Friday, 17 October 2008

Articles of Faith

  1. Alignment, alignment, alignment. All great organisations succeed through huge alignment and consistency around what they're trying to do.
  2. The core of any business is the customer offer - what they do and crucially also don't do for customers. This is what everyone and everything aligns around.
  3. The organisation's mission/purpose/vision underlies all activities including the offer. It acts as a stable foundation, changing very rarely. But necessarily it's therefore a bit abstract. Something to check on occassionally, rather than stay focussed on.
  4. Having a vision that's all about making money for shareholders isn't all that motivating. Great organisations tend to have a purpose beyond that.
  5. Values are the shared assumptions in the organisation that shape behaviours - the everyday actions that bring the customer promise to life.
  6. An organisation may have one or more brands with their own 'brand values', and a separate set of 'organisational values'. But if so these should really just be different articulations of the same thing. Allowing the marketing department to make a promise without the internal alignment to back it up if one of the cardinal sins of business.
  7. All organisations have an implicit vision and values (as perceived by employees) and offer (as perceived by customers). Many organisations also have articulated, written down, ones. Businesses with a big gap between their implicit and articulated statements are fooling themselves.
  8. The only purpose of articulating these things is to stimulate discussion and subsequently alignment.
  9. Strategy is what you're going to offer, to who (which customers). Tactics, goals, KPIs, strategic objectives and all of that are about the how.
  10. When I talk about alignment, I mean the seamless integration of all the elements mentioned above.
  11. All of the above are about relationships, ideas and decisions. There are also flows of money - revenue, costs, profit, value chains etc. (I tend to think this all happens within how, but think that's still up for debate).
  12. There are also flows of information - insight, feedback, sales data etc. This feeds into the why and what and from them into how.
  13. It's an iterative processes - businesses tend to go round the diagram in loops improving their alignment.

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