Organizational Challenges

Organizational Challenges

The following is a list of common problems organizations face. There are usually symptoms presenting when these become issues. We’ve outlined: the problem, the common symptoms that typically come with it, how it’s usually dealt with, and finally, how we solve these challenges a little differently.

Problems We Solve

Organization Struggling to Adopt Change

Common Symptoms

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Projects are producing the right results, but the solutions aren't widely adopted

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Poor project financial performance

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Projects drift and don't deliver what they are commissioned to, often producing new systems that don't meet business needs

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Schedule delays and cost overruns within projects and programs

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Poor financial performance or productivity within the organization

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Less than ideal employee or customer satisfaction

How These Problems are Usually Solved

Attempts to implement programs or produce change usually involve executing a series of isolated projects – a new IT system, a new building, or a new set of policies, processes, and procedures. But the isolated nature of this approach almost guarantees a lack of success.

What’s more, if you haven’t engaged people throughout the journey, they are not going to adopt your solutions. Having a great project outcome, only to have the people say, “I don’t want to use that,” can be a dangerous waste. If it happens too many times, your business will fail.

Midgard’s Solution

The key to a great project outcome is to embed the changes so everyone involved can embrace what we are building. We start this process with the vision and the blueprint.

1. Vision

First, build the vision. What change do we want to achieve? What does the endpoint look like? What does the business really need?

2. Blueprint

What does the organization’s future operating model look like? To get there safely, you can’t change too much at once. So we break it down into steps:

  • Current State
  • Intermediate State 1
  • Intermediate State 2
  • Future State

At each step, we deploy the following framework to ensure the right results:

  • Process: Create business process maps, templates, policies, and procedures
  • Organizational Structure: Redefine the organizational chart, roles and responsibilities, hiring and staffing goals, and the skills you will need for each. Then identify the training and development needed for everyone involved.
  • Technology: Define which infrastructure, software, or cloud services will be needed to operate in the future. Determine if new office space is needed, along with all necessary equipment, tools, and vehicles.
  • Information: Determine how results will be measured, and what data needs to be tracked for future decisions

3. Implementation/Program Plan

How will we move forward? In order to change, we need to set baseline and performance expectations. Then we can establish the activities that need to take place and implement monitoring devices to spot deviations in the plan or budgetary overtures.

With a proper plan, each project in a program can align with an ultimate goal. Change can happen. All it takes is a best practices approach with an emphasis on people. By bringing everyone on board—your project, your program, and ultimately your success, can be realized.

Poor Financial Performance

Common Symptoms

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Projects and programs go over budget

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Processes are inefficient, and filled with unnecessary steps

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Poor utilization of staff

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Insufficient inventory control or production management

How These Problems are Usually Solved

The usual approach to solving financial issues is by cutting costs. Accountants are famous for it. But this approach detriments the long-term value of your business because you haven’t actually fixed anything. Often short-sighted decisions, paired with a lack of best practices, just makes the situation worse.

Midgard’s Solution

Fixing financial problems takes a wide range of skills, and we bring the rigor and discipline of best practices to create predictability and better performance. Without a best practices approach, you’re pulling levels haphazardly and hoping for the best. Our best practices approach lets us see the big picture, and how a project relates to your strategic vision, portfolio, and program.

Our approach is enhanced by supporting functions such as:

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Risk Management

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Benefits Management

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Management of Value

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Business Case Development

Operational and Production Inefficiencies

Common Symptoms

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The organization wastes time, materials, or resources

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Production processes contains inefficient steps and procedures

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No consistency with business processes – different people are performing different duties with varying procedures

How These Problems are Usually Solved

Companies often hire a management consultant, who comes in and conducts a review and some value stream mapping. While these activities produce nice reports, they often don’t diagnose the root issue. This is compounded when the organization implements new policies and procedures, but doesn’t invest time to ensure employees take them on. They miss the opportunity to create rapport and instill ownership with the employees.

