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  • Writer's pictureTjaart Minnaar

Building a thriving and sustainable business through leadership consistency

Updated: May 28, 2021

The balance between organisational and operational effectiveness as core leadership capabilities is the key.

To thrive in a highly competitive market, businesses need their leaders to spend their time and energy doing the right things effectively. However, the challenge facing most businesses is that their managers are often operationally strong but organisationally weak - focusing much more on operational processes than on people and culture processes.

Put simply, operational effectiveness is all about achieving operational goals and targets through managing people resources and establishing and extending best operating practices. It’s about using the combined efforts of people and technologies to achieve goals and continually do things better. It is about delivering operational results (cost, quality, service) today and every day.

Organisational effectiveness is about aligning the organisation with your strategic intent and aligning the hearts and minds of your people to your brand and intent. It’s about creating a growth mindset and building people capabilities and culture as a competitive advantage. This combined creates depth and sustainability in the long run.

How do your leaders compare?

  • Low on organisational and operational effectiveness. Managers in this quadrant pose a serious risk to your business. You need to understand how they got there, is it due to an error of judgment or because of gaps in your organisational systems. Rethink your recruitment, selection and development processes if you have people like this in your business.

  • High on organisational effectiveness but low on operational effectiveness. Managers in this quadrant are usually younger and more inexperienced. While they have the credentials and theoretical knowledge, they are not yet street-wise. They can be moved along the horizontal axis through coaching and mentoring to channel their energy and potential.

  • High on operational effectiveness but low on organisational effectiveness. Managers in this quadrant know how to get the job done. They achieve weekly and monthly targets, driving short-term profitability, and are often promoted due to their technical expertise and ability to deliver results. However, they are ill-equipped or lack the will to lead others and are not focused on developing the people and behaviours needed to build a long-term thriving culture.

The reality is that they commonly become untouchable because their leaders are afraid to rock the boat and would rather maintain the status quo than risk losing the functional capabilities. This results in them becoming leadership role models, thereby perpetuating the situation. These managers can add far more value to building a sustainable organisation if you can move their knowledge, understanding and skills into the top right-hand quadrant.

  • High on operational and organisational effectiveness. This is where you want your managers to be. As the custodians of your leadership standard, they are responsible for ‘walking the talk’ and setting an example of how things should be done. They understand that a strong culture creates sustainable operational performance and tend to spend more time on people and culture processes - such as engaging, empowering and developing their teams - so that their people can deliver the operational results. They have the ability to operate in both quadrants and dive deeper into each when required.

Managers who visibly and credibly lead effective people and culture processes, from talent and performance management down to how team meetings are conducted, will create a trickle-down effect and establish a consistent culture and value system in your business. When these managers become the role models it perpetuates sustainable success.

How do you move the majority of your leaders into the correct quadrant to make your business a sustainable and thriving one?

  1. Define your leadership standard; the behaviours and practises you expect of leaders that will determine your company culture over time.

  2. Assess them against this standard; create continuous feedback loops and put development plans in place.

  3. Ensure that your incentive schemes support the right behaviours; balance your incentives to make provision for organisational and operational achievements.

  4. Set up organisational systems to support the right behaviour; for example, build your performance management system on an underlying philosophy of care and growth versus “rank and yank”.

To know more about how to move your managers up the effectiveness axis and develop the right kinds of capabilities – talk to us. In the next blog post, we are going to explore how to mobilise your people and review some useful tools that can help you kick-start a high-performance growth culture.

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About the author: Tjaart Minnaar, CEO and Leadership Development expert at 2Collaborate

Tjaart has spent 35 years in business and consulting conceptualising, designing and implementing solutions to improve business and individual performance. The success has been highlighted by several of his clients winning Deloitte’s Best Company To Work For Survey, overall or in their industry categories.

Get to know more about Tjaart on LinkedIn ttps://


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