A Framework for Understanding Organizational Management

I recently received a helpful question from a reader who was looking for a framework to help him think through his business in a comprehensive way. I thought it might be good to make this more broadly available as well, so here’s the main part of what I shared (less the actual links and, of course, the book images!).

Great question regarding frameworks. I agree that discovering the framework behind anything helps you understand it much better. For business and management, I follow the framework Tom Peters gives in one of the first three chapters or so of his book In Search of Excellence, which I find to be super helpful and without holes:

  • Guiding concepts (mission, values, standards; should be unchanging)
  • Strategy (how to get from here to there; changes with environment but must be consistent with guiding concepts)
  • Structure (how everyone is organized to get from here to there; so must align with the strategy and, again, must reflect the guiding concepts)
  • Systems (mechanisms that make things work and keep them running that are woven throughout the structure–things like hiring practices, firing practices, performance management, the systems for executing the specific work of the organization, and so forth)
  • Skills and style (people’s abilities and strengths harnessed in the service of the organization’s purpose)
  • People (the actual people)

I would also recommend Patrick Lencioni‘s book The Four Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executive, which also presents a helpful framework, though it is a bit less comprehensive than Peters’.