Queuing up the organization to act

The steps of Naming and Framing are primarily conceptual; they challenge us to be thoughtful and comprehensive. But they do not yet authorize the organization to act, to spend money, to pull on peoples' time, or to commit resources to solve the problem.

Very loosely, Naming and Framing are often executive level activities; Aiming is more managerial. It requires an intimate knowledge of people, their skills, and the resources that can reasonably be committed to the effort. Done properly, it gives a clear and compelling delegation to the organization.

The Charter to the Organization

The Charter provides the specific directives to the organization. It includes the following:

  1. Making the case: why we’re concerned
  2. Stating the Charter: defining the outcomes
  3. Creating needed alliances: ensuring the right people are at the table
  4. Allocating resources
  5. Putting the effort within right structure: where is the functional home for the work
  6. Creating the Sponsorship needed: the executive liaison for the effort
  7. Staffing the effort
  8. Defining and modeling the values: what is critical in how we do the work
  9. Defining indicators of progress (not success)
  10. Announcing rewards

In some cases the charter is a formal document. In some instances it is only an informal conversation. But the elements remain the same, regardless of the format.

The Executive Role

At this point, the role of the executive begins to drop off. The charter to the organization should allow them to step back and let the staff apply their expertise without worrying what is expected, or how their boss will respond, or when they are finished.

Aiming as a Hypothesis to be Tested

The charter to the organization is not a one-way directive. It is more properly understood as a hypothesis to be tested.  There is an implicit invitation for a conversation.  

Are these really the important problems on which to work?  Did we identify the essential nature of the problem correctly? Is this, in fact, the set up and resources needed to address the problem?  

A keen executive will periodically solicit staff thoughts on these questions, and then modify the typing and tasking to fit any emerging insights.

A second and equally important conversation emerges as solutions begin to take shape:

Now that we know what it means to solve this problem, do we still want to solve it? Is the solution truly less painful or costly than the problem? And how do we manage the risk of shifting the organization? What is the most reasonable change path?