productivity

Innovation and Productivity: How's Your Infrastructure?

When you think about infrastructure, you tend to think roads and bridges. That's because the talking heads who talk politics always put infrastructure in that context.

As far as that goes, it's correct.

But, if you look at all the components of infrastructure - and then apply them to your organization - what you quickly see is that those "roads and bridges" are representative of how you and your organization are getting where you're trying to go.

What are you building? And how?

What are your policies and procedures? Are you consistently looking for opportunities to become more effective and efficient? Measurably?

Do you listen to your employees? Do you give them a chance to contribute and feedback information about the obstacles they face...without you becoming defensive?

How well trained are your employees? By whom? Are you ensuring your employees have all the knowledge and skill they need to demonstrate the ability you're looking for from them?

Do you have systems for innovation and expanded participation? Do you regularly work to collect new ideas from your employees, customers and suppliers that lead to new products, services and ways of doing business?

What you'll find is that the less you pay attention to those questions, the more organizational traffic jams you create and the slower your organization is able to perform and deliver. (Think the LA Freeway system in the heart of rush hour and you'll get my drift.)

Take some time to observe the infrastructure you've got. Then build the roads and bridges you need in your organizational infrastructure to create the success you always envisioned.

You'll definitely get where you want to go...because you'll have built what it takes to get there.

It's What's In Back That Counts

There's a lot of talk about infrastructure these days.  Whether it's roads and bridges or teachers, firefighters and police - it's all about what's done behind the day-to-day life of most citizens.  It's the stuff we see but don't really notice...until either it's not there or it doesn't work.

Then it's a problem.

It's the same in your organization - only in your case those problems are occurring every day for all your employees. They've just learned to work around them.

That's because the infrastructure they're dealing with is everything from your...
  • organization's structure - which defines communication and information flow...
to your
  • policies and procedures - which directly impact efficiency and effectiveness...
to your
  • training and development - which is, ultimately, what your customers interact with every day...

and that's just hitting the high points.

When you think infrastructure, think about all the decisions you make and have made for your business that no one outside sees directly but everyone in the organization knows are there.

The good news is, when you focus on the infrastructure it becomes easy to figure out and change all those things that weren't working the way you want...because, predictably, the infrastructure became invisible to you, too.

The more you focus on the seemingly invisible, the more quickly and visibly you'll see the positive results in productivity and morale, customer satisfaction, innovation and profitability.