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The Key Steps to Frictionless Management

Blog: Jim Sinur

Even in times of stability, organizations are dealing with lots of friction in managing their organizations. Compound that base friction with organizational change, competitive efforts, outside influences, innovation, and internal initiatives, it is not surprising that it becomes super-heated. It’s not hard to imagine the heat from the friction causing damage to essential efforts. The damage might more effort than necessary, thereby costing the organization time, money, and grief. The damage could also be that fundamental change will be much harder once you add the human resistance to the party. Commonly, organizations have a hard time linking strategy to execution. Some efforts fail even to complete, while others end up less optimal. In other words, Organizational Performance Management (OPM) is hard and even harder while trying to change reactively or proactively.

Where are Some Common Friction Points?


Organizations have progressed by adding ERP, CRM, and more internal processes/applications, thus creating more moving parts to manage separately or in combination. While business intelligence (BI) has enabled better and more detailed analysis of these systems, it is costly to aggregate and collect data from these multiple sources to create a more holistic view making management reporting and corporate performance more complicated and time-consuming than necessary. The arduous task of aggregating from many Excel spreadsheets and many PowerPoint slides creates so much friction. It is a cumbersome, time-consuming, and error-prone set of steps.


Also, it is challenging to collate feedback, comments, and actions from different management stakeholders against the relevant elements in these reports. Managers also need to collaborate while finding solutions and making recommendations, and in the current remote work scenario, collaboration against reports is challenging. Without adequate insights, decisions are not optimal, and this lack of overview for the management to base their decisions on can cause a delay in the time taken to make and execute decisions.  


As per a 2019 McKinsey Survey, 57% of C-level executives say the reporting process is inefficient, and 61 percent say most of their decision-making time is used ineffectively. Ineffective decisions have significant implications for company productivity. The survey found that for managers at an average Fortune 500 company, this could translate into more than 530,000 days of lost working time and roughly $250 million of wasted labor costs per year (McKinsey & Co., 2019).


The critical problem is that Business Managers need a way to gain insight into issues and challenges they face quickly. These may relate to the external landscape, such as products, competition, market changes, sources of raw materials, storms, logistical problems, etc., or company strategy, business processes, risks, opportunities, etc. Managers relate this insight to company metrics and use them to deliver focused decisions saving time and money. A Harvard Business Article as far back as 2007 declared that everyday decisions create or destroy your company’s strategy (Bower & Gilbert, 2007). Against this backdrop, it is critical to enable management decisions through an enhanced reporting process.


What are Key Steps Essential to Remove or Eliminate Friction?


Scope the Management Challenge


In their endeavor to achieve the goals of frictionless management, organizations follow an array of Management Practices.


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