“If we were all determined to play the first violin, we should never have an ensemble. Therefore, respect every musician in his proper place.”
— Robert Schumann, German Composer
The World Is Becoming Complex
We can see this complexity all around us. Smart phones, computers, artificial intelligence, instant global communications, multi-national businesses are just a few of the examples of the acceleration of complexity that is all around us.
What’s The Response?
For the individual, our concerns have changed. How much “screen time” is right for our kids? How much of our home budgets should communication and entertainment consume? How do we schedule meetings when our team members are spread out around the world? Our personal lives have and will continue to become more and more confusing and complicated. This reality is no less true for today’s organizations. New technologies, government regulations, leading global businesses, global customers with unique expectations, and a host of other changes have led to new organizational requirements.
Their response? Adding and expanding administrative staffs to handle it all. There are traditional examples like Finance and Human Resources which have generally expanded to take on new requirements. The big change has come with the addition of new administrative groups like Strategy and Risk Management, Regulatory Compliance, Government Relations, and Corporate Responsibility. These and other administrative staff groups have been added to handle the demands of customers, share holders, governments and other stakeholders.
What’s The Result?
A new set of problems are affecting today’s organizations. The problem is generally unrecognized by many. It is a continuously growing burden placed on the operating elements of the business to meet requirements placed on them by the administrative staffs. The reason this problem is growing is that administrative staffs tend to create processes that make it easier for them to do their work.
They ask the operational groups to collect data and information, hold meetings, assign people to do work needed by the staff. All of this work of responding internally takes time, energy and money away from the base work of the organization which is to profitably deliver the highest quality products and services to customers. It can get so bad that the customer can seem like an afterthought.
Administrative consulting companies have been created to work with companies when they recognize that they need help. Organizations tend to reach out for administrative consulting services when the cost of internal staff work has reached critical mass. They will even create administrative consulting business plans and budgets to address the problems.
What tends to go unrecognized is that administrative staffs use processes just like operations. They take inputs from different sources, do work with the inputs and produce an output which goes to others who use them. Since the work of staff groups can be defined as processes, traditional continuous improvement approaches and tools can make them more efficient, customer focused and cost effective.
How Can We Help?
SBTI’s strength is teaching organizations how to improve their processes and some of the most important are those of your administrative staff.
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