Four Areas of Focus to Achieve Rapid-Pace Success

Kim Mays

Successful, fast-paced businesses have more than speed in common. Often in addition to expeditious work, there is a propensity toward leading-edge innovation, a constant drive toward success, and engaged employees who are determined to execute the business strategy.

One book has determined a set of components that businesses must achieve to reach such a successful state. “The Four Components of a Fast-Paced Organization: Going Beyond Lean Sigma Tools,” details the four areas that companies must focus on for top-level performance:

  • Leadership and mentoring
  • Process design and visual value streams
  • Organization structure for sustainment
  • Fast knowledge sharing

The first chapter on leadership is available in our IT Downloads section. It explains the responsibilities of the company’s leaders and how to transform from the “us vs. them” mentality to a partnership. The author, Robert Baird, explains that having a single-focus strategy helps fully engage the workforce toward a common goal. According to this chapter:

This method of determining the single focus becomes easier when the management team asks, “What, more than anything, do our customers want, that if we achieved it we would have a definite competitive advantage?” The answer common to most organizations is lead time improvement. To achieve this, the management team should use the Six Sigma tool of SIPOC (suppliers, inputs, process, outputs, customers). In this case the single output is lead time, and some of the inputs are quality, work in progress (WIP) levels, process capability, supplier deliveries, safety, and others. So you can now see how a single-focus strategy still requires a strategy of improving in other areas that are inputs to the single focus. This approach makes it much easier to communicate the strategy, why we are working on these inputs, and how everyone contributes.

The chapter also details the ways in which a company must function in order to reach such a lofty, rapid-pace status of success. The ability to quickly and effectively transfer and share knowledge is one aspect that can expedite decision making, which in turn will likely raise the trust of the employees in their leaders. Being able to do this “will quickly translate into a competitive edge” for any company.

The section on eradicating the “us vs. them” mentality provides several good examples of thought from each side of the equation on various company issues. The book recommends the development of trust, employee development, and the integral alignment of a single strategy as ways to eliminate this perspective and bring everyone under one umbrella, working toward a focused goal.

All levels of IT and business leaders can benefit from this chapter excerpt. It provides examples of thinking models from managers and employees and presents a plan by which both sides come together. Once employees are working toward the same lean-based goal, the whole company will benefit.

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