The Delta Framework: Ok, it’s a bit simplistic…

The point is, if you had to refine organisational change down to three elements – and that’s difficult – the three legs of the stool I choose are:

  1. Clarity of vision,
  2. Teams working well together, and
  3. Sophisticated leadership.

There are a whole lot of things that make an organisation work, but if you can improve these three elements, I think you’re a hell of a long way down the track to success. Most organisations I’ve encountered could benefit from focus on at least one if not all of these areas.

That’s my logic behind talking about the Delta Framework as a 3 step process.

Let me elaborate on what I mean by each step:

The first step is clarity of vision. Business modelling is just a shorthand way of thinking about what’