PrimeFocus™ and Coronavirus
With the challenges we are all currently facing it seemed appropriate to explore how the PrimeFocus™ model can be used to design a strategy to manage and lead through the disruption whist staying true to our own and our organisation's purpose.
Purpose is rarely a singular affair
In "Designing the Purposeful Organization; how to inspire business performance beyond boundaries" (Kogan Page 2015), I explore the topic of Purpose. The main focus of the book is the purpose of an organisation and the alignment of the conditions necessary for its delivery.
However, within the primary purpose, there will be many sub-purposes for departments, teams and individuals, all of which support the main agenda. Similarly, the purpose of any organisation is also likely to support a wider purpose, for example, that of humanity.
So, a pharmaceutical company might have the purpose of reducing the mortality rate associated with a particular disease and may consciously be aligned to SDG3 (health) which is one of the goals adopted by world leaders at the UN in New York in September 2015. Curiously, for the purpose of this article, everything we do to minimise health risk from the Coronavirus is also a sub-purpose of this SDG.
In terms of company purpose, consider the plethora of sub-purposes there may be under the primary purpose. So, for the pharmaceutical company, there may be other purposes at play, including:
So it is with the Coronavirus. The first step will be to decide what purposes need to be delivered. The following list, again, is not intended to be advisory or exhaustive but potential purposes may include:
There may be more purposes and the list will vary depending on the nature of the work being done.
The logic of the PrimeFocus™ method is that for every purpose identified, the PrimeFocus framework will guide a strategy to ensure success.
So, for vision, there are a number of considerations. First, what are the meaningful time horizons? How far ahead should we look? What do we see happening at these horizons (there may be more than one horizon)? Before we visualise our response, we should visualise the context. What are the various scenarios (best case, worst case, likely case, intended case and so on)? And for each of these what do we see ourselves doing and being?
The engagement condition suggests that we need to engage with stakeholders in order to evolve the most suitable response that takes account of their views, experiences and needs. Whilst our formal response may need to be communicated clearly, this should not be a one-way street. How do we engage with others? What media should be used? We consider questions like these for each purpose and scenario.
What systems, processes, plans and other structures will make our response efficient, clear and effective? What data should we seek and keep? What communications systems do we use? If we need regular updates, how will they happen and what frequency is needed? These are just some of the questions that need to be asked for every purpose and scenario we are considering.
In this condition we consider the beliefs, values and behaviours that will play out for each purpose. So, some key questions to ask would be as follows: Given the cultures in which we operate (company, national, international etc), what is important to people and how can we expect them to behave? How do our own company values inform the response we adopt for each of our purposes? What new behaviours do we need to encourage or demand?
In this condition, the PrimeFocus method reminds us to measure the progress to our vision for each purpose and vision under consideration. So, if for example our vision is to encourage home-working for a period, we might want to measure the extent that this happens so we can encourage more or less as appropriate.
Contrasting to results, success is both an outcome and a feeling for those involved in delivering a purpose. We might ask our stakeholders what matters to them about a particular purpose and perhaps to share this along with how they would feel if the organisation took certain action. A successful management of this or any risk affecting the organisation can seriously affect how the company is regarded by its stakeholders.
For any given purpose, certain skills, talents and strengths will be helpful or even essential to delivery. The organisation can ask whether these are available or whether they need to be contracted in, or simply to point people in the right direction for physical or mental wellbeing support, how to support others and so on. Remember to ask these questions for each purpose and each scenario (vision) within a purpose.
At Primeast we have been encouraging the use of PrimeFocus™ as a simple but robust guide to effective strategy for over twenty years. The PrimeFocus™ assessment provides you with the opportunity to reflect on how you feel your organisation is faring when it comes to purposeful alignment. On completion of this short assessment, you will receive your free report which you can use as a starting point for discussion with your team or colleagues.COMPLETE ASSESSMENT
To start a conversation about your leadership development or development opportunities your organisation is facing, you can email Clive directly here.