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.

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.

Recommended reading: Blue Ocean Strategy

One of my favorite books:

W. Chan Kim and Renee Maubergne provide readers with a powerful way to look at your business, your competitors, and the marketplace to identify opportunities for differentiation and innovation. Their strategy canvas is the best strategic tool of the book, in my opinion, although their 4 Actions Framework is also a useful version of a familiar innovation process.

Lots of business books spend too much time talking about theory and not enough time offering practical guidance. But Blue Ocean Strategy was very actionable. I ended up with a HUGE list of opportunities that I’m implementing.

[UPDATE FROM 37 MONTHS LATER: I can report that the actionable ideas I uncovered using Kim and Maubergne’s book played a significant role in my business’ success. In the past 3 years, I have seen a dramatic improvement in business positioning, client quality, revenue, and profit.]

Business Diamond Framework: A new way of looking at business

The Business Diamond Framework™ is a new way of looking at a business.

There are many different kinds of businesses but all of those businesses perform the same four functions to achieve their unique ends. Those four functions can be depicted like this:

bdf-w-words-full

Leadership” represents the vision-casting and management of decision-makers. “Value-Add” represents the input-side of the business’ supply chain, which might include information or raw materials. “To-Market” represents the output-side of the supply chain, which includes marketing, sales, distribution, and other steps to bring a completed product or service to market. And “Support” represents the critical but non-revenue-generating functions of the business, which usually includes payroll, reception, HR, and other departments.

Introduction to the Business Diamond Framework

The Business Diamond Framework&trade is a tool I’ve created in the past couple of years to help businesses achieve profitable growth. From time to time, you’ll read about the Framework and how you can apply it to your business.

The Business Diamond Framework™ started life as a way for me to quickly understand my clients’ marketplace, goals, and needs so that I could write for them more effectively. But later, it became a tool that helped businesses to learn more about themselves, to develop competitor-defying innovation, and to implement strategy effectively.

Here’s why it’s relevant: Businesses want to grow but a growth path is not clearly laid out for them. They need to create strategy but which strategy to choose? There are a multitude of strategic development tools out there, but which ones are the right ones?

That’s what the Business Diamond Framework™ solves. The Framework combines two things:

  • A new way to think about a business
  • A methodology