I’ve been meaning to blog about this thing I call the Pyramid of Purpose and Value for the longest time. Well, I ended up writing about it extensively in my book Getting To The Next Level, so I’m taking advantage of that and posting the introduction to the Pyramid directly from Chapter 1, What Does The Next Level Look Like? Here is the excerpt:
Strategy planning and execution on the planned strategy are what will ultimately determine the success of any business. An essential component of execution is the ability to effectively convey the structure of the organization and the planned strategy. For if the structure and the strategy don’t make sense, or are not properly communicated to everyone involved, no matter what level of the organization they are at, they won’t know where the organization is going or how they are to help it get there.
Failure to convey your structure and strategy will leave the people inside your organization frustrated or just plain confused. Those whom you wish to buy into your plans and maybe even fund them will not see what you see. And the end result value you create for your clients and customers will not be the result of focused intent but rather that of happenstance.
The Pyramid of Purpose and Value is a simple, graphical depiction of an organization’s structure, strategy, and business identity. It’s common to use the shape of a pyramid for communicating an organization’s strategy as both are layered structures with specific requirements for optimal strength and longevity. But by depicting all the key elements of your organization’s structure, strategy, and identity in a pyramid form, it becomes very easy to see the relationship of the layers and how they support each other.
The power of the pyramid is that if it is built correctly it can clearly convey your organization’s structure, strategy, and identity in a way that everyone involved can understand with little extraneous explanation. But you must get this big picture, this big grand plan out of your head and onto the wall so that others can see it, fall in love with it, and come participate in the construction. To borrow a line from Field of Dreams, “If you build it, they will come.”
For my purposes, I’ve developed a pyramid that is a culmination of all the best elements I’ve found in other pyramids infused with elements of my own perspective on business structure, strategy, and identity. I will be going into detail about each section and each level of the pyramid in the book Getting To The Next Level. For now, I’m going to give you the quick run-down to show how simply and clearly it conveys the elements of your business identity that can be easily and clearly conveyed. Please refer to the figure below for the Pyramid of Purpose and Value.
The Pyramid of Purpose and Value includes elements of your business that are high level and esoteric, such as the Business Vison and Mission. These higher level elements are easily conveyed but not always easily translated into actions. The pyramid also includes elements that are as specific and detailed as the strategies and tactics we focus on every single day. These low-level elements are hard to convey in simple terms but if properly laid out, are easily translated into actions. Specific levels of the pyramid are grouped together into three segments that represent the outward facing definition of your business. These segments are your organization’s Culture, Compass and Blueprint For Success.
The top segment of the pyramid defines your organization’s Culture. It is the essence of what your organization is at its heart. It is the answer to the question of “Who are we?” You will notice it includes a special level called the Human Element. The Human Element is not the Human Resources aspect of your organization, it is much more. It is an expression of how we feel about the human element of our organization and it is the clear parameters of what we want to cultivate for talent in the organization. It is strategically placed here because we must have the right people caring for and conveying the Vision, Mission, and Values of the organization.
The middle segment of the pyramid defines the organization’s Compass. It is the clear and well-defined direction the organization and business are headed. It is the needle that points us toward the horizon and it is the course we steer our ship along. It calls out not only what we will and will not offer for produce and services, it also very specifically details who is and who isn’t our target market in addition to defining our ideal customer. And finally, it specifies the tools and systems we will rely on to accomplish our ultimate goals, execute on strategy, and bring to life our vision.
The lower segment of the pyramid defines our Blueprint For Success. As you will see, each successive lower layer of the pyramid is more detailed than the one above it but none so specifically as the layers in this segment. This segment is where the strategically directed actions of the organization are translated into measurable results. Every level of your pyramid must be carefully thought out and detailed, but these levels more directly determine your success than any others.
There is one element missing from our pyramid as depicted here and it is simply that your pyramid must be built on a solid BASE. For the details and discussion on the solid BASE, you’ll either have to wait for me to blog about it or you can pick up a copy of my book.
More to come… 🙂