Midgard’s Solution

We bring a technical and soft skills approach to solving operational and production inefficiencies, and focus equally on the people and the processes. To influence employees to buy into changes, we use Prosci’s ADKAR Change Management Framework, comprised of the following steps:

  • Awareness: Does the individual involved know why this change is happening? Does the person telling them about the change have respect and authority? Solid communication must come from someone of influence.
  • Desire: This comes from leadership. Can the leaders in the organization influence change? Is there a mentorship program? Do lower-level employees trust upper management to have their best interests at heart?
  • Knowledge: Has the employee been properly trained?
  • Ability: Does the employee have the physical and intellectual ability to achieve this?
  • Reinforce: Instill the importance of the change, and keep bringing people back to using the new way

This is an effective approach to diagnose where employees may be stuck and to support them through the change curve. For situations of very challenging resistance, we bring in experts in IO psychology and/or leadership development to help move the changes forward.

Strategic Plans Not Being Realized

Common Symptoms

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Strategic planning happens, but isn’t realized

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No one knows how to implement the desired change

How These Problems are Usually Solved

A new strategy is created, including mission statements and policies. Boards spend millions of dollars and stake the company’s future on these changes. But no effective change management practices are in place, and the wrong people are expected to drive change within the company. They’re too busy to dedicate time to the process, and so instead take the path of least resistance – emailing policies and mission statements and expecting employees to just follow them. There is no mentorship, training, or coaching, and management expects employees to “just figure it out”.

Midgard’s Solution

Our job is to implement, and we do this through portfolio management to bring your vision to life. We help you develop and implement a portfolio containing a collection of programs and projects to make change happen.

We ask ourselves questions to understand your business needs. How do we ensure that value is being generated? What do we need this project to deliver? This is where our Management of Value best practices approach comes in. It helps you create a goal, and once that goal is clear, we work with the project or operations team to seek out any potential additional value.

The management of value is heavily focused on people, and it requires a team effort to diagnose and align the effort. We work with you to designing an engaging an approach where everyone is involved in the process, giving them ownership over the solution. And with the right people in place, like trainers, coaches, and managers, change can be made at all levels of your organization.

Poor Company Culture

Common Symptoms

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Lack of coordination and collaboration on day-to-day work

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Decisions made by the wrong part of the organization

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Finger pointing, protecting territories, authoritarian commands, and other corrosive behaviour

How These Problems are Usually Solved

Sometimes cultural problems seem so daunting that companies don’t even try. If they do make an attempt, often they try to influence change by sending out mass emails to incite positivity in their workforce. But these tactics almost always fall flat, as emails and hands-off policy implementation never lead to significant cultural shifts. In worst case scenarios, leadership can become authoritarian, going into control mode to try to force good behaviour and compliance. This type of workplace culture stifles creativity and innovation, and creates unhappy workplaces where infighting is common and turnover is costly.

Midgard’s Solution

Influencing corporate culture starts at the top, so we provide leadership coaching to mold effective mentors and coaches. This positive influence spreads downward from leaders through the rest of the organization, instilling trust, accountability, and good spirit. This is how culture shift begins. 

When leaders grow from dictators to facilitators, businesses transform. Agile leaders work in conjunction with their teams; they are facilitators rather than authorities. Attitudes change from, “do as I say,” to “how can I help you?” The results of this minor change in attitude can send ripple effects throughout the entire organization, encouraging employees to once again engage with their leadership team.

Inefficient Business Processes

Common Symptoms

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Business expectations are not met

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Unnecessary conflict occurs when communication lines break down

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Finger pointing and added stress

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Wasteful steps and resources

How These Problems are Usually Solved

Sadly, the most common solution to this problem is to simply do nothing, and people live with the pain. This strategy can only be weathered for so long, and when a boiling point occurs, a project or program is often implemented to try and fix the issue. The problem with the solution is that it’s often created in isolation, usually by consulting project managers who bring in prepackaged solutions before taking time to understand the business. The new solution is then sent throughout the organization without any training or coaching, and the consultant adds another item on his resume.

Midgard’s Solution

We know that you know your business better than we do, so we don’t bring prepackaged solutions… we come to learn about you. We facilitate and empower you to make the best decisions for your business. It’s a long-term approach that allows your managers to make better decisions going forward.

When it comes time to implement the solutions our collective effort has produced, we designate change managers, agents who facilitate the people side of change. We then the provide change managers with instruction on best practice approaches to achieve the desired result. This coaching and mentorship is critical, and allows people to move slowly from resistance to acceptance to ownership.

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