The Organizational Strategist

June 29, 2011

Establish your foundational tool set to seed success


Earlier this year I was reading the book Change Making by Richard Bevan and I got to thinking about how it is important to have “tools” ready ahead of time for your work.  Much like a blacksmith has an anvil, a forge, sets of tongs, and other items that are needed for the craft, a strategist should have important materials on hand.  In the corporate world, these often take the form of templates and process documents for repeated use.  In more thought based scenarios conceptual frameworks can be generated to allow for the needed customization of each objective. 

There is some foundational infrastructure and planning that an organization must do to have at the ready.  These are areas in which having a plan can really benefit or secure an organization’s efforts for the long term.  As a short sample, here are tools an organization needs before their intended use:

–          Marketing materials, specifically company branding

  • All office documents (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Project, etc.)
  • Letterhead for formal communications
  • Website
  • Other branding documents (ex: hand-outs, product/service pamphlets)

–          Legal documentation

  • Purchase Orders/Invoices
  • Accounting/HR materials
  • Personnel  materials
  • Company agreements and deals

–          Thought leadership

  • Organizational mission, vision, strategy, and objectives
  • Trademarks, patents and other proprietary idea information
  • Product and service delivery plans

In addition to the special purpose materials above, there are many efforts that can be built in such a way that they can create operational efficiency gains later on.  Here is a sample, and definitely non-exhaustive, list of reusable tools that can be created and later repurposed:

–          Structured meeting notes (it helps to have a guide and flow to record discussions)

–          Project Communications

  • Kick-off announcement
  • Progress update
  • Feedback request
  • Request for action
  • Go-live announcement
  • Close out announcement

–          Deliverables

  • Visually appealing or structured slides
  • Reports (assessments, progress, recommended actions, etc.)
  • Approach summaries
  • Designs
  • Processes
  • Requirements/Objectives
  • QA/Test/Audit materials
  • Question sets (surveys, focus groups, interviews, etc.)
  • Workshop and offsite materials (timing, structure, ground rules, agenda, etc.)

The challenge is to find the right thresholds in standardizing and formalizing.  If too much policy is dictated or documentation is required, it can become burdensome and counterproductive.  The higher security or sensitivity that needs to be incorporated, the more thought needs to be put into its preparation.  As services are delivered, the iterative improvement process can lead to fantastic results. Often times, the guiding principle is to create a foundational process and have best practices brought in, but not mandated, to allow for ingenuity and innovation. 

Is your organization equipped with the right tools for success?

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3 Comments »

  1. I find myself coming to your blog more and more often to the point where my visits are almost daily now!

    Comment by Caseswearfaby — July 4, 2011 @ 3:30 pm

    • Wow, that’s great it’s been so helpful. What would you like to hear about next? Thanks for the comment!

      Comment by Whit — July 4, 2011 @ 11:14 pm

  2. Thanks For This Post, was added to my bookmarks.

    Comment by AccotoSib — July 18, 2011 @ 4:14 am


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