Aligning Potential

The 'Aligning Potential' panel is one of two panels that straddle the 'Intent' and 'Planning' columns of the Big Picture. The potential of your people and the development of that potential is (depending on how forward thinking your organisation is in this regard) both a goal of the organisation, and an essential part of the planning process to deliver that goal, particularly if the plans are to be innovative and audacious. (For more on developing people and their potential, click here).

The people section of the site also outlines some basic principles to help you think through how to best work with the potential of your people, and contains a number of useful tools to help you put those principles into practice.

In addition to this, the panel above reflects a number of ideas which are specifically focused on ensuring that the potential you create, is productively aligned with what you are trying to achieve. See below:

Cascade Deployment is a mechanism for objective setting which far from imposing targets on people, encourages them to fully understand what is needed, and then to adopt more creative, and often more challenging targets for themselves - thereby building a deeper sense of ownership and commitment over the goals, and the potential for more innovative and far-reaching fulfilment of them. The diagram on the panel illustrates well the essentials of the process. The site contains a number of useful resources to support you in the cascade deployment approach: explanatory slides (158 KB), two case studies which illustrate the cascade: Aligning Business Focus and Building Full Commitment (157 & 164 KB), a session plan for a cascade workshop (190 KB), and a slide deck, proposal form, and an example of a process proposal (106, 34 & 38 KB).

Teamworking Processes are a very flexible and effective mechanism to develop and align potential. Careful selection of the team, and appropriate defininition of the task can build alignment both with a specific objective and, through more fundamental insight and understanding, at a deeper level with the longer term purposes and values of the organisation. This idea is explored in greater depth in a short discussion paper (44 KB). The diagram on the panel, reflects the four key elements of effective teams, and thus emphasises the inherent role of effective teamwork on aligning potential to objectives. The site also contains a simple set of slides which illustrate this in more detail, and helps people to arrive at this conclusion for themsleves (225 KB).

Value Sets, whether you recognise them and work with them or not, are a vital part of aligning potential (or failing to do so). As reported in the section on philosophy “Organisations get the behaviours they reward which are rarely those they desire”. Two resources that we hope you will find useful in developing a value set which does align potential, are a slide set (128 KB) of an exercise to help a management team think through their value set and how to implement it, and a self-analysis form (86 KB) which looks at how management behaviours align with the needs of a systematic management approach, and provides guidance on this. Still at an experimental stage, we also have a further values self analysis tool (32 KB) which you might like to use as a basis for reflection.

The Top-Box plan (11 KB) is a simple tool which helps you to think through both the opportunities, and the approach to delegation (in order to ensure both use and alignment of potential). It is based on a simple acronym, so as to aid retention, and to remind the user of their intention to get into the top box or to the 'meta' level..

Pages 148-170 of Managing by Design can be found in Chapter 10, which can be read as a pdf file (124KB) by clicking the link above.

Chapter 5 and Chapter 6 of How To Build A Better Business can be read as pdf files by clicking the relevant link.

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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