing several of these from organizations in the manufacturing sector will provide information about what they have deemed most important to track. Another resource is the various certification standards that the company embraces or a customer requires. The B Impact Assessment comprises the community, customer, environment, governance, and worker elements. Defining a high-level Result for each would provide an ongoing opportunity to track success in running the business and respond as necessary to address shifts from internal and external forces.
The assembled strategic planning team would consider the following questions as they determine how to track their Results:
• Considering our Strengths, Opportunities, and Aspirations, what meaningful measures would indicate that we are on track to achieving our goals?
• What 3 to 5 indicators would create a scorecard that addresses our commitment to the humanist commitments?
• What resources are needed to implement our most vital projects?
• What are the best rewards to support those who achieve our goals?
The group should define the lowest level for effectively monitoring their Results assignments. Ideally, these will cascade down to the level where individuals have the most significant opportunity to impact the Results. An example could be manufacturing processes using utilities like electricity and water. First, the groups can set a baseline for overall current usage. Next, they would begin developing and implementing initiatives at each level of the organization to help achieve the desired goals. Finally, if multiple areas or shifts were doing similar work, the company would combine the numbers to show the overall success in achieving the desired Result.
The reality is that most organizations will not have sufficient resources to support every one of the recommended Opportunities and Aspirations. As the group determines what to track, allocating resources appropriately to achieve the most impact will be essential. A collection of inexpensive projects may be better than one significant investment. Using the utility example, adding motion detectors to turn off lights when no one is in an area is a simple fix that would save money across a facility. A more expensive option would be to install a solar array or wind turbine. Quick gains emerge by working through the low-hanging fruit of initial energy usage reductions. When a renewable energy option is purchased, there is the opportunity to begin at a smaller scale and thus less expensive.
I am confident through my own experience, my academic research, and the success of many companies using elements of this approach that committing to the humanist commitment lens will produce desired Results that:
• Attract & retain talented employees seeking jobs that allow them to reach their full potential while working for a company with similar values to their own.
• Engage & empower all stakeholders who see the significant gains organizations achieve with a transformational vision.
• Delight customers felt good about engaging with a humanist company while being cared for by highly engaged employees.
• Lead to efficient & effective operations as the workforce commits to achieving the compelling "Why" for the company's existence.
• Increase profitability where doing the right thing to improve your company's environmental and social impacts will also enhance financial results.
• Expand the positive impact within the walls of your organization, the greater community, and the world.
These Results will positively benefit all internal and external stakeholders of the organization. Therefore, I recommend deepening our understanding of the ten humanist commitments shared earlier as we consider the Results vital to achieving success. In particular, how they will benefit a manufacturing operation that embeds them into its organization.
Defining the Results to track is essential to achieving the organization's identified Strengths, Opportunities, and Aspirations when utilizing the SOAR framework. In addition, these Results will benefit all internal and external stakeholders of the organization positively. The organization benefits significantly from the deep commitment of all stakeholders as they were active participants throughout the process.
Leaders interested in learning what to measure as organizational results can find guidance from the B Impact Assessment. The questions in the assessment provide a comprehensive list of potential options to integrate the humanist manufacturing framework. The items chosen from the assessment to implement should align with the "why," vision, mission, and values of the company.
I am grateful to B Lab for their ongoing work to improve the B Impact Assessment continually. The non-profit is currently working to roll out Version 6 as they pursue their guiding objective: "We won't stop until all business is a force for good." This a noble purpose that I encourage all manufacturers to adopt as a part of their business operating system.
Next week's blog will transition to the steps to implement the outcomes of the SOAR work to begin to become the transition to humanist manufacturing.
To learn more about our work or read more blog posts, visit emmanuelstratgicsustainability.com.
I encourage you to read my book Humanist Manufacturing: A Humanitarian Approach to Excellence in High-Impact Plant Operations. The paperback and eBook versions are now available at Amazon and many other booksellers. You can also view the Humanist Manufacturing Book Launch to gain additional insight into the Humanist Manufacturing framework.
I invite you to join the Humanist Manufacturing Group on LinkedIn if you want to interact with others interested in the topic.
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