Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Recapping the design process.

O K, so in the past few weeks I've written about how to get started designing more effective organizations using the steps outlined below;

- revisiting and refreshing the organization's purpose.

- developing strategies to influence customers, competitors, investors, employees and the broader community in ways that will make it possible to achieve that purpose.

- identifying key employee behaviors and capabilities essential to success.

- creating an operating philosophy that will encourage and support those behaviors.

- agreeing on guidelines to be used in designing jobs, boundaries, decision authority, information flow, reward systems, and developing operating policies and practices that will encourage the desired behaviors.

I suggested that each of these steps involve members of senior management, because as venture capitalists are prone to say, "If the light ain't on at the top, it's dim all the way down." Mostly, this involvement entails pulling learning from previous experiences out of people instead of pushing new ideas into them. I've found the challenge in setting this up is in finding ways to get people to tell me what I would have told them. In this context, asking the right question is more powerful and persuasive than providing a prepackaged answer.

The final step in this first part is to understand the business's distinctive competence, that is, how it plans to be different and better than its competitors.

I'll deal with this tomorrow.

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