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How to align operational objectives with organizational values

Updated: Mar 27

When it comes to operations an important goal is to achieve and maintain consistency of work. Standardized work is essential for the creation of value. However, it is also important to protect this value and why compliance needs to be involved.

Organizational Alignment
Organizational Alignment

Benefits of Standard Work

There is value in doing things the same way each time:

  • increases worker productivity

  • provides structure

  • saves time

  • establishes predictability

  • simplifies training

  • and many others

Establishing standard work and performing it without variation is an essential aspect of effective operations.

However, establishing standard work can have a downside. It may end up normalizing the absence of other behaviours and practices needed by the organization.

Benefits of Standard Values

Not only do we need consistency of work we need consistency of values - harmony of parts to one another and the whole organization. This requires aligning operational objectives with organizational values.

We know from systems theory that a system designed for productivity will optimize for productivity at the expense or away from everything else. Similarly, if the goal is both productivity and safety then the system will optimize for both.

This is one of the reasons why it is essential that organizational values are included as part of operational design. We don’t want systems that are only productive. They need to also be safe, secure, protect privacy and the environment along with other desired outcomes.

Another way of saying this is that operations needs both standard work and standard values. If you don’t you will end up with standard work without any values – a consequence of system theory.

How to Align Work with Value

A good place to start is by identifying and documenting commitments (i.e. promises) to organizational obligations associated with safety, security, privacy, environmental, and so on.

These promises can then be embedded into operational systems, processes and procedures. Supporting these promises will help keep operations aligned with organizational values.

The Hoshin Kanri Process is helpful here. It provides a means to negotiate operational goals and objectives with organizations counter parts associated with obligations:

Instead of a pushing obligations down, this process invites voluntary commitments which encourages ownership – a necessary condition for proactive and risk-based endeavours.

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