With the continuing uncertainty over coronavirus we have decided to redesign this conference as a smaller, truncated one-day event in London with sessions live-streamed for those who are not able to attend in person.
What is a ‘great’ organisation? How do you know you work for one? What can you do if your organisation isn’t ‘great’ today, but you’d like it to be? These are the questions we will be looking to answer.
While the average shelf life of companies has greatly reduced over the last few decades, there appear to be enduring characteristics that mark out those organisations that deliver sustained high performance over the long term. Many researchers have developed models describing the distinguishing features of ‘great’ organisations. Although their methodologies and conclusions differ, there are a number of common themes. Great companies tend to have:
- A clear purpose and values beyond making money: great companies develop and maintain an aspirational purpose/mission, an economic model of the business and a set of core values and norms of behaviour that are broadly communicated and understood.
- The ability to be ambidextrous: optimising the core while developing new lines of business.
- Openness to the outside world: sensing changes in the external environment to see and exploit opportunities before others.
- Strong customer orientation: maximising the surface area of the organisation that’s in contact with customers, making it easy for decision makers to receive information about customer behaviour and respond fast to changing customer demand.
- An organisation design that enables fast, informed decision making: autonomy and devolved decision making, even in large complex organisations. Not allowing organisation complexity such as matrix management to bog people down.
- A distinctive culture that supports innovation and experimentation: tests constantly being run and evaluated. Failure accepted as a legitimate outcome of experimentation and a vehicle for learning. Learning applied to future experiments.
- Organisational resilience: the ability to bounce back from setbacks and adequate resources to weather the storms that arise.
- Change viewed as ‘normal’ and ongoing: not something to be endured on a periodic basis.
- A culture where people can flourish: the rhetoric of investing in people is backed up by leadership commitment and action.
Lecturer in Project & Programme at Cranfield University
Stephen Carver is rated as one of the top three lecturers at one of Europe’s leading MBA Business Schools. He has a reputation of taking complex management concepts such as Project, Programme, Change and Crisis Management and being able to distil them down into highly informative and fast-paced lectures – often using “storytelling” techniques.
Former Chief Executive, Howdens Joinery
Matthew Ingle recently retired of Chief Executive of Howdens Joinery, a company he founded in 1995 with 14 depots and a first-year turnover of £1million. By 2018 the company had 720 depots, a turnover of £1.5billion and pre-tax profits of £250million. A company with a niche market selling kitchens direct to tradespeople, it is an example of a great organisation with an exciting vision, clear business plan, dynamic culture and high performing leadership.
Author and Executive Coach
Whitney Johnson is one of the 50 leading business thinkers in the world (Thinkers50) and an expert on disruptive innovation and personal disruption, a framework codified in the critically-acclaimed book Disrupt Yourself: Putting the Power of Disruptive Innovation to Work as well as the award-winning Build an “A” Team: Play To Their Strengths and Lead Them Up the Learning Curve. Her proprietary framework and diagnostics were developed after co-founding the Disruptive Innovation Fund with Harvard Business School’s Clayton Christensen.