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The Structural Tension Master chart for your Vision

This is a follow on article to Structural Consulting for Organisations.

Basics of Structural Consulting

  1. Start with nothing:
    • Tougher for consultants who are taught to have to ‘add value’ or be ‘experts’.
  2. Ask questions:
    • Clarify
    • Confirm
    • Build an additive picture
  3. Notice underlying structure:
    • The individual may not see it or want to look at it now.
  4. Teach reality

OUTCOME OF STRUCTURAL CONSULTING

A tension seeking resolution structure that will resolve for your purpose. Based on the principle of divide and think.

  1. End Result (Outcome): What is the outcome you are after?
  2. Current Reality: Where are you in relation to that outcome?
  3. Action Steps (Strategy): What actions do you need to take from here?
  4. Dates / responsibilities
  5. Sub Plans (Telescoping)

1) Defining the End Result (Outcome)

Questions to clarify the Outcome (End Result / Vision):

  1. If anything were possible what would you want to create?
  2. Is this something you want and not something you want to get rid of?
  3. Is this the end result or something that leads to something you want?
  4. Is this what you think is possible?
  5. Are there tradeoffs implied?
  6. If you had it would you take it?
  7. Is that all you want?
  8. For organisations specifically:
    • Culturally what do you want?
    • Financially what do you want?

Result: A precise description of the outcome = what you want. Consider the following when defining the outcome.

  • Need to be picturable: Form a mental picture.
  • You need to know if you got it or not.
  • Quantify when possible.
  • Time specific when possible (usually a timeframe of 1-2 years.)
  • Avoid comparative terms.
  • Creating, not problem solving. (Action to get away vs. for something to come into being).
  • Actual result (what), not process (how): The process serves result.
  • Be specific not vague.
  • Don’t overstretch the goals to manipulate you into higher goals. Better to accomplish what you want, create momentum by achieving what you set out to achieve.

2) Defining the Current Reality

This is the most difficult part as it requires truthfulness and openness.

Questions to clarify Current Reality:

  1. What you have?
  2. What you know?
  3. Whos’ on your side? (stakeholders, partners)
  4. Other forces in favour?
  5. Are there patterns and trends?
  1. What you don’t have? (If you notice it and need it, you will get it.)
  2. What you don’t know?
  3. Who’s not on your side? (opponents, indifferent, competition)
  4. Other forces not in favour?

11 more Questions for clarity specifically for organisations:

  1. What is our offering?
  2. Who are our customers?
  3. What do they want?
  4. What do we want?
  5. What is the match between our offer?
  6. How do they know about us?
  7. How do they obtain our offering?
  8. What is the current market?
  9. What is the future market?
  10. How will our offerings change?
  11. Where are we going?

Result: A precise description of the current reality = where you are in relation to what you want. Consider the following when defining the outcome.

  • Use your goal as reference point.
  • Describe the relevant picture.
  • Include the whole picture.
  • Avoid assumptions -> Describe as objectively as you can.
  • Do not exaggerate (better / worse).
  • How reality actually is (not how it got to be) → Leave out the journey to CR.
  • Include all needed facts.

3) Defining the Action Steps

Questions to clarify the Action Steps:

  1. Whats are the things to do? To ensure I get what I want given where I am. Be brief and concise and picture them to verify if they are complete.
  2. What is the sequence?
  3. Whats is the timing?
  4. Who is responsible? (one person per action step)
  5. If we do this, is it likely to achieve our goal? If not, actions steps are missing.

To not end with a big to-do list, group action steps into themes. Action Steps in the Master Chart are high level, further details become the outcome of a separate Structural Tension chart (Telescoping: Action Step becomes the goal of a secondary structural tension chart).

4) Test the Chart

Now that you layed out Vision, Current Reality and the Action Steps, it’s time to test it:

  1. Given that I’m in Current Reality, will taking the Action Steps take me to this End Result? If the answer is ‘no’, go back and add more / adjust Action Steps, until the answer is ‘yes’.
  2. Do I care enough for the End Result, that I am willing to take all these Action Steps? If the answer is ‘no’, don’t do it. If the answer is ‘yes’, follow on to 5).

5) Implement

  1. Implement
  2. Review / adjust
  3. Take more action
  4. Review / adjust
  5. Get End Result
  6. Chose new End Result

OUTCOME OF STRUCTURAL CONSULTING

A tension seeking resolution structure that will resolve for your purpose.

  1. End Result (Outcome): What is the outcome you are after?
  2. Current Reality: Where are you in relation to that outcome?
  3. Action Steps (Strategy): What actions do you need to take from here?

Each member of the organisation should know what the purpose and outcome is. To be aligned. To then indeed create the outcome that you as an organization want to create.

Why does that work?

Because tension seeks resolution.

  1. Tension is formed by the discrepancy or difference between two elements (outcome and current reality)
  2. Tension creates a tendency. for movement by forming a path of least resistance.
  3. Tension resolves when the discrepancy ends.

Interested in alignment towards your purpose?

If you need more clarity on your situation and want to change gears from oscillation to advancement, let’s connect here and discuss how I can support you.

 

Let’s schedule a free 30 min ‘Discovery Call’ today!