Platt Perspective on Business and Technology

Intentional management 4: the core model and its implications

Posted in strategy and planning by Timothy Platt on April 8, 2014

This is my fourth installment in a series in which I discuss how management activity and responsibilities can be parsed and distributed through a business organization, so as to better meet operational and strategic goals and as a planned intentional process (see Business Strategy and Operations – 3, postings 472 and loosely following for Parts 1-3.)

I have been discussing intentional management systems in specific example terms:

• First in Part 2 with a single business case study as drawn from Google and its management system,
• And then in Part 3 with a specific business management approach: matrix management, as it might be carried out in innovation-driven businesses in general.

I turn here to consider the intentional management paradigm and how it works in more general terms. And I begin that with the fundamentals.

• Businesses gain their greatest and most sustaining strength from qualities and resources that they hold and use that their competition does not. The value of these differentiating and even business-defining resources rests in how they support differentially more cost-effective capacity to meet end-user needs in their markets, that drive incrementally higher sales and that expand market share controlled.
• And these resources can arise and be cultivated and developed in essentially any aspect or area of a business. Most of the time we think in terms of better, more market-attractive products and services, but value defining and value creating novelty can arise in sales or post-sales customer support, in increased agility and speed in bringing end-products to market and in shifting to new product and service offerings as new opportunities emerge, or even in back office capabilities that support more customer facing processes and processes. Defining excellence and new and novel sources of business defining value can emerge and be cultivated anywhere in a business organization. In fact, the less obvious a source of value defining and creating difference in a business, the more difficult it would be for their competitors to match and duplicate it or even understand and appreciate it for what it is.
• Improvements in management processes that facilitate overall business effectiveness fit that pattern, where emerging value comes from the more behind the scenes details of how they are day to day implemented than from their perhaps more visible general outline details. If, for example, Google gains significantly from its dual reporting system as briefly outlined in Part 2, that does not mean that simply jumping on the dual reporting, matrix management bandwagon is going to create value for other organizations. And in that regard I cite my cautionary note regarding matrix management from Part 3.
• Intentional management is all about point by point alignment of operations and how they are organized and managed, and overall business strategy, and it is carried out and adjusted to keep it relevant and with competitive value and the drive for competitive advantage firmly in mind and as guiding principle here.
• I cited my brief series: Management and Strategy by Prototype in Part 3 of this series (see its Part 1 and its Part 2 continuation for that series.) In a fundamental sense this series is a direct continuation of that one, as have at least portions of several other series where I have cited management and strategy by prototyping, and the imperative of taking a dynamic business process approach.

I am going to continue this discussion in a next series installment, where I will delve more deeply into how intentional management, and a dynamic strategy-to-operations and back approach, works in practice. And in anticipation of that, I note that effective management is only partly about managing a business’ human resources: its staff of in-house employees and any outside consultants or contract workers or others who might be contributing their effort and expertise to the business venture. It is also about managing their work contexts. And as a part of that I will discuss issues like workspace layouts that can be fad-driven, or strategically planned out and developed as part of an overall business plan and regardless of faddish considerations. Just consider the spread of cubicle farms in business settings large and small, as an already old business layout fad example. I will look into cubicle approaches to office set-up among other possibilities.

Meanwhile, you can find this and related postings at Business Strategy and Operations – 3 and also at Page 1 and Page 2 of that directory.

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