Mission & Role

From Arie de Geus, and his work on 'The Living Company' to Collins and Porras and their book 'Built to Last' the evidence is mounting that the most succesful organisations are those with a clear sense of mission and role - a clear sense of purpose. Just as we recognise that people who are not clear on what they are trying to do are less effective than those who do, we can see exactly the same effect in organisations - confusion over real customer needs, internal rivalry, wasted effort, and a lack of common enthusiasm and passion. Our task as management is to find our niche (the market space we want to make our own), to develop a compelling logic for our purpose there, and to inspire our people to work together with each other and with our customers on fully realising that purpose (For more on purpose, click here).

There are a number of tools reflected on this site which will help you to work with your people and your managment team to clarify your mission and role, and to translate these into compelling purpose - some of these are focused on insight, and some are more about the mechanics of developing and defining a clear sense of purpose.

The tools that are shown on the 'Mission & Role' panel of the Big Picture are:

Why-How charting (PowerPoint file 259KB), a tool which helps a group of people work together to explore how their individual pictures of what is important (and how the organisation works) can be pulled together into one common picture, where the relationships between individual objectives can be seen to make sense within a much deeper understanding of what the organisation is trying to do.

Kano Analysis, an excellent concept which helps people think through customer requirements (many of which are unspoken) in a practical way which helps management to guage where the most productive focus will be, and to develop effective strategies for future customer satisfaction.

Interviews & Analysis, tools which can help to develop a structured ans systematic picture of the customers' situation and needs, and how well they are currently being fulfilled. Basic versions of customer interview and questionnaire forms can be downloaded by clicking the relevant link, and these can be edited to suit your (and more importantly your customers') needs. (269 & 624KB MS Word Files)

The Stakeholder Survey is simply a means of extending the approach being proposed here for customers to embrace all of the key business stakeholders - customers, partners, suppliers, staff, shareholders, etc. As a first pass it is useful to do this by means of a radial diagram an post-it notes - as per the pale blue diagram in the Mission & Role panel - and to encourage your team to post up their understanding of the key stakeholder needs. Areas of uncertainty, confusion and disagreement can then be explored with the relevant stakeholders in a focused and efficient manner.

Pages 266-270 of Managing by Design can be found in Chapter 16, which can be read as a pdf file (124KB) by clicking the link above.

Chapter 1 of How To Build A Better Business can be read as a pdf file by clicking here.

Blank templates of this panel can be found in the Big Picture Storyboard file - these can be used to capture your own experiences and progress in this area (by annotating them either in PowerPoint, or as a printed panel), and then to physically cut and paste them onto the Big Picture to create your own storyboard of implementing systematic management in your organisation.

To explore another secion of the big picture, please click on the relevant area of the image below:

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