One of Tor Inge’s recent consulting endeavors was helping a large government organization develop a better governance framework and reach company-wide strategic alignment. The project started with a general audit to assess what processes were currently being used and determine where the gaps were. Right off the bat, Tor Inge ran into a roadblock.
There were dozens of documents to review! There were strategic plans, strategic roadmaps, strategic initiatives, department action plans, KPI justifications, SWOT analyses, business objectives assessments, and all sorts of other documents, some of which dated back to the ’90s! Some were buried deep in folders on the company’s server, some were posted in a hallway on a bulletin board, and some lived in dusty binders. It was a jungle! What’s worse, each document was structured a little differently and told a slightly different story. There was a lot of duplication, redundancy, and, in some cases, contradiction. No wonder everyone was confused!
It took several weeks of internal discussions to cut through the jungle, but the result was well worth the time. In the end the organization managed to get rid of all clutter and got on the same page in terms of strategy and plans for how to better run their internal processes. The true test of successful governance implementation, however, will be whether the organization manages to keep it up. Only time will tell.
While setting up an efficient governance framework is a complex endeavor, here are three tips that will set you on a path to good governance right away.
- Establish a common taxonomy
There is often confusion when a company lacks a set way of organizing data and files. Establishing a common taxonomy helps to prevent confusion as it provides a logical structure for organizing information, and therefore makes it easier to locate and use the information. To create a common taxonomy, decide on a logical way to structure your data and files into categories and subcategories using terminology that is easily understood by everyone in your organization. You don’t need to invent new words! Tap into your departments. Chances are that your teams have already developed a list of acronyms and abbreviations for terms they frequently use. Be sure to incorporate these terms when you create your taxonomy and use them consistently when developing new documents.
- Create a process for information distribution
Develop a formal process for how to communicate your strategy and plans. Be sure to focus not only on how to distribute information from the top level down the stream throughout the organization, but also on how to transmit information back up the stream. Having a formal process in place and following this process helps to ensure that everyone in your organization feels connected to the company’s strategy and direction.
- Business software
To instill good governance in your organization, you need to keep your employees informed about what is happening. In today’s digital age, one of the most efficient ways to distribute information in a safe and efficient manner is through business software. A good business software tool will not only allow you to share information, but it will also enable you and your employees to ensure that processes are being followed, access documents, monitor KPIs, manage projects, set up alerts, generate reports, and operate as a unified business unit — all in all, manage your business.