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Picturing Your Operating Model

Yes. Yes. Many of us say we know exactly how our company operates. But when pressed for details, whether in the executive suite, on the management team or on

the front line, the answers are often vague, and nearly always different. So, it is not surprising to me that when I ask my clients or colleagues to draw a picture of the operating model for the business they are building, the results are often fumbled, cloudy or downright non-existent.

This lack of clarity hurts companies and the teams building them. Without a clear picture, alignment issues, increased complexity, execution failures and missed opportunities ensue. All of these deficiencies create an environment where success is limited and where the creation of stakeholder value is muted.

So, what should a CEO/executive team do? – Simply, draw the picture. It doesn’t have to be elaborate, but if you can visualize the basics of your business, literally connecting the dots between cross-organizational functions and illustrating organizational linkage, you will have much more success overcoming each of the aforementioned deficiencies.

How do you get going? – Start with Why. If you haven’t read Simon Sinek’s great book on this, make the investment to do so. Sinek’s concepts will help you clarify your mission and goals. Of course, Why only provides the motivation for things, but since it so effectively leads to How and What, you’ll hit all of the relevant points!

Then what? Of course just drawing a picture doesn’t really do anything, the key to turning this into a valuable exercise, and journey, lives in bringing the picture to life in your company. Establishing your organization’s vision, mission and values provides the bedrock on which your company can grow. And it serves as the basis for your corporate playbook.

Can you picture your operating model? Can you explain it to your team?

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