We’re just back from 5 weeks in Europe and plenty of new input from clients and conversations with universities. We’ll be reporting back on all that.
One of the themes that comes up regularly in our work is that of purpose. This is because we generally start a relationship with a new client by analyzing where they are stuck today and how to move forward towards a more sustainable and satisfying future. In order to do this, we help them to verbalize a precise goal that reflects their purpose in the world.
Purpose and goal
Writing a goal in our approach has nothing to do with just slapping on a mission statement or verbalizing wishful thinking. It is a deep process that starts with the ‘raw material’ of all the things that are not right in the current reality of an organization. In the Theory of Constraints these ‘symptoms’ are called Undesirable Effects. That may sound a bit negative, but in fact it provides us with exactly the material we need to dig right down to the core of what’s undesirable about the current reality and what, instead, an ideal reality would look like. With this information, we can move on to help those involved in the process verbalize with precision the two legitimate, unalienable needs that they are trying to protect. These are their deep drivers and one has to do with control (and fear) while the other has to do with desire and vision. It is by identifying correctly these two needs that we can then derive a realistic goal that represents the purpose of the organization.
Where do we go from here?
So now we have a clear idea of purpose and needs, we can follow a structured thinking process to figure out why the organization is stuck and how to break free of that prison, or ‘cognitive constraint’ as we have come to call it.
This involves surfacing all the assumptions (mental models) that lead the organization to be stuck. Once these are out in the open, we have the material we need to take the next step: find breakthrough solutions by invalidating the assumptions that keep the organization stuck in an undesirable reality so it can move towards a clearly identified desired reality. With the aid of some very robust Thinking Process Tools, we then have the opportunity to map out a complete roadmap for transformation to keep the organization continuously oriented towards its goal/purpose. See Building the Core Conflict Cloud by Dr. Domenico Lepore).
What is a brand?
For an organization to be successful in everything it does there needs to be a one-on-one correspondence between its purpose and brand. Anything less will lead companies to make decisions and take actions that are fragmented and even contradictory. This fragmentation is compounded whenever silos dominate. Instead, organizations need to shift towards a whole system approach that allows their purpose/brand to be expressed throughout the flow of all of its activities in a connected way.
This kind of unity of brand and purpose, when applied through a more holistic, customer-oriented organizational approach, will lead inevitably to more coordinated actions and a more satisfying customer experience. Indeed, it will benefit the entire value chain.
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About the Author
Angela Montgomery Ph.D. is Partner and Co-founder of Intelligent Management, founded by Dr. Domenico Lepore. She is co-author with Dr. Domenico Lepore and Dr. Giovanni Siepe of ‘Quality, Involvement, Flow: The Systemic Organization’ from CRC Press, New York. Angela’s new business novel+ website The Human Constraint looks at how the Deming approach and the Theory of Constraints can create the organization of the future, based on collaboration, network and social innovation.