Don’t you just love the way your brain can sometimes take seemingly completely different experiences and start making connections which then create that ‘oooooh yeah!’ moment. Recently I had a great conversation with a friend of mine about Business Transformation and Target Operating Models (TOMs). Next, I had to go and pick up my girls up from school who of course insisted on listening to some music in the car.
Now there is no accounting for taste and their current favourite is a US modern jazz band named Lake Street Dive (it’s hardly ‘Planet Rock’ I know, but it’s still pretty cool) and the track was called ‘How Good It Feels’.
Have you spotted the connections yet? Let me tell you what my brain did next.
Now, I’m not that familiar with the inner workings of the human mind, but I’m sure those of you in my network who are more informed, can go on to say which part of my brain was being triggered at different stages throughout this little tale.
Having previously helped a number of businesses to develop their TOMs, I some time ago came to the conclusion that they largely don’t work for a variety of different reasons; I won’t go into them all here, but do keep an eye out for a future post. However, I was slightly taken aback when my friend started asking about them, as he worked for what I had considered to be a fairly enlightened organisation.
This was a great conversation, in which we very much focussed on how to secure buy in, not so much from the senior leadership team, but more so from the rest of the organisation. Now, I’m far from dismissing the amount of analysis and ‘hard yards’ that are required to really get something useful into a TOM. However this conversation was interesting as this organisation has always been exceptionally good at developing online products which are also effortlessly simple. This then got me thinking about Steve Krug and his great read ‘Don’t Make Me Think!’, or as I’ve put it in the past, you must pass the Ronseal Test, i.e. ‘It does what it says on the tin’.
Connection number 1 is made in my brain:
Why don’t we utilise more thinking from the UX space and the likes of Steve Krug when communicating about strategy and TOMs?
So, sat in the car listening to a track called ‘How Good It Feels’, connection number 2 is quickly made in my brain:
Wouldn’t this be a great phase and ethos to use to engage a whole organisation in their future aspirations and design for where they work?
By sheer coincidence that evening another friend of mine sent me over his CV, which he’d just completed using WordPress. This was brilliant, different, yet wholly simple and easy to follow, as well as being interactive.
You’ve guessed it, connection 3 was then made in my brain:
Why is a TOM so often either captured in fairly static models, or worse in a set of slides? After all I don’t need to be a whizz with WordPress in order to use a website that has been created with it.
It all started to become clear. There are so many methods, approaches, tools, buzz words, best practice, bad practice, thought leadership….. that it can be very easy to get lost in the theory and lose sight of a few simple facts.
1. It doesn’t matter what you call your TOM (Blueprint, TOM, Future Mode of Operation to name a few). What matters is that you use a term that stirs a positive reaction from your people.
2. Its purpose is to provide a compelling visual articulation of your ideal; after all that’s the essence of a TOM. It’s a number of ideas brought together to create a vision, all backed up by having just enough strategy and analysis at its core that your people can readily buy into it.
3. It has to be interactive; your people need to be involved in its development right from the start, they need to be able to touch it and feel it, as well as challenge it so that ultimately, they can own it.
As I work in a consultancy, it’s imperative that I have a good grasp on all the ‘theory’ that is out there. This allows me to develop and utilise the most effective combination of theories and my own practical experience to help each customer.
That said, my ‘oh yeah!’ moment has also made me think that perhaps I’ve got more than a little too caught up in this theory recently, and that I really need to refocus on these simple facts so that I can better help my customers.
So, when you and your team are going through a set of strategic initiatives and trying to develop a combination of ideas that may or may not be called a TOM, remember to channel your inner Steve Krug and keep things simple and intuitive.
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