flowing motion

9 questions for strategy at the edge

Posted on: May 7, 2009

Day Three at Xoozya

Before I went in to work today, I pondered the mammoth task of getting to grips with the business of Xoozya.  It’s amazing how often organizations don’t bother to explain the business they are in, leaving induction to people who may know where the loo is but have never seen the profit!  Xoozya being a self-consciously bottom-up organization will, of course, deliberately not tell me.  It is going to wait for me to ask questions!

Organize around strategy

The universe came to my rescue and McKinsey’s Buy, Sell, Keep appeared in my inbox to remind me of the principle of structuring an organization around our strategic priorities rather than our operations.

Hmm, I need to go further than this.  Being Xoozya, the priorities are not set at the ‘top’.  The people at the ‘top’, who are not necessarily the highest paid either, are there because they are good at holding the conversation, listening, and bringing together our views.  They have a knack for understanding what someone with a different professional background is saying, of detecting bottom line and top line, of seeing how people could come together for mutual benefit, and for creating organizations and communities where that can happen.

So how to begin my understanding of Xoozya?

I took the list of factors in McKinsey’s Structure-Conduct-Performance model of  industry attractiveness, turned it into a table with two columns – one for me and one for Xoozya, made some coffee, and set to work jotting down a word or two in each cell.

I quickly lost interest in my own column.  I must go back to that.

SCP model in plain language

These are the nine questions I found I badly wanted to ask my colleagues about their work.

  1. Who else does similar work to you?
  2. How do people tell your work apart from theirs?
  3. Who comes banging on your door wanting to know what you are doing?  Have more people been banging recently or less?  Have inquiries been more useful to you, or less useful to you?
  4. What does it take for someone to get into this line of work?  Once they have acquired those skills and resources, how long does it take them to get to your level?
  5. Who has the greater power? People like yourselves working in the field or the people who come banging on your door?
  6. Is there anything about the relationship with the people who come banging at the door that could change the relationship?  That is, what would lead more people to come or have more useful people come?
  7. Could you be doing more work or would you prefer to be doing less?
  8. Is there anyone or anything that holds you up?
  9. Is there anyone you could work with who could help you achieve more, more quickly?

For those interested in understanding the SCP Model more formally

Economics of demand (Qu 1-3)

Economics of supply (Qu 4)

Industry chain economics (Qu 5-6)

Cooperation vs Rivalry

Capacity utilization (Qu 7)

Forward, backward integration (Qu 8)

Alliances and Joint Ventures (Qu 9)

A good management model asks questions

Yes, there are a few questions there that will make me think about my own work.  That’s what good heuristics do.  They open up the thought processes.  Questions not answers.  That’s what management scholars deliver!

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2 Responses to "9 questions for strategy at the edge"

[…] 9 questions for strategy at the edge (flowingmotion.wordpress.com) […]

Thanks Jo – I’ll ponder those (and boy haven’t the last 6 months gone fast!)

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