How do we reinforce operationally Quality and Synchronization within our system? In other words, how do we operate a systemic organization? Who does what, when, where, how and why? There are 4 vital components, and the first one is the Playbook.
Resource optimization and synchronization
What do we mean by Quality? Quality means understanding that variation affects every human process, understanding exactly what those processes are, and never ceasing to act to bring and keep our processes within statistical control. In principle, this could be accomplished within a traditional hierarchical structure with better performance indicators and a culture of teamwork. We would not need a different approach to the organization. The real shift in performance comes from the understanding of finite capacity and the need for resource optimization and synchronization.
A systemic approach to the economics and management of resources focuses on what can be achieved by combining the resources at hand. The goal of synchronization is to make the most out of what we have as a system. The cognitive ordeal that we face in embracing such a model is that the resources do not “belong” to something; they cannot be allocated in any conventional “functional” way. Achieving a systemic optimum is a very different sport from achieving a set of functional optima. Everything has to be subordinated to the constraint of the system. In fact, in the systemic game, resources are generally sub-optimized locally in order to optimize the global systemic result.
Four vital components for a systemic organization
How do we reinforce operationally Quality and Synchronization within our system? When we build our organization as a systemic structure there are four vital components that keep the structure alive and working. These are:
- the ‘Playbook’: a detailed map of all our processes and the repository of all the knowledge needed to operate the interdependencies
- an Information System that gives us the ability to sustain the flow of information connected with the Playbook
- a scheduler: a mechanism to synchronize, hence maximize this flow
- a Learning Centre: a method to ensure that all the continuous learning necessary to operate such a fast system is in place.
Vital Component No. 1: The Playbook: learn it, love it, live it
A company seen as a system is a network of interdependent processes/projects with a goal. No ambition to manage a company systemically could ever be legitimate without a mechanism to ensure that everyone in the system knows where he fits into the life of the company. We call this the Playbook because in some way it resembles the collection of plays that every football player must know to win the game. Our systemic Playbook is a map that details the interdependencies/linkages, thus giving a true operational meaning to the expression “organizational design.” We are able to create this map by using Deployment Flowcharts to map out every process within the company, identifying who does what and when. Functional roles disappear. Instead, the Playbook details the network of conversations that must occur (daily, weekly, monthly, etc.) in the system in order to make these linkages effective.
The playbook is the nervous system of the organization; it captures all the connections that make the working of the company possible. The playbook is not the work of a notary and it is not carved in stone. It is the living, ever-evolving document that portrays the life of the organization. It does so at different levels by:
- depicting how all the processes are linked
- describing how these processes must be performed
- specifying which activities these processes entail and who is supposed to perform them
- illustrating the inputs and outputs of these activities
- recording the expected outcome of these activities; designing, validating and testing all the improvement activities
and, most importantly, by devising all the statistical studies necessary to gain insight into the life of the organization.
We will continue to look at the other vital components of the systemic organization in future posts.
Extract from the book: Sechel: Logic, Language and Tools to Manage Any Organization as a Network of Projects
See also our series on Systemic Management: