Bringing it all together

STORYB~1.JPGOver the last two and a half years, I have written and published over 50 articles which relate to architecting and transforming enterprises.  These have been published on LinkedIn and an index of all articles maintained in the article “Architecting Enterprises“.

About twelve months ago, I started copying these articles across to this blog site.  As I did that, I published a post on LinkedIn which proved to receive far greater views than many of my original articles.  In parallel, Interface Consultants started holding public Lunch’n’nLearn events where I was using content from these articles in sessions on:

  • Curious about being more brain and systems savvy
  • Bootstrapping a systems savvy enterprise
  • Cultivating capabilities
  • Diversity, coherence and assurance (for Boards)

Reflecting on the development of these sessions and on feedback from these sessions, it became evident to me that participants in these sessions and readers of this blog need a sense of:

  • the whole story and how the fifty (or more) articles fit together
  • how to find the pieces of the puzzle that are missing without need to read all the pieces that they already know and understand

This is how the process of “bringing it all together” started.  It has led to:

  • Restructuring the blog site
  • Creating a top level menu item “Bringing it all together
  • Adding the first four items under this menu
  • Linking these pages to:
    • other content in the various articles
    • other reference materials relevant to the topic
    • examples of outputs mentioned in the articles

Further content is being developed and will be released.  I hope this becomes an increasingly convenient, easy-to-use, valuable resource for those involved in transforming their enterprises and looking to advance their mastery of this highly rewarding activity.

Feedback on the articles and on this initiative to “bring it all together” is always welcome.  Please feel free to post comments or to contact Interface Consultants or Peter Murchland if you wish to respond privately.  These articles are also used to prompt discussion in the related LinkedIn Group – Enterprise Modeling

 

Exploring enterprise lifecycles

Wherever an enterprise engages in architectural activities, there are three key lifecycles which come into play:

  • enterprise operations, managing the entire lifecycle from prospective customer to satisfied customer
  • enterprise development, managing strategy, innovation and change, delivering and embedding new or improved capabilities within enterprise operations
  • enterprise architecture, managing the structures and principles through which enterprise operations and development are effected

Enterprise-development-1

Any engagement needs to assess:

  • the current position within these three key lifecycles
  • the maturity of the organisation with respect to each of these lifecycles

in determining where to direct efforts to deliver the greatest value to the organisation.

EM_journey_v0-15

In this respect, the approach shown above for architecting enterprises provides an effective mechanism for managing each of the lifecycles, prompting an assessment and appreciation of:

  • vision
  • future directions
  • capability gaps
  • initiatives addressing gaps
  • program (roadmap) of activities in train

This could lead to three inter-related capability development cycles for maturing the enterprise architecture capability, enterprise development capability and enterprise operations capability.

Enterprise-development-2

Where is your organisation placed in terms of its architecture, development and operations maturity?

To what extent does your strategy development take account of your maturity in these three domains?

To what extent does your program planning and execution explicitly take account of these differing levels of maturity, including:

  • delivery risks arising from varying maturity levels?
  • adaptive approaches which allow for the necessary enterprise learning required for successful delivery?
  • synergies which can be pursued to leverage investment and effort towards enhancing maturity in all three domains?

Change exhaustion?

A few years ago, I attended an “all staff” meeting for a business unit of 60 people within a large organisation. It was a “kick-off” event at the beginning of the year, outlining for staff the range of activities and developments that would be pursued during the year. It followed a busy preceding year, with lots of change and lots of pleasing outcomes (from a management perspective).

The Director said to the staff something along the following lines …

If you are thinking that last year was busy and this year we are going to slow down, I am sorry to disappoint you. Last year represents the “new normal”. You will need to “get used to this” and find ways to operate successfully and satisfyingly in this new mode of operation.

In one sense, this is “no surprise”. We have all heard (and therefore know, understand and accept!!) that the pace of change is increasing and that it is not going to stop. Yet, sometimes things are changing so much, we feel like we want the world to stop, so that we can take a breath and steady ourselves (or perhaps steel ourselves) for what is inevitably going to come.

So, how do we cope with the change that is occurring around us, with the “disruption” to our lives and the ways in which we are accustomed to living, working, learning and playing? How do we go about making changes so that we are not “left behind”, possibly without a job or without our traditional role or with a diminishing pipeline of clients as they no longer value what we offer?

One of the ways is to undergo a transformation … so what is different about changing versus transforming?

A transformation entails operating with a different set of assumptions.

Whilst we continue to assume the world is operating in the manner to which we have become accustomed, then we may experience the world as a spiral of diminishing circles, leading to disaster. We may see our circumstances in negative, disappointing and threatening terms.

Often, in these circumstances, it is possible to see the world and our circumstances through a different lens, a little bit like turning a kaleidoscope and seeing things in completely different ways. Sometimes this requires help from others, simply to enable us to appreciate that there is a radically different way of seeing things. You have probably heard people say …

  • There are no problems, there are only challenges …
  • There are no problems, there are simply opportunities …
  • Some people see a glass half-full and others see a glass half-empty

These expressions are all about seeing things differently.

