Building an efficient organization By Strive Masiyiwa ; Founder & Chairperson , Econet Wireless
The hardest thing to do in business (Part 1)
As an entrepreneur, you may have a great idea or innovation which you believe is going to change your community, your country, or maybe even the world we live in. And you’ll probably make a lot of money along the way. That’s allowed, and there’s nothing wrong with it, provided you don’t harm others, the environment, or break the law.
Go ahead, make money, be a billionaire, and you know I’ll be right there cheering you all the way! But before you can ever get there, you’ll have to build an efficient business organization, employing lots of people, because no one can do these things alone.
In this new series, I’m going to talk about what I call, “The hardest thing to do in business: building an efficient organization.”
You’ll face many different challenges as an entrepreneur, but the most difficult is building an efficient organization. What do I mean by efficient? Let me start with one formal definition: “Achieving maximum productivity with minimum wasted effort or expense.”
Most people fail dismally in this area. It’s at once the most difficult and most complex thing that any entrepreneur ever has to do. In this series, we’ll talk about many issues including registering a business, recruiting and hiring your team, and organizational structure.
This is business “MBA stuff” and if you just want to run a little bottle store, it might be tough for you, but if you think you can open more than one bottle store, hang around and see. As they say in my beloved Nigeria, “It’s for the senior class.”
You won’t be the next Dangote or Zuckerberg if you don’t know how to set up an efficient business organization.
To lay the foundations for this series, here’s another definition: The Cambridge dictionary describes “organization” as “a group whose members work together for a shared purpose in a continuing way.”
The verb “organize” is also important here! It means, “to make the necessary plans for something to happen; arrange.”
Do I really need to write much more…? If only it were as simple and straightforward as it sounds!
Building an organization has many different aspects. Can you tell me the importance of nearly each and every word in these three definitions?
Organizations can be almost any size, but the ones I’ll be talking about here are ones that involve a hierarchy of authority and delegation: executive leadership, mid-level management, technical experts, frontline supervisors and employees in different departments, most with different operational functions.
This means a complex array of people with different talents and skills, like those I’m proud and blessed to have on our companies’ teams globally. Maybe different roles and gifts, but the key non-negotiable ingredients? Integrity, shared vision, mutual respect, accountability.
I won’t dwell on problems so much as solutions in this series, but to get started, here’s a list from a McKinsey report on some of the biggest challenges faced by companies (young and old) trying to build organizational capability:
# Organizational resistance to change.
# Lack of resources.
# Lack of credible metrics.
# (Lack of) identification of who is accountable for execution.
# Inability to gain attention and buy-in from line managers.
# Lack of senior management support.
# (Lack of) clear vision or objectives.
# Ineffective training approaches.
# Inconsistent application of methods, processes.
Now you see why I’ve said building an efficient organization is the hardest thing to do in business. But with great people on your team, all is possible!
We’ll get started on this and more next week.
To be continued. . .