“Catalytic mechanisms” are the term created by Jim Collins for organizational mechanisms that are extraordinarily powerful at aligning a business behind a chosen strategy. They are distinguished from other organizational tools by the following:
- Simple to implement
- Operate automatically
- Powerful – Can’t be ignored
When is it useful?
“Catalytic Mechanisms” are high leverage ways for the CEO to directly architect their organization. When embarking on a strategy that requires a broad change in behaviour, catalytic mechanisms should be the first organizational tool considered because of their power and simplicity.
An example Jim Collins quotes is Granite Rock’s “Short Pay” whereby any customer is entitled to deduct the relevant amount from the invoice for any element that they are not happy with. This simple mechanism ensures that everyone in Granite Rock is committed to customer service, creates a corporate alignment that millions of $ spent on customer service training could never achieve.
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