Where Do I Start to Strategically Attack a Problem?

Posted by Matthew Thomas

matthew-thomas-2.jpgAccording to my wife, I do jigsaw puzzles differently than most other people. Evidently many people start by working around the edges; I typically start with the brightest color or the most-defined object in the puzzle and work from there. This often means that I have several disconnected or only tenuously-connected larger chunks for a while until the rest of the puzzle fills in.

The truth is that either point of entry - the edge pieces or my color/definition approach - will get us there. And my problem-solving mind sees this as a point of entry to approaches to organizational design.

Like what you're reading? Subscribe Now!Organizations call in outside consultants for a wide variety of reasons. As Mark Vincent, et al., note in The Tao of Action-Reflection, a good proportion of these are looking for guidance, but are working with solid fundamentals. Others seek intervention - not only to work on a task at hand, but also to develop organizational health where it is lacking, and the lack is causing organizational distress.

Moreover, this guidance or intervention can make entry at any one of the major points of an organization's vision- and strategy-development cycle. The TAD process, which we have been describing recently, speaks to this in its model, represented by the graphic below:


Wherever the problem - whatever it is - seems most acute, or most clear, that's where we enter the process. Like my jigsaw puzzle method, an organization doesn't just have to start at an end or an edge. Sometimes it's best to start where things might be the best defined, and work outward. And, frankly, sometimes the edges are better defined than anything else. To try a different analogy, an organization doesn't have to start on page 1, upper left, to get it right.

You see, we're not really losing anything to start where the stuck point or the strategy point happens to be at the moment - even if it is well into the Deliver phase. As the arrow added to the screenshot indicates, this process cycles around as the fruit of delivering on strategy helps the organization evolve forward. That means that an organization can build from wherever it is now toward its goals, and modify them as they evolve. Moreover, an organization does not necessarily need intervention of a consultant through the whole cycle, if one comes in for one part. It all really depends on organizational capacity and goals.

(Related: Strategic Flexibility)

We have been using the TAD process to illustrate how organizations can implement organizational design using a specific tool. In truth, the TAD process outlines the broad reach of organizational design in ways that people can get their hands on. I find the TAD software helpful to create the understanding needed for good organizational development and support organizational process.

How can I find out more?

As a TAD-Certified Consultant and member of the TAD Partner program, I can walk you through a demonstration of the software and work with you to see if TAD would be a good fit for your organization or project. Feel free to call 1.877.771.3330 x20 or e-mail me. If you would like to see more about the software directly from adaQuest, visit http://www.adaquest.com/services/vision-realization/


Topics: Matthew Thomas, action-reflection