The Running Commentary

Interdependency and the effect on the organisation….


This post has been around in my over worked and under paid mind for some time. It surfaces each time I work with other divisions within my business. Usually the experience is quite good, but from time to time I am left hugely frustrated by an apparent lack of delivery by one or other party.

This occasional feeling got me thinking about one of the challenges that face a business when it has several divisions that make up the whole and the effect that each has on the overall success. 

Our business as a whole experienced their most successful year in their trading history this past year. There were however several divisions that were not successful.

I have now taken on the mantle of one of these divisions as part of the division that I was running. A few days into the job and I can see why they have battled. The management seemed to be screwed by everyone else, in the other divisions, in order for these individuals to make their own divisions profitable.  The root cause of this seems to lie in the way that each division is incentivised but this is certainly not the only reason. I am fast approaching the point where I believe that internal divisions are treated differently to external suppliers.

It appears that the expectation is that service, quality and price should be the same as an external supplier but the liaison between the two parties is one of “well your are a colleague”. Respect flies out of the window and the talk is very much one directional.

An example given to me this morning was “Tell them that they have to match the price so that we can maintain our margin” This comment ultimately gave rise to this post as it appears as if there is no intention to compromise or even the opportunity to dialogue. I am of the view that this lack of working together ultimately destroys value instead of creating it.

As I understand it the particular division does not actually have an external vendor to do it at the price quoted, additionally my division has been told that we had been given the order already. This interaction has left me reeling a little but I am sure I will get over it. In the meantime I will be working with other divisions to see if we can meet the revised goalpost.

Certainly a multi disciplined organisation has some great strengths but faces intense communication battles.  Respect needs to be worked in order to ensure that the value is not destroyed.

 I fear that I may have been one of these guys in the past and will be working on trying to bridge the gap.

So it would be interesting to see what other organisations have experience in this regard?


Mike • July 22, 2009

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