One of the great capacities that humankind has is to be able to consider situations in the following way:

  • understanding the elements that constitute the means versus the ends
  • conceive of scenarios where the ends remain the same but the means are different
  • conceive of other scenarios where the means remain the same but the ends are different

The latter allows us to explore new ways in which our own capabilities, built around our knowledge, skills and experience can be used to achieve different goals and outcomes. This is the manner in which individuals and enterprises can envisage new ways of seeing things and new ways of operating which take advantage of their personal strengths and abilities. Sometimes the new opportunities require some attention to some weaknesses in order to work more effectively in the new environment, and this presents us with new manageable changes, learning and improving, so that we can pursue new goals and new horizons.

In this way, we can turn a frustrating and demoralising situation into one which offers excitement and inspiration, enabling us to move forward with a new spring in our step, ready to meet the new challenges facing us, and with a new sense of purpose and capacity to contribute to shaping our world of work and to supporting those around us whom we love and care for.

Turning the kaleidscope may be all that is required to change exhaustion into exhilaration …

Becoming more brain and systems savvy … includes learning different ways to turn the kaleidoscope

Enterprise awareness

This article extends the thinking outlined in Enterprise Development which encompasses those capabilities required by an enterprise to support its adaptation, development, or transformation towards its intended future state. It explores enterprise awareness as a key capability within the enterprise development domain, and considers enterprise awareness in terms similar to those of individual self-awareness.

This is the first real expression and articulation of the thinking around enterprise awareness. I expect that further discussion and exploration will lead to progressive refinement and expansion of the thinking around this concept and its application to enterprises and their development. I would like to acknowledge Doug McDavid who prompted this thinking through his long-standing advocacy for the value of establishing and maintaining a repository of the architecture of enterprises.

Concept

When we are more self-aware as an individual, we are able to act in more effective ways in challenging situations. In this regard, I am suggesting that when enterprises are more self-aware, they are more able to recognise and respond appropriately to situations they encounter, whether these be threats or opportunities. In effect, an enterprise is more able to sense, respond, adapt, transform or develop:

  • than it would with lesser awareness
  • then other enterprises in the environment in which it is operating.

Application

What is required to be more enterprise-self-aware? In its most simplest form, it is to be aware of its existing and potential capability.

How often do we encounter:

  • The left hand does not know what the right hand is doing.
  • The divisions are silos with no collaboration between them.
  • Duplicated capabilities in different parts of the organisation

These and other similar situations are symptoms of an insufficiently self-aware enterprise.

What does it take to redress this situation?

  • Some minimal diligence in maintaining models and views which reflect the way in which the enterprise is organised and operates
  • A place where these models are visible across the enterprise and able to be explained and shared as part of the enterprise narrative
  • An assurance mechanism which monitors the maintenance of the models and views and the quality, integrity and usability of their representation
  • Appropriate skills and experience to provide support for this activity to occur in a sustained manner

Implementation

If this makes sense to you, you might be asking how you might explore and apply this concept to your enterprise? There are a number of minimum essential elements to consider and pursue:

  • Leadership
  • Learning and development
  • Scalability

Leadership

Developing enterprise awareness requires leadership to effect a cultural change which creates an environment in which enterprise awareness can develop and thrive.

An effective starting point is simply for the Executive team to test their own shared awareness and consistency in understanding and expressing:

  • the business model(s) underpinning their enterprise
  • the operating model for their enterprise
  • the desired culture and values for their enterprise
  • the means by which the performance of the enterprise should be assessed

Failure to be able to do this in a consistent and coherent fashion prompts serious questions as to how well others in the enterprise understand these fundamentals about the enterprise.

Exploration of the differences and development of a consistent expression with a shared narrative will then enable the Executive team to undertake this process with their direct reports. There will need to be, in conjunction with this activity, an organised way of recording the shared expression of the business model, operating model, values and principles, which can be used in common by all who engage in the progressive development of greater enterprise awareness.

Learning and Development

As the enterprise leadership engages in establishing greater enterprise awareness and greater enterprise alignment, the recognition of differences in understanding and practice are part of learning about the reality of the enterprise, and about deficiencies in its current organisation to achieve its desired goals and aspirations.

This is part of a self-discovery and learning journey. It should be treated as an open enquiry process where no participant is “wrong” and where no “blame” is attached to the existence of differences. These value arises in appreciating the differences and being able to attend to them, as they are, in part, one of the fundamental reasons that the enterprise is unable to realise its aspirations and its full potential.

Deficiencies in the current business model(s) and operating model will prompt revisiting of business strategy, which in turn will require the development and transformation of the enterprise to realise revised business strategies, business model(s) and the associated operating model.

Scalability

The approach which have been outlined can be applied to any “enterprise”. This means that it can be applied to:

  • an entire organisation
  • a division within an organisation
  • a team
  • a cross divisional function (eg. people management system)
  • a cross organisational system (eg. criminal justice system)

For each, it is entirely appropriate to consider:

  • business model (customers, services, channels, value proposition, capabilities)
  • operating model (operations, development, resources and governance)
  • culture, value and principles

For enterprises that are part of an organisation, there will be a need to determine the manner in which the enterprise integrates with other parts of the organisation. This may prompt a broader approach being taken, having determined that value has been derived in considering a smaller part of the organisation.

Facilitation

How might you facilitate the exploration of your enterprise and its self-awareness?

There are often a range of people within enterprises who are well placed to support such an activity. These include staff in the following functions:

  • Business strategy
  • Organisation development
  • Quality management
  • Business architecture

If your enterprise is not of sufficient size to have these positions, then a consultant with appropriate understanding of the architecture of enterprises could facilitate such an activity.