Fancy sounding terms like strategy and purpose are being thrown around all the time, often without ever defining them in the context they are being used. This causes all kinds of issues in organizations, from (mis-)using them so that they become jargon to having an unclear, unaligned understanding and use within an organization. In my upcoming book, I provide a cohesive framework of these terms, which I call “The Nine Elements of Organizational Identity”.
Organizational identity encapsulates what it takes to build a high-performing organization that is fully aligned on all key aspects of their existence. This alignment brings clarity and synchronizes your organization in a way that enables everyone to pull into the same direction. Imagine the speed and impact your organization could have if you reached this level of clarity!
Let me introduce you to the Nine Elements of Organizational Identity and how you can understand and use these elements in the process of developing and implementing organizational identity.
Purpose is your reason to exist. Function: It provides meaning and orientation. Characteristics: It addresses a good cause, is grand, and idealistic.
Principles are underlying values and behavioral guidelines. Function: They provide a framework for decision-making, collaboration and desired behavior. Characteristics: They are non-negotiable and universally valid within an organization.
Mission is what an organization does, and for whom. Function: It defines an organization’s field of activity or business. Characteristics: No frills and straight forward.
Vision can best be defined as an organization’s state some years in the future. Function: It paints a desirable picture that engages and motivates people to become a part of the journey. Characteristics: It addresses hearts and minds of key stakeholder groups.
A Strategy Map visually depicts an organization’s strategic priorities. Function: It helps to steer towards the vision. Characteristics: It addresses different stakeholder perspectives along the value chain.
Goals are the operational breakdown of strategy. Function: They help move strategy into action. Characteristics: They are SMART and the basis for individual targets.
Targets describe an individual’s contribution to implementing organizational identity. Function: They create transparency, motivate, and make contribution matter. Characteristics: They are role specific, addressing several elements of identity.
Capabilities are mission-critical skills for implementing organizational identity. Function: They enable leaders and individual contributors to cope with change and live up to expectations. Characteristics: They include occupational skills and a specific set of interpersonal skills.
Management Systems are frameworks to steer an organization. Function: They help achieve strategic and operational objectives. Characteristics: They support the status quo, not the change, and therefore need to be adjusted fast.
The Nine Elements of Organizational Identity are the central framework of my upcoming book. Please share your thoughts in the comments – I am curious to learn about your perspective!