Tag Archives: structure

We are still not getting the basics of strategy right, are we?

14 Oct

We need to do this strategic, we have a strategy, and it’s our strategy… You hear about it all the time. Executives like to say “strategy” this “strategy“ that, we hear it a lot, then it sounds big, complicated and even important.

When in fact it is far from it…strategy is not always complicated

Strategy in itself – at the basic level – is very simple actually; it’s dealing with the details that can make it seem complicated.

We seem to get stuck in the details of the scheme mostly, and not really in strategy making itself.

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Building better organizations…

13 Mar

Building better organizations with healthier productive people requires insight, and experience.

The sociological perspective is crucial for working in todays multiethnic and multinational business environments. Strategic planning and decision processes should end with objectives and a roadmap of ways to achieve them. The goal of strategic planning; is to increase operational effectiveness overall – holistically -, to eliminate waist, especially when long-term and high-stake activities are involved. When these two elements don’t meet – organisational / industrial psychology and strategy -, we get to see all the good, the bad, and the ugly in human nature….erupt.

Taking some time, and evaluating the usefulness, and application of both, by unpacking them, could bring us to some new insights.

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Business Modelling

12 Jan

Strategic Planning; the Business of applying and finding Best Practices and Business Models.

First off, we are not talking about a business plan here, that’s something totally different. We are talking about a business model.

Strategic planning has to become a systematic and procedural affair to become an effective management tool.

We have to model the very process of strategic management for our organisations, and our selves first.  So that it becomes one “game plan” for all to use and identify with, with one set of rules, played and followed by all.

This brings about perfection, and unity of effort. Anything else is just scattered mumbo-jumbo. Where we have diverged strategic models of design in one habitat, we end up with diverging effort, and over utilisation of resources, conflicting efforts – very little else delivers like unity of effort.

What are these best practices, or business models we speak of?

A business model or business practice or best practice is this;

  1. best practice is a method or technique that has consistently shown results
  2. best practice is a technique or methodology that, through experience and research, has been proven to reliably lead to a desired result
  3. best practice is the recognized methods of correctly running businesses or providing services
  4. A Business model is The plan implemented by a company to generate revenue and make a profit from operations
  5. A business model isn’t something you build from the ground up
  6. A business model is a document describing the operations of a business including the components of the business, the functions, and design.

Best practices could be seen as the tactics and Models as the strategy of the business…

  • Tactics; are how we do things we planned, with what we have, in the time we have been given
  • Strategy; is with what, where, when, and how we want things done, as well as who get to do it and how much will it cost.
  • This requires structure, and systems, to merge both tactics and strategy with.

Models requires systems design

Creating systems; is a business process – that of systems design. Here we look at best practices to base our design on. A best practice is a method or technique that has consistently shown results superior to those achieved via other means, and becomes a benchmark or standard to which a task must comply with.

In addition, a “best” practice can also evolve to become better – with the use of technology -as improvements are discovered. The process of developing and following a standard way of doing things that multiple people can use – saves time and money in training – and error finding. It creates steps, a recipe to follow, with measures of time and ingredients, that translates into a process that becomes part of a system, working to deliver a result.

Systems follow logical steps, translating into logical action that then becomes action plans or items.  Action plans are subordinate to strategic plans, they give action to the planning, with the use of systems, resources, logistics, financial value (cost), time frames, to deliver a pre-set outcome – that delivers a required specific result or output over time…

PROCCESSES ARE PROCDURAL; their aim is to create order, and structured work flow and packages. Only where work is broken up and distributed as packaged to create a chain of events that delivers a result, can we talk about systems design then.  

Strategic planning has to become a best practice, and have a business model, in our management sphere today, for us to have any cardinal use for it.

This can be done when we have a system for design that everyone follows when designing a strategic plan. This is for establish organisations only. New and emerging will follow a totally different paradigm.

The steps are;

