Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Focus and Leverage Part 272

In this posting I want to demonstrate how I use the Goal Tree to assess the state of the organization in terms of how well it is meeting its Goal, Critical Success Factors and Necessary Conditions.

I typically facilitate a critical discussion on the status or current state of the Goal, CSFs and NCs.  I use a simple Green, Yellow and Red coding system to describe how each of the Goal Tree entities exists in our current reality.  The figure below is a summary of that exercise for our hypothetical company.

Notice the key on the bottom right hand side of the Goal Tree and you’ll see that a box shaded in green indicates that the entity is in place and functioning, so no changes need to be made to that entity.  A yellow box indicates that there is something in place, but that it needs improvement.  A box shaded in red means that the entity is either not in place or that something is in place, but it isn’t functioning well.  It should be obvious that any entity shaded in red has a higher priority than one shaded in yellow.

In our example, because the company is at least minimally profitable, but not highly profitable, it is shaded in yellow.  If we look at the CSFs, four of the five CSFs are shaded in red meaning that each is either not in place or simply not functioning well enough to drive higher profitability.  In this hypothetical company it appears as though the only thing this company is doing right is their excellent quality and, according to the supporting NC’s, it’s because they have excellent quality systems in place.  But other than their quality systems, not much else is functioning well.

Dettmer tells us that “a well-defined Goal and Critical Success Factors provide the benchmarks for deciding what parts of the system need attention.  In other words, they can guide problem solving.  In order to figure out why a system may be failing to live up to expectations, those expectations must be established in the first place.”  Dettmer also tells us that “it’s important to establish a common understanding of the terms goal and critical success factors.”  In light of this, Dettmer defines the goal and critical success factors as follows:

“Goal:  The ultimate purpose for which the system exists (or was created) – the end to which a system’s collective efforts as directed.  In human systems or organizations, this is the outcome that the owners say is the preeminent or paramount objective of the system.”

“Critical Success Factor:  The limited number of high-level terminal outcomes without which the system’s goal cannot be achieved – the few necessary conditions which, if satisfied, represent goal attainment."
In my next posting, I will demonstrate how I use the results of the organizational assessment to develop not only solutions, but ultimately an organizational improvement plan.
Bob Sproull

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