Pulling an organization out of a “glut” can be difficult. When everyone on the team is working hard and employee morale is strong; when your operations are hitting their marks and sales goals are in the green. So why is it we are struggling to hit our margins?
When our environment changes and our systems remain unchanged, it can lead to disaster. Frequently these changes come on so slowly they are not acted upon until it is too late. One way to avoid disaster is the use of Red Teams.
Red Teaming has been used by the U.S. military for decades.
A Red Team is an independent group that challenges an organization to improve its effectiveness by assuming an adversarial role or point of view. It is particularly effective in organizations with strong cultures and fixed ways of approaching problems.
Red Teaming can be used to tackle the status quo when the world is changing and the organization is stagnant. When operations are consistent or meeting goals and divisions are performing, then its time to see what’s going on “out there”. Questioning everything from what market segments to focus on to which products and services to market to core organizational structure, red teams help us reimagine how we operate.
Just imagine how much stronger the railroad systems in the United States would be if they had thought of themselves as transportation and logistics providers when the interstate road systems were built instead of railroad logistics providers? Imagine ….
Not all shifts in our environments lead to collapse of industries, but minor shifts in our business environment can lead to reduced margins and loss of market share. A Red Team can be called into action through the following process:
- Identify Weakness(es)
- Recruit a Red Team
- Give the Red Team Full Access & Step Away
- Review Red Team Conclusions
- Identify Changes to Implement
- Develop Plan, Communicate Plan, Implement Plan
Note that through this process it is not the organizational leadership’s responsibility to find the core problem, or identify the conclusions. It is the job of the organizations leadership to put an outside individual or group in place to come in with a fresh set of eyes to identify operational and strategic weaknesses and threats. After receiving their conclusions, it is the job of leadership to develop a set of changes to implement and a change implementation plan, usually with the Red Team’s consultation. Of course all of this is useless if the leadership cannot develop a coherent plan, communicate the plan, and lead through the change.
While we have seen the process run in as short as three months and take as long as three years, we find a typical Red Team process takes six months to a year for a typical business use. For more information on Red Teaming, check out our Red Team Checklist or contact us for information on our services.