  1. Asses your history; so that you may not repeat the same mistakes made in the past…
  2. Determine your customer; are they still our customer and why, if not, who is and why, focus, on fulfilling wants, needs, and requirements. Review your market share and start prospecting with new markets. Get a grasp on new entrants, technology and product.
  3. Asses your current situation; with an environmental scan and project where you will be, and then want to be. Then predict your cost effectiveness and survivability.
  4. Perform a GAP analysis; devise four scenarios; worst case, better, ideal, and ultimate.  
  5. Question your business assumptions; what are we doing right, good, wrong and not at all? What should we be doing more off and then also less of? To eliminate waste.
  6. Evaluate your current structure; is it still in line with the current strategy? (or even the original structure). Perform a CAPS analysis; Concept Attributes, Perception, Systems – Analysis to find the deficits and strengths. Attributes that will typically emerge are;
    1.     Alienation of core function and focus; change in directions have alienated the core function, we need to redesign or
    2.     Structure is not efficient and effective anymore
    3.     Technology has changed and
    4.     Under resourced
    5.     Red tape, administrative chock points
    6.     Lack of focus and drive
    7.     Lack of experience and expertise
    8.     Lack of capacity and or ability
    9.     Lack of training, or sub standard training
    10.     Lack of direction and effective managing
    11.     Total collapse of support functions
    12.     Lack of command and control
    13.     Maintenance and repair has lapsed or fallen behind
    14.     Too much diversification
    15.     Calibration; of the vision and mission statement, is this still what we want, need, and do?
    16.     Calibration of the culture, the values and principles we hold onto as organisation
    17.     Perform a needs assessment, what do we need to become…

10. Determine the main future thrust and focus, the core business, from today on and forward..

  1.     Projects that need to get special attention to realign the organisation;

                                          i.    Identify; KPA – Key Performance Areas, and KPC Key performance Criteria

                                        ii.    Quantify: Who, What, Where, When, How, and How much

                                       iii.    Qualify: That this is the best course of action, research, test assumptions, mediate, consult, train, teach, staff, equip and implement…in phases…evaluate and fine tune.

                                       iv.    Budget; work out the budget

  1.     Operations cost
  2.     Insurance
  3.     Training needs and requirements
  4.     Infrastructure and logistics
  5.     Transport and telecoms etc…

11. Define responsibility and accountability, enter into contracts, and draw up new job descriptions, structures, positions, and posts. Interview and assign/ place.

12. Educate and communicate, network and teach, mentoring and counselling, enforce discipline.

13. Manage and measure, day to day action plans –track  progress, rollout, and KPA’s

14. Revise, and repair

15. Develop a medium, long and extra long range consecutive plan

16. Monitor the progress

17. Have strategic reviews at least quarterly

18. Have tactical reviews weekly

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Combining Management Principles with Disaster Management Aspects

9 May

Stop wasting time by creating mountains of elaborate planning, do it right, or just don’t do it at all.

Far too many disaster management plans are drawn up daily just for the sake of having one, because it is somehow “required”. Even more are drawn up costing thousands and are never implemented. The reason for this is they could not interface, or connect with structures and systems existing. 

What is a Disaster Management Plan?

First off, what is a disaster? Here is a short definition; A disaster is classified as being either natural or man-made. That has impact on a developed population’s infrastructure, housing, farms, or livelihood that destroys most of it, and caused extensive loss of human life, or drastically changes the landscape, environment, or economy of a region…

Now we can ask, what is a disaster management plan then? In simple terms; a disaster management plan encompasses more than just disaster readiness and planning aspects, it is very specific. Both in terms of being;
·         Industry specific,
·         Event specific,
·         Country specific and even
·         Language specific
·         Format specific…
It has characteristics of the environment it dictates to.  It connects via an identified or perceived threat or risk that it will, could or should address, if it transpires, alternatively, its preventative and mitigating.

Whenever contemplating preparing for “disasters”; in any form, be it small or large, then the way to deal with planning is to look at the composition of emergency and disaster management entities, and services existing in your area, and having a look at their planning first. Then only decide whether your contemplated plan will fit, or even add value. Any plan needs to fit in with both any local government, provincial, and even national governments plans, as well as their organs/ departments of state, in order to add value, or to even matter, and moreover make sense – it needs to close a gap, not open one. Other NGO’s  and industry stakeholders, and watch dogs are also custodians, like the Civil Aviation Authority etc… Continue reading

Unearthing Traditional Thinking on Strategic Alignment

8 Apr

If you slice and dice any strategy; then it just becomes a planned “fruit salad”


We need structures and functions to be sterile. Over segmentation and the division of the organisation into more or less autonomous strategic business units, that specialise, and start doing things that are not traditionally their function, with the duplication of functions and elements of strategy are never wise; it’s a recipe for sure disaster.

Where one department also share the next department’s functions, when nonetheless, they both have dissimilar core functions; for instance, where finance and HR – Human Resources – want to both share the final authority to approve leave for instance…then we have successfully created potential conflict. We see and have many such instances in business today, why?

I am sure we have heard it before, and with good reason, it’s the truth, a fact of life. That “Apples belong with Apples”, and then “Pears with Pears”, then fruit with fruit and meat with meat; so the structure stays healthy. Like with like.

Even in nature, we don’t get one tree brining forth several varieties of fruit, and a lamb will never give you pork chops, and beef fillets when slaughtered.

