In business, like many things in life, everything is interconnected. What happens in one part of your operation will ultimately affect a different part. That’s why it’s so important that all the different components are working as smoothly as possible. The same applies for the people in your business. They need to be communicating with each other.
Here’s a good example of this at work, from a few years back.
In 1986, shortly after he was forced out of Apple, Steve Jobs bought a small computer manufacturer called Pixar. In 2000 he relocated the company to an old canning factory. The original plan called for three buildings, with separate offices for computer scientists, animators, and the Pixar executives. Jobs decided to scrap it. Instead of three buildings, there was going to be a single vast space, with an atrium at its centre.
As Ed Catmull, President of Pixar said: “The philosophy behind this design is that it’s good to put the most important function at the heart of the building. Well, what’s our most important function? It’s the interaction of our employees. That’s why Steve put a big empty space there. He wanted to create an open area for people to always be talking to each other.”
The primary challenge for Pixar, as Jobs saw it, was getting its different cultures to work together and collaborate. John Lasseter, the chief creative officer at Pixar, puts the equation this way: “Technology inspires art, and art challenges the technology.” Jobs understood that the best solutions occur when people from separate fields are connected, especially in an age of fragmentation.
What lessons are there here for your business? It is to ensure that all the different parts of your organization are talking to each other, and therefore working together. That is the thinking behind BGI’s Strategy on a Page, being able to bring all areas of your business together, so that you can see what’s happening in an instant.
The key components of your company – Sales, Marketing, Operations, Finance and Talent, need to be as unified as possible. People from different departments need to talk to one another, they need to be united. If you simply focus your efforts on the area your best at, paying lip service to the others, it can come back to bite you.
You may not need to go to the lengths Steve Jobs went to and have all your operations in the same space, but to grow value in your business, it’s worth asking yourself a few questions – how often do your teams talk to each other? Is your business run in a way that makes this easy? Is there conflict between departments? Do you focus more attention on some areas of your operation than others? Do you feel your departments are all pulling in the same direction?
By improving communication between your teams, you can resolve problems faster, you can get behind your company purpose, your strategy will be aligned, you can raise morale, and last, but not least, you can grow value.