Business Diamond Framework: mapping the value chain

In a previous blog I wrote about the four Function Diamonds of the Business Diamond Framework™: Leadership, Support, Value-Add, and To-Market.

The layout of the Framework is intentional. This layout allows Framework practitioners to not only understand the business from the perspective of each of the four functions, but also from the perspective of the organizational structure and the value chain. This this blog, we’ll look at the value chain.

The horizontal axis represents the business’ value chain (a concept pioneered by Michael Porter of Harvard Business School). Raw materials and information begin on the left and move through the business until they are sold and distributed on the right. Here we see a very basic value chain…
bdf-value-chain-axis-1
… and the Framework practitioner’s job is to fill out the value chain in detail and then place it onto the Framework. Here we see it integrated into the Framework:
bdf-value-chain-axis-2
Here’s why this is important: Understanding the value chain is essential to running an efficient, competitive business. But understanding how the functions of the business interact with and contribute to the value chain is even more valuable. And there’s more you can do with the value chain in the Business Diamond Framework (and I’ll talk about that in an upcoming post).

Business Diamond Framework: Mapping the organization

In a previous blog I wrote about the four Function Diamonds of the Business Diamond Framework™: Leadership, Support, Value-Add, and To-Market.
bdf-w-words-full
The layout of the Framework is intentional. This layout allows Framework practitioners to not only understand the business from the perspective of each of the four functions, but also from the perspective of the organizational structure and the value chain. This this blog, we’ll look at the organizational chart.

The vertical axis is the organizational axis. By mapping the organizational structure, decision-making, and communication flow from the Leadership down through the other sections of the organization, Framework practitioners can better understand the structure of the business and how the parts work together.

Here’s an example of that in action. First, the practitioners create the organizational structure of the business under review.
bdf-organizational-axis-1a
… then they place that chart over top of the Framework and connect the roles from the chart with the Functions in the Framework. Like so:
bdf-organizational-axis-2

Here’s why this is important: The Framework is used to help people understand their business, create innovative strategies, and execute those strategies. Mapping the organization the way the organization is helps the practitioner to understand the organization. Then, moving the organizational roles from one Function Diamond to another is an easy way to innovate. (More on that in an upcoming post). And, understanding how the organization works helps the Framework practitioner to execute strategies more effectively by showing how strategies can be embedded in each business function to contribute to change in the whole business.

Private Investigator article

aaronhoos_client_pimag

Had an article published in PI Magazine recently.

While I don’t have a lot to contribute in the way of “How to Skulk” or “Great quotes from Magnum PI”, I do have two qualifications that helped me offer something meaningful to the investigation industry: I write and think and advise about business, and professional investors are good at investigating (but many could use help running their business). And, in my previous life as a sales manager, I had a bunch of investigators as clients so I came to understand some of their particular business needs.

Death and longevity of brands

Brands come and go. A couple years ago, people would have said “Twitter what?” But now it’s the latest in a long line of social media darlings.

These two articles, from SeekingAlpha gives us an interesting perspective on 12 brands that are likely to survive and 12 brands that are likely to die. I say it’s an interesting perspective because the writer is coming at it more like an investment analyst than a marketer.

A few surprises and a few no-brainers.

Read the articles here:

The Top 12 Brands Likely to Survive

The Top 12 Brands Likely to Disappear

Here’s why this is interesting to me: When you normally talk about brands, you’re usually talking about the marketing and positioning side of the business. But when you approach it like an investment analyst, you’re looking at a much wider range of considerations. By comparison: Twitter is a strong brand but its revenue stream doesn’t necessarily make it a lasting brand. I realize I’ve committed social media heresy by saying that Twitter is not a lasting brand. That is not to say that I’m predicting Twitter’s demise. Rather, I’m suggesting that, as a brand, it is very strong; but as a business it needs to think about revenue sooner or later.

Analyzing and repairing your sales process

I think a lot about the sales process. It’s a key element to using the Business Diamond Framework™ successfully to drive innovative change into an organization. Specifically, I use it to create content strategy, which is a burgeoning discipline that aligns content with your business’ aims. In this blog, I’ll talk about aligning content with your business’ sales process.

One of the strategic tools I’ve used in the past to examine the sales process has been the Flowscape and just recently, I’ve found that I’ve started to use it more and more.

Flowscape is a visual thinking tool by the guy who thinks about thinking, Edward DeBono. (See Note 1). He created this tool to map trains of thought and to bring to light the real issues in a confusing situation… which is exactly what makes it perfect for the sales process.

This is how I use it for analyzing and correcting the sales process:
1. List out all the different touchpoints that you produce or develop or participate in (web articles, billboards, business cards, website, Twitter, etc., etc.) and assign a letter to each. It doesn’t have to be in any specific order.
aaronhoos_flowscape1

2. List how one links to the other. For example, let’s say that Twitter drives traffic to your website and on your website you’ve got a place to sign up for an e-zine. So connect them together by noting how one leads to another. i.e., the website (B) leads to the newsletter (D)

aaronhoos_flowscape2

3. Next, map it out using the connections you’ve identified between the letters above.

aaronhoos_flowscape3

So, you’ve got your sales process drawn out in front of you. Now here is where the fun starts (at least for me).

Watch for warning signs: In the above example, it’s fairly straightforward but more often than not I see sales processes that look more like the one below, with crazy closed loops (F>G>H) or marketing that goes nowhere (I).

aaronhoos_flowscape4

Once you have your sales process mapped out, it becomes so much easier to figure out what to do about it. Find a way to connect your sales process together. Eliminate the parts that go nowhere.

Once you’ve fixed your sales process you can start to improve it. Create analytics around each point and make sure that they are apples-to-apples comparisons (or as close as you can get) so you can track prospect-to-customer progress all along the line.

And, make sure that your sales process doesn’t end (as the above examples do at “A”). Figure out how to offer more products and more services, or encourage users to refer colleagues to also buy. In the above example, there might be an additional ebook (or three or four or more), a paid version of the newsletter, affiliate links, a private coaching program, and so on. In other words, create an ever-growing loop. Below is a new and improved flowscape built from the original but improved to include more traffic-driving elements to the website (B) and then a closed loop to create more revenue per customer (D>A>F>H>G>D).

aaronhoos_flowscape5

Notes

  1. Tools for Thought offers more detailed descriptions and explanations.
  2. Purists will probably note that I have slightly modified the Flowscape. DeBono asserts that one thing will always link to another. And while I think that is generally true in many Flowscape applications, I’d suggest that in the sales process, it should happen but doesn’t… and that’s the purpose of creating a Flowscape to begin with. Start with what you have and figure out how to make it all link together.