The effectiveness of any business, or organization plays into more than just the impact on the bottom line and things like long-term profitability. In today’s world, many individuals and organizations recognize that effectiveness also includes employee interaction, customer/client engagement, goal setting, and much more.
Dr. Charles Chandler offers an alternative philosophy to management that focuses on the important aspects of uptake, adoption, and use. He is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin where he earned a B.S. and Ph.D. as well as the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where he earned an M.S. in engineering sciences.
Dr. Chandler has served in the United States Peace Corps as well as the Texas Water Development Board in Austin. He founded Assumption Analysis, Inc. which is a management consulting firm that has worked with USAID, and the World Health Organization, as well as the UN Development Programme. Dr. Chandler’s clients also include the World Bank Group, the Asian Development Bank, as well as the African Development Bank. Throughout the course of his career, he has worked in over 25 countries from in Europe, Central Asia, and Southeast Asia.
In his book Become Truly Great, Dr. Chandler explores how to serve the Common Good through Management by Positive Organizational Effectiveness. “What bothered me was when people set objectives then they are graded against them,” Dr. Chandler said. “Most organizations take the time to set objectives, but you can potentially game the system by setting easy objectives that might not be fully addressing the needs of the environment you are attempting to serve.”
In Dr. Chandler’s philosophy, an organization’s effectiveness has to go beyond measuring inputs and outputs, as well as looking at the flow between the push of the supply side of the equation and pull of the demand side of the environment. “You don’t have effectiveness if you are not delivering outcomes!”
Of course, this approach goes beyond profits and the financial aspects of the business or organization that is serving the environment. “You can’t look at profits when you are out in the field. It’s like looking in the rearview mirror while you are trying to drive forward,” Dr. Chandler added.
His organizational effectiveness philosophy looks at three key phases to help become truly great. His approach is based on his years of experience, and training, as well as key insights he has received from others.
Phase One: Become Virtuous
As part of this process, Dr. Chandler explains that the goal of every organization is the same and that is, “To be effective in their own environment.” How this is measured might vary from one business or organization to the next, yet there are many shared principles involved.
“The goal-setting process is one of the most destabilizing things in any organization because it’s a complex adaptive system,” explained Dr. Chandler. “Greatness is the only path to being sustainable in the long-term. You can be easily pushed out of your niche if you’re not great because a newcomer can just come along and outdo you!”
Establishing positive values throughout your organization also helps with employee training, motivation, decision making, goal setting and other aspects that improve long-term effectiveness. “If your organization is maintaining positive values it keeps you from falling into the potholes that occur when you are not serving the best interests of your client or your environment.
Dr. Chandler also notes that profitability and cost can factor into the goal setting and the strategy for measuring effectiveness, depending on what the customer wants. “Over the last couple of decades, the internet has affected the market, where it has become more segmented and companies can offering something while still finding enough success to stay viable on a global level.”
Being effective and establishing positive values goes beyond the scope of just the management level of an organization. Important information can be gleaned at every level, especially from those employees and individuals who are directly working in customer engagement.
“You have to really understand your environment to effectively co-evolve. You have to work with customers as the environment is changing. Observe their behavior as they use what you are offering, instead of just providing a survey which might not provide you with accurate information,” clarified Dr. Chandler.
“If you are serving your environment effectively, then your employees need to feel empowered to think of new ways to serve the environment every day.”
Phase Two: Discover Effectiveness
This phase of the process of becoming truly great starts with answering the question, “What does it mean to be effective?”
Dr. Chandler notes that this is calls for testing your offerings in the environment your organization serves. “If you’re going to be effective you have to put out offerings and take into account how they are received. For example, If you were operating a restaurant, then you want to take note of what’s coming back on the plates to understand what your diners like and don’t like.”
These observations take into account important factors like Uptake, Adoption, and Use. This ensures that what you are offering to your environment is being well-received by the customers in a way that goes beyond the flow from supply to demand-based outcomes.
“If you are going to innovate, then you need to cascade the power to set the goals down to the teams. You want to empower them to find better ways to serve the environment,” explained Dr. Chandler.
The process of measuring these goals involves selecting the outcomes that meet your needs as well as the needs of the environment. This includes information from being directly involved in customer engagement.
Phase Three: Become Great
Sustaining a position of prominence in your organization’s environment also requires agility. Dr. Chandler notes that so long as uptake, adoption, and use are providing effective outcomes, that you should expect to be the dominant force in your niche within 5 years.
“It’s a method of management where you are moving from outcomes to impacts,” Dr. Chandler explained. “You have to set up watchtowers on the environment to identify opportunities where you can better serve.”
In this Dr. Chandler also makes a distinction about quality. “Quality is sometimes used as a proxy for effectiveness because it includes the ends and the means. What I’m offering here is a philosophy where quality is built into the system!”
This process is often served by looking at the product or service being offered through a hierarchy of benefits.
At the lowest level, we see the financial and economic benefits. Where purchasing or using the service saves the customer more money or provides more benefit that if they had not purchased.
The next level is the social or psychological impact of the product or service. Does it make the customer feel better, or does it get them engaging with others in activities that directly stem from the product or service?
The third level involves for providing some benefit on a spiritual, inspirational, or community level. That the customer feels like they are somehow serving the greater good using the product or service.
Dr. Chandler notes that the overarching approach where “We are self-controlling by adopting positive values by we are also adhering to quality by investing these values in our processes. It’s an internal control where we are holding our selves to important restrictions, to best serve the environment.”