I work as a business consultant, and have just gone freelance. My old employer had many excellent diagrams that helped clients understand how we thought there businesses should function. There was a chart around leadership and corporate culture, another around customer service etc. But they were all separate. What I'm trying to do is synthesise them into something that covers all the key elements of a business, and shows the order in which decisions should be made (ideally). Finding the best way to draw this diagram is what I'd like your help with.
It's really important to me to keep things simple, and I realise that I won't be able to fit every detail on 1 chart. So I've tried to create a framework, dividing all the key elements of the business into 'why', 'how', 'what', 'when' and 'who'. Everything else fits within these boxes. I can then 'zoom in' to more detail where necessary.
So the elements on the chart should be:
‘WHY’ (Why the business exists) – within this comes the corporate Mission, Vision or Purpose.
‘WHAT’ (What we offer to customers) – within this comes the Offer or Customer Promise, as well as what the co doesn’t promise.
‘HOW’ (How we’ll make the ‘What’ stuff happen) – within this comes Values, Behaviours, key bits of Strategy, internal communications etc etc
‘WHEN’ (When the ‘How’ stuff will happen by) – within this comes Goals, Key Performance Indicators (i.e. personal goals), Service Levels Agreements etc
The diagram is basically showing the flow of decisions, and these go in the order above, from top to bottom. Keeping this order right in the diagram is important!
There’s also ‘WHO’ – which I’ve split into Leaders, Employees and Customers (I’ve left off supplier and partners for now). They’re kind of different to the elements above, in that they’re the people making the decisions and implementing (Leaders and Employees) and the people getting the benefit of all this (Customers). The big decisions made by leaders fall within 'Why', 'How' and 'When' are mainly tackled by employees, and leaders, employees and customers all come together around the most important element of 'What'. BUT I could be persuaded to leave ‘Who’ off if it’s just all getting too complicated.
The challenge is to make ‘What’ (i.e. the offer) most prominent, as it’s really the most important. And also show that everything rest on the ‘Why’, while at the same time making clear that the order is as I’ve shown above (Why, What, How, When). Balancing these things is what makes this hard!
I've had a go at drawing the diagram myself (with only partial success), and then written some blog posts giving more background detail of what I'm trying to do.
Both the diagram and writing is at http://vivondo.blogspot.com.
There are a couple of other things on my drawing I'd really like to fix:
- The offer/promise (i.e. what the company offers to the public) should be at the centre. It's the core of what the business does.
- I'd like to remove duplication. So the company's mission, vision and values underlie everything. They are the foundations. I've had to draw them twice, but I'd like to avoid this if possible.
Your diagram does not necessarily have to look anything like mine!
You can but don't have to:
- Categorise the business concepts in a way other than 'how', 'what', 'when' etc (but beware, a lot of people have gone wrong trying to do this)
- Find a better way to represent the flow of information, or leave it out altogether
- I've shown the flow of decisions. It would be amazing to add the flow of money. But again, there's a lot of room to go wrong trying to do this.
To win this contest your entry doesn't have to be stunning (I can spend more money on great illustration later if I want to). It does have to present the information significantly better than I have. A scribbled scan which arranges the info really well will beat elaborate rendering.
I realise this is a big challenge, and that although I've tried hard I may not have communicated it well. I encourage you to send questions and sketches early, before you do too much work.