Phase 2, Beliefs Set
Short Description - A recommended pre-workshop reading.

The following information is provided to familiarize Beliefs Set workshop participants with the terms used and the rationale for dialog around each of the five core elements. A handout will be provided to participants during the workshop to expand on these short descriptions.


Purpose.

The singular, unique, and timeless reason for existence.

When initiating a new organization alignment project with an organization, the Purpose element is generally the best element to put into place first. Because of its singularity and timeless nature, it often prompts the most meaningful dialog.

Often people confuse the purpose of "work" with the purpose of the organization. Work is performed for profit. But people can perform a variety of potential work to make a profit. It is the organization's core purpose, the reason for its existence that must be described here, not the purpose of labor.

An important characteristic of Purpose is that it will be true for the organization now, and it will be true for the organization at the time the vision is attained. The purpose is timeless -- it will always be the singular reason for the organization's existence. Typically, the purpose will be articulated in a single simple sentence. It can be easily understood. It must be clear to those who read it, and to those who work to fulfill it. At best, it must be a lofty purpose -- one that anyone would be proud to be a part of.


Customers/Clients.

People who decide to use products and services offered by the organization, thereby assuring its vitality.

Customers are both internal and external to the organization. External customers provide the funding that enables the organization to stay operational and are part of the organization's environment. Customer/client satisfaction has become a minimal standard that many organizations try to surpass with customer "excitement."

People in an organization can rarely provide great performance to external customers until they have experienced it internally first. Most contemporary customer service literature focuses on improved treatment of internal customer relationships as a mechanism for improving overall performance and productivity.


Shared Vision.

A clear and concrete desired end-state for the whole organization, composed from the imagination of its members, based on a common systemic framework, and toward which each member of the organization will strive.

Two questions cloud the Shared Vision issue: the implications of the word "shared" and the structure of the vision itself. Both are obviously an essential ingredient in success.

Why construct a Shared Vision at all, what is to be gained from it? Simply stated, the Shared Vision forms a direct link from our current condition to the condition we want to prevail in the future. The Shared Vision ought to be articulated for a specific point in time, Fifty Years From Now -- the year 2000 -- 2025 -- when I retire ( a specific event unknown in time). The Vision is a point toward which we can channel our efforts, and within which we can provide a context for decision-making. The result of our decisions ought to advance the organization toward the Shared Vision.

In organizations, everyone makes decisions of one type or another. Sharing a vision is multi-directional in any organization. The Vision needs to be shared out from the core within which it was conceived, and those parts of the Vision that are clarified or modified from outside the core must be shared back into it so those suggestions can be appropriately incorporated. The Shared Vision must be vital and alive. As the attainment of the Vision approaches, one must construct a new and improved version. Vision must always be present.

As to the structure of the Shared Vision, it is most powerful when people can imagine it in its entirety. A frequent error made in visioning sessions is to determine one segment of the Vision structure and deny or evade the entire structure. Systemic (complete) Visions are more powerful and more readily and quickly attained. Any systemic model can be used for this purpose. In this Technology, the Unifying Human Systems (UHS) Model is used for the construction of a Systemic Vision.


Values.

Basic beliefs, communicated in a single word or phrase, expressing what is "good" or ought to be, that serve as a guide for decision making.

Here, we distinguish between value norms and value standards. Norms determine the way people behave without supervision and guidance, while value standards are less likely to yield the desired unsupervised results. Of the two types, value norms are considered more powerful as they form the basis for individual choice rather than collective decision.

The global work of Brian Hall and Richard Toma is used as a reliable backdrop for determining value-words validity. Their research determined that about 125 powerful and energy-emotion communicating words exist in our universe regardless of culture and geographical setting. Language has also been eliminated as a significant factor. The meaning for these 125 words have been determined to be highly value laden, and normative in nature. Additionally, the Hall-Toma work has identified 25 core concepts within the larger list of 125. This work makes it easier to determine root value concepts for any organization. Their work also suggests that individuals and organizations cluster value sets (normally in sets of three to five) within hierarchical groups of four. These sets within groups form a congruent pattern. Any organization that espouses values that cross-match inappropriate groups and sets are likely to be fragmented in the way they perform work. When organizations determine and articulate their value sets it is important to measure the degree to which these patterns are congruent and support the remainder of the alignment structure.

Simply articulating a value set isn't enough to gain benefit from having done the work. The value set must have been determined in a highly collaborative and open group process. It is rarely done in less than "hours" and can often take "days" to clarify. Even when clarified and communicated throughout the entire organization the value set may not be subscribed to by everyone. It is normal for teams and subgroups to resist "subscribing" to a value set determined by someone else. The process of determining and articulating the value norms for an entire organization must never be a closed item. The balance between determining value sets and having a stable value set is difficult. It is essential that people who work together be empowered to determine and to modify their value set from time to time. This will be constantly done at the cost of some turmoil, however.


Missions.

Statements of an organization's capability, which when carried out, allow it to continually attract the resources required for it to continue in existence.

The ability to perform a mission attracts resources to the organization that enable it to fulfill its purpose. If Missions are not clear and responsive to the environment, then the organization's ability to attract money and other resources will be in jeopardy. Resources attracted to the organization are expended at the program-element-level within the Work Regimen section of the Cultural Alignment structure. Everyone in the organization must know and act upon the organization's ability to attract resources.

In recent years the duality of mission requirement has become apparent. As the Nation's work force has become more mobile, it is more apparent that at least one mission must focus on the satisfaction of internal customers, while at least one mission must focus on the satisfaction of external customers. Mission duality is an essential ingredient in success.

Internal missions attract the human "resource" to the organization. Although some object to the use of the words human and resource together, it is undeniable that human activity is a resource. In recent years, human resources want benefits that satisfy their sense of belonging and contribution to the organization. They want to participate in decisions that will effect their lives. They want to improve the quality of work life, and enable quality leisure time as well. Although this may seem paradoxical, it is possible, and can only be achieved with a new brand of systemic participation.

Missions are relatively stable within the context of the organization Purpose, but are subject to change on relatively short notice to assure they remain responsive to external customers. Organizations often organize around mission areas for this purpose. At least one drawback of this type of structure is that the potential for attracting new resources from new potential external customers is thus limited.

Often, articulating Missions for an organization must be accomplished "backwardly" by first determining what it is that customers are paying for in terms of capability or capacity. Certainly organizations that have grown from humble beginnings may not have had the luxury of knowing mission areas until after they "discovered" their product and service line. The requisite market is an infinitely wise teacher.


Copyright 1992 Leadagement Technologies, Inc.-- All rights reserved.
92/12/31 - Revised 1996