If you were to gather together all the VPs, Executive staff, and Board of Directors of any business and ask their response to “What is the most important department in a business?”; you would likely hear a plethora of one-sided arguments by department heads claiming that either their respective department is most critical, or the one that directly feeds them (information, material, budget, etc.) is most critical.
While this might be considered a fun discussion, it would not likely bring any long-term benefit to the business. Rather than arguing about which department IS most important; I prefer to look at it from a different, more simple perspective.
What is the most important aspect of a bicycle? Is it the wheels/spokes/tires, steering/braking, pedals/chain/gears, the frame, or even the seat? It is quite easy to understand that these are ALL EQUALLY IMPORTANT!
More crucially, they are all interconnected.
The pedals/chain/gears are what turn energy into movement, while the wheels/spokes/tires are where the proverbial rubber meets the road. The steering/braking bring tremendous benefits of balance, control, and direction. While the frame gives the structure that holds everything together; it is all a waste without a proper seat.
To forgo any one of these ‘departments’ would result in something that might resemble, but could not be considered a bicycle.
Businesses need departments that specialize in marketing, sales, people, production, administration, accounting, financing, people, and more. Neither is most important as they are all equally important. Like a bicycle; disastrous results occur when they are not aligned within a proper framework or structure.
Keeping with the analogy, each of these departments will make their best contributions as they are tweaked and expertly maintained. Incorporating new concepts like social media marketing or data analytics is just like upgrading to newer components. These innovations make tremendous impact on a couple departments, but rarely induce organization-wide changes.
Whether you are riding a bicycle or running a business, it is important to remember to have fun, stay focused on why you are doing it, and share the joy with others.
(Please remember to wear your helmet.)