When CEOs build their teams, they seek out talent with widespread experience in a particular functional area, be it Sales, Marketing, Product, Tech, HR, Operations. This produces an organisation with pockets of talent and skill. But what makes an organisation highly effective isn’t just functional skills but also the way those functions work together. It is assumed that everyone will work well together and make things happen, led from the top of each function. But so often this is not the case. This isn’t because leaders don’t aspire to this. It’s because it needs real focus to make it happen. It needs to be someone’s job to glue the organisation together.
A good COO can provide this pan-company perspective and deep understanding of end-to-end delivery. And ensure that plans, targets and incentives are aligned across the business to deliver to a common set of goals.
Take Sales. Usually Sales teams are given individual targets to deliver in their area. So they get selling and bring in business. But how often does anyone ask how profitable those sales really are? A common outcome is that Sales over-promise and then the business under-delivers on its releases and its bottom line targets. Because Tech simply cannot keep up with the unconstrained demand.
Take Marketing. As they get insights into the possibilities, they discover lots of revenue opportunities. But how often are these sized alongside the capabilities of the Product, Tech and Operations functions to deliver?
Take Product. There are always lots of improvements that can be made to existing products, as well as numerous good ideas for new products and features. But how often is activity focussed on chasing the next best idea rather than properly finishing off existing ideas that have been validated?
Take Tech. They struggle to cope with the competing demands, see promises as undeliverable and give up on making firm commitments to deliver to particular timescales.
Take Operations. They often find out about a new feature or delivery after it has been delivered. And then scramble around to try to fix the support and management problems associated with it.
So it needs to be someone’s job to align what everyone is doing and ensure that the strategy and product roadmap are backed up with the capability to deliver across the whole business. Sounds easy? Yet so often it is this glue layer that is missing. And it is a major key to profitability.
If you recognise some of these issues in your business we can help you build lean processes and systems, and shape teams, to produce a highly effective delivery engine. Please contact us.