We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit. Aristotle
Not surprisingly, an organization is successful because it is organized to be that way. Unlike groups that are primarily defined by the individuals making up the group, an organization's essential character--including its Success Chain--is largely independent of the personalities of a particular membership.
The Balancing Act (TBA) process recognizes the impact of institutional processes and habits, while also noting that the beliefs and actions of individuals play a large role in sustaining the character of the organization. Strengthening the organizational Success Chain, in large part, comes down to making individuals aware of the Elements of Success that are vital for the organization's well-being, and finding ways for them to contribute personally to the organization's improvement and success over time.
The first step in the TBA process is assessing the current state of its Success Chain. Unlike directly asking people about their own character, assessing an organization requires many people--mostly members, but perhaps outside others--to reflect on the organization as a whole from their individual perspective. Except in special cases, no one person or internal group can be expected to have an unbiased perspective on the nature of the organization. By surveying many different parts of the organization about the elements in its Success Chain, then combining and comparing the results from vaarious parts or the organization, a comprehensive and valuable view of organizational strengths and weaknesses can emerge.
After assessment, a critical next step is restoring balance in the organizational Success Chain. Organizations, particularly those that have been in existence a long time, will have extensive organizational memory of what has worked well in the past and what is considered "normal." Because of the social and psychological factors involved, it is often easier to replicate previous organizational responses to challenges--even if these are not entirely satisfactory--than try out new (and as yet unproven) approaches to these challenges. Over time, however, such ingrained corporate habits can become harmful imbalances that reduce the chances of effectively responding to new challenges on the way to success. The organizational assessment provides the starting point for the TBA process that will help organizational leaders initiate changes that are aimed at restoring the balance and vitality of the whole organization.
Because the coordination of efforts of so many people depend on the clarity of the elements in the organization's Success Chain (e.g., identity, values, vision, mission, etc.), conspicuous alignment of these elements across and through the levels of the organization is paramount. We call the TBA process component related to achieving this clarity and synergy Multi-dimensional Strategic Alignment (MDSA). Ideal MDSA ensures that every person and group within the organization is aware of and committed to the mutually-reinforcing "win-win" relationships among all the paths to success at each level of the organization.
Organizations present unique challenges for managing change. In most cases, the organization itself cannot change or be changed directly. Rather, organizations change indirectly through persistent and sustained changes of thoughts and habits of individuals that, over time and collectively, will alter institutional processes. Because of the deliberate transparency of the TBA process and supporting assessments, managing organizational change becomes much easier and decidely more effective than peice-meal approaches to change.
Organizational change that directs organizational attention on developing and balancing the elements of the Success Chain through multi-dimensional strategic alignment is a substantial undertaking with the potential for great reward. The organization's leaders need regular measurement of success to gage progress, alert them to necessary course-corrections, signal ongoing refinement of approach, instill confidence throughout the system, and inspire sustained effort to grow and improve. The TBA process incorporates assessments and other forms of feedback to ensure that Success Chain improvements do not degenerate intoanother passing and ineffective management fad, but instead become a powerful tool for sustainable change and breakthrough results.