In presentations and trainings I have given about VeriSM so far, I noticed a recurring pattern among participants. They came from various service providers. Often organizations with traditional divisions between customer contact, development, production, delivery, IT and finance. This pattern was doubt whether their organizations, as service providers, were mature enough to tear down walls between silos and become coherent value and production chains focused on consumer value. Departments have managers who are judged an paid on partial success, not on organizational outcomes. In some organizations, this effect was even increased by the phenomenon of group self-management, popular in the Rhinelandic business model of northern and western continental Europe. (link)
Service Management Principles
Of course we talked about one of the key items of VeriSM: Service management principles. A powerful way to get noses into one direction and to take strategic, tactical and operational decisions based on the same set of principles. However, this did not completely eliminate doubts. The VeriSM book says: “VeriSM encourages service providers to see their capabilities as part of an overall organization… not as a web of internal providers. Yes, right, my participants asked: How do we deal with that in our own organizations?
Evolution vs. Revolution
In the discussions, we focussed on different ways to approach the issue. Evolutionary changes hold much better than revolutionary changes. The VeriSM writers link this to cultural change. Evolutionary change, by definition is a long-term process in which inspiring leadership and effective management (but above all leadership), have essential roles. The digital age came up, with its short-cycle developments. People said that there’s no time for evolution and that revolution and disruption is the norm. This is undeniably true for some organizations especially in the private sector, but if they realize that now they probably are far too late to start changing. However, other organizations, for example in the (semi) public sector, have evolutionary change as an option. In fact, evolution and disruption also can go together provided leadership is excellent.
The Essential Questions
Essential questions that came up were:
- Is it vital for our organization that we go through the transformation from silos into thinking and working in terms of value (for the consumer)? Yes or no?
- Is the leadership aware of this and able to lead? Yes or no?
- Can my organizations’ staff, strategically, tactically and operationally, follow this transformation and contribute to it? Yes or no?
Dissecting the Answers
It appeared that organizations that only answer the first question with Yes impend to fail and become obsolete.
Organizations that answer the first two questions with Yes, tend to organize experimental start-ups to take over (parts of) the value and production chain, often in collaboration with other organizations with connecting value chains. VeriSM is seen as very useful to create a brand new operating model. Motto is Consumer Value by Design.
Organizations that answer all three questions with Yes provide the most interesting cases from a perspective of organizational change. Some say that only organizations of limited size can succeed, but I don’t believe that’s true: It not size that matters but leadership and the overall level of knowledge and motivation of the organizations’ staff. VeriSM is seen as very useful provided it is being adapted an shaped to fit the organizations’ needs.
This blog was originally posted on LinkedIn on the following page VeriSM: Questions about organizational maturity.