Does Your Organization Add Any Value? How Do You Know?
In yesterday’s post, there is the beginning of a discussion about networks or ‘hubs’ of professionals . I don’t want to bring that discussion to a halt, but in this post, I’d like to explore one specific question that arises from the discussion.
If you are an organization (let’s say a company or a firm) made up of professionals who are mobile and can take both their skills and their book of business elsewhere, how would you go about judging or measuring whether your organization was adding any value above and beyond the sum total of the individual talents (or books of business) of all the individual players?
In other words, how do you tell whether the organization is contributing anything?
It’s been a long time since I was an academic, but I do remember that there was a lot of work around measuring the EVA (economic value added) in corporations. Does anyone know if this can be readily be applied to professional environments?
I can imagine asking people whether they THINK their organization is helping them succeed more than they could either on their own or (probably a better question) at another firm. I can then imagine asking them IN WHAT SPECIFIC WAYS do they think they are benefitting from belonging to one organization. But that’s pretty sooft stuff.
I know there are real differences between firms in this regard. My old model of “Hunters and Farmers” (written in 1985 but included in Managing the Professionals Service Firm ) analyzed the difference between firms of autonomous entrepreneurs (‘hunters’) and firms where the value was emebedded in the organization and everyone worked to make the overall entity succeed (‘Farmers’ or ‘One-Firm Firms’)
I can usually tell pretty quickly when I visit a firm where on that spectrum they are, but I haven’t (yet) thought through a way of assessing it so that (a) managers inside the firm can judge whether they are making progress in building a firm that is cohesive and adds value beyond bringing in the right warlords and (b) observers and analysts could compare the progress of different firms in this regard.
Does anyone want to propose some metrics on measuring or judging ‘value of the organization?’