Using Evidence as Basis in Managing Organizations

A Combination Rather Than Simple Remedies.

Research shows that strong organisational performance is developed when fuelled by a combination of 3 or more carefully selected complementary management practices. Tendencies of executives to rely on their experiences and personal knowledge tend to lean toward isolated application and therefore turn out to be quite ineffective.

  • Assess Current Expertise- Consultants and other experts on organisational performance tend to assume that all organizations already have existing building blocks, therefore, would automatically overestimate the impact of a single practice. Concurrent organisational practices get ignored and chances of adopting complementary practices become inexistent.
  • Throw away practices detrimental to the Business-All management practices you adopt should have a minimum level of proficiency since it is vital to the overall organisational performance.  Failure to achieve competence in at least two practices shall drag the performance of the organisation downwards.

One Combination is Superior

Regarded as the “base case” of McKinsey’s Performance leadership Survey, this combination of three (3) practices had been most effective in achieving healthy and strong performing organizations.

  1. Give Clear Roles. Giving individuals clear roles require them to take responsibility for the result of the business.  This is translated to encouraging Accountability.
  2. Set Direction. Sharing broad goals and setting operational strategies motivate people to align their work priorities to achieve organizational goals.
  3. Cultivate a Culture of Trust. Individuals assigned to experimental projects often succeed as they are encouraged to be open with ideas encouraging innovation resulting in high productivity.

No “One Size Fits All”

The “base case” although powerful since it builds on effective management behaviour and has complementary major practices may not be applicable to all companies.  To choose the right combination of practices, management should test their options against the base case and identify obstacles that might get in the way.  Alternatives to it must have an equally high degree of complementarity across the combination preferred.

Leadership Styles, Legacies, and Strategies, and Organizational Pasts can cause constraints on the base case.  Therefore, it is wise for leaders to make decisions based on shreds of evidence being presented instead, not on myths and beliefs however inviting.