No its one tree with one type of fruit only. Order in all things must prevail, it is the first rule of nature, and then, then we see balance prevail, when rules triumph. Only humans have disturbed this natural order of things, subliminally we have an in bread tendency to do it, daily. How does this become relevant to strategy you may ask? It is logic! You think? Then why do we find so much chaos all over. Again, it is a contest of our will, and our minds competing – logic and reason.

Well the point I want to drive home here today is this; Duplication is waist, and always bottlenecks enterprise at some point. We get many examples of misalignments, overlapping, and diversification…of business functions, we need to gauge the impact and results of all these aspects of doing “business unusual”,  to see if it is good business practice, best practice, or just plain smart or not?

If not, then we need to re-think our “logic”. The same principle applies with all things strategically relevant, that need to comply with logic, and reason, then natural laws;

1)You must decide what you want from your strategy and be very specific with the results expected; then only will you be able to move to;

  • When you want it, how you want it, and how much of it you want, specifics is key to getting some required detail, to create order with, that sprouts required balance, in structuring events and elements of strategy

2)Your mind can only think critical if we deal with one aspect at a time

  • We need to see it in order to have it done; same with functions, if all things reside with one person, or department, then we have created order, then follows structure and it results in balance. Then we know with a certainty who, what, where, when, and how…

3)Don’t waver; a woman is never half pregnant, she is or she’s not, we are either going for it flat out, or not at all…

  • You must do things with conviction; half hearted effort does not boil the food well, like true passion will boil it over. Don’t have disproportionate efforts dealing with aspects, proportionality in all things, equates to balance again. Slicing ad dicing department functions into smaller or different entities, only assist with weakening efficiency…never a good idea.

4)Persistence is the best weapon against stagnation; there is nothing that beats the persistent person and his effort on earth, no rock to hard, no mountain to high, no ocean to wide, no wind to strong, nothing…

  • Make sure you have the right man with the right tool for the job…directing.

5)Be results driven; win small battles, on your way towards winning the bigger wars, to have a successful overall campaign.

  • You cannot manage that which you cannot measure; strategy is all about measures, when segmented and divorced from its normal flow it becomes a fruit salad, a mix of things undistinguishable. Strategy requires differentiation and distinction, we need to be able to say, hay the “banana” has gone rotten, replace… etc. Not possible when you only see fruit salad.

The resolution is taking this avenue;

With “Strategic Targeting” we try to find and identify those things that blur and block our aim, and thus our reality. When we need to see clearly; it is the mental process of – Identify, Clarify, Quantify and defining of our objectives and goals first. We cannot do this if we cannot differentiate or measure what we want, have, etc. Always Identify, Clarify, Quantify for ourselves first, and then start pointing the way for others, with this knowledge. Without strategic targeting to keep us on aim, we tend to want to specialise, then segment and over “divisionallise” to our own detriment.

“Only fools rush in and then onward” on a hunch that is – once again, only when strategic parts stay and remain clear, visible, can we see when they fail, and where.

Clearly understood instructions, and expectations when seeking for solution, come from having set directives to follow. Then we won’t find haphazard management that creates specialisation, and diversification, to stick plasters on soars, cuts and burses, of the organisation due to its misalignment with its strategic intent. By staying true to the requirements of its core function.

Progress is only possible, and felt at the service levels, when we follow clear guidelines and protocol. When our work functions are not segregated or dispersed across many tiers and business functions of the structure, and business units.  Solutions become clear; only when we have a transparent and totally accountable person, people, unit, division, or department as a concept to work with.

The concept must be fully encompassing, and be a total solution. The collective envisions the contemplated solution against; what we know now, or have assumed, and have to work with, vs. who, where, what, when, and how this will solve the problem – and “who” will be responsible.

Only then; will planning become specific and directed – because initiative flows again. Only; when we know who to blame, and then also who to compliment, will we know we have structure that works, and unites people with their work and responsibility. If there is; no direct responsibility, then you will find no discipline, no order, no accountability, no structure ,and then no balance…lots of NO;s just because of one misalignment, take care.

It’s not always about efficiency, but also effectiveness – working hard towards that which is becoming significant – and worthy of our effort and time spent – only then does planning become a useful exercise if it connects its burden with people, to make it their business.

Here at this point, when we see and recognise that strategy has duality – two sides of a coin exiting as one entity. One part peoples things and thinking, and the other part systems and structure that need to unite.

Only if we stay close to this knowledge; then will we create opportunities to make our competition irrelevant…at some point.

Now – Read the book or Ebook; Read more in my new book Strategic Management, The Radical Revolutionary Strategic Management Matrix for Predators by Reinier Geel, now available at Trafford; http://www.trafford.com/Bookstore/BookDetail.aspx?Book=339320

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