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Without operating model principles, your strategy and vision are just words on a page…

“To be the provider of choice for…” “To offer a superior service to our chosen markets…” “To be the market leader in…” The vision sounds fantastic. But what now? What does it really mean to the way your business operates, and how do your people align what they are doing every minute of every day to deliver on that vision?

There’s no question in our minds, vision statements are critical. They set the direction and tone for an organisation, focus attention, and make great mouse pads. But underneath that is an even more critical level of information – your operating model principles. When defined well, a clear operating model makes everyday decision making simple for every team member, provides unambiguous clarity of purpose, and gives every stakeholder a tangible understanding of exactly how the vision and strategy will come to life through every interaction and every process. Even with the clearest of visions, organisations that fail to define their operating model principles can experience misinterpretation of their strategy, inconsistent decision making, failed deliverables, confused customers and even more confused staff.

Whether you’ve defined your strategy and vision for your company, your system transformation program, or for the next five years of growth, to truly bring your people along with you and help them create a tangible identity with what they are employed to achieve, your staff also need a tangible, clear and unambiguous set of principles with which they can make predictable and consistent decisions, think and create safely, work autonomously, and act with confidence. A well defined operating model will enable all of that.

In return, you will receive greater empowerment and ownership from your people; the volume of everyday decisions required to be made by your managers and leaders will reduce; and your business will work more harmoniously and efficiently and with less conflict and friction.

“…Even with the clearest of visions, organisations that fail to define their operating model principles experience misinterpretation of their strategy, inconsistent decision making, failed deliverables, confused customers and even more confused staff…”


The operating models we develop address the following seven key principle categories. The examples below are of course, not exhaustive, but illustrate the type of thinking we use to bring your strategy and vision to life. Not only do these principles articulate what your business will be, but also, where applicable, what it will not be.

Customers and People – these principles describe exactly what customers and industry segments you want to do business with; how your customers will/should/must experience their journey or interaction with your business; how your staff will treat them; and what the customer can expect from you if things don’t go to plan. These principles also describe how it will feel for your staff to work within your organisation.

Products and Services – what are the products and/or services you will offer (and avoid offering); how should they be designed to behave; how should your customers experience them; how should they compliment each other; how will they compete with your competitors; how will you achieve growth; and how will you win?

Channels of delivery – how will your customers interact with you; what options will be available to them; how will you keep up with emerging trends and technology; and how will your multiple channels integrate with each other?

Processes – how will your people execute their functions; what will be their role in decision making; how much automation do you require/desire; how will you ensure efficiency; how should processes be designed; how should your staff and customers experience those processes; and what is your approach to continuous improvement?

Information and Data – what information do you need to deliver your strategy and vision; how will you store and use the information and data you have gathered; what role will it play in delivering superior products and services; and can your customer benefit from the information and insights you have collected?

Technology – what system capabilities do you need to meet your goals; what is your appetite for emerging technology; what is your tolerance for multiple systems and interfaces; how will your systems and platforms integrate together; how do you protect your customers and your business; and how will you maintain and upgrade your technology?

Capabilities & Culture – How does your business need to be structured to succeed; what are the management and leadership capabilities required; what are the key skills required by your people in order to deliver your strategy and vision; what capabilities do you expect your customers to possess in order for them to succeed with your products/services; what mix of human talent and diversity do you aspire to; how will your staff experience being employed; what is the culture you require/expect within the business?

These operating model principles then become the foundation that supports the design or transformation of the organisation, layer by layer, and shape decision making across your entire business. Your managers, leaders and team members can all validate their thinking and everyday decisioning against an unambiguous set of principles that all drive action that compliments your intended vision and your strategy. Furthermore, these same principles can be used and adapted to the design of a project or program of work, a specific value chain or even a single operational process, ensuring that at both the macro and micro levels of your business, there is an agreed, understood and integrated operating model defining the way you do business every day, and elevating the strategy and vision from your page to your reality.

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