Bring “Balance” to Your Organization
Today’s blog post is written by Kevin Patterson, Senior Account Executive, PatronManager.
My teenage daughter is a Star Wars junkie. She is obsessed with the films and can recite large sections of dialogue from each movie at the drop of a hat! The other day we were watching The Last Jedi when something struck me. It was the scene where Luke Skywalker begins to teach Rey about “the force” and how it is a delicate balance between the dark side and the light. My daughter was reciting the dialogue along with Luke and Rey right on cue — I looked at her and jokingly said that the force was out of balance as there should only be two actors in the scene! But as a former arts administrator and executive, it got me thinking about the balancing act that is running a successful arts organization.
While there are many different ways to approach thinking about a balanced organization (i.e., one that achieves success and long-term sustainability), one model that I find myself coming back to time and time again is the “Golden Triangle.” It is an operational model that was created a number of years ago by American cryptographer, Bruce Schneier. Since this concept was introduced, there have been many books that have touched on various aspects of it — Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don’t by author Jim Collins is a good example for reference.
The Golden Triangle is made up of three points: People, Process, and Technology. For Bruce Schneier, these three points in proper balance represent an organization that is operationally efficient. With a balanced or optimized level of efficiency, an organization can easily react to adversity and adapt more quickly to a changing business environment. Let’s take a deeper look at the three points of the Golden Triangle, what they mean, and how you should approach them in regard to your organization:
People are at the heart of any successful organization; without them, it would be pretty impossible to get anything accomplished. In thinking about the people in your organization, consider the following:
- Who are your key role players?
- What role does each person play in your organization?
- Does your organization have a culture that encourages everyone to have a voice?
- Do the people in your organization have the necessary skills and attitude to help solve your business problems?
Once you have the “right people on the bus in the right seats” as author Jim Collins says in Good to Great, it is time to think about how your organization operates. Remember, a process is merely a series of steps that are taken to achieve an end. Think about the following:
- What are the key processes your organization undertakes on a daily basis? Think big picture, like producing a large event, exhibition, or performance.
- What processes need to be in place to solve your day-to-day business problems?
- How often are your processes reviewed to make sure that they still align with how you want to go about achieving your goals?
With the right people and processes in place you can now look at the role technology plays:
- Does your technology support how your organization is doing business? The technology you use must have the ability to adapt to an ever-changing environment; if it can’t adapt, then seek out a solution that will provide you with greater operational flexibility.
- What types of technology are in place to support your operations? If you are constantly going back and forth between different systems to collate information, it might be time to start thinking about unifying them under a single solution.
- If you already have technology in place, is it being universally adopted across all of your departments? Lack of adoption can cause major losses in efficiency as nonadopters opt for workarounds.
By considering these three points and evaluating how your organization is addressing them, you can start down a path to success and long-term sustainability. Turn toward the operational light and away from dysfunctional darkness by bringing balance to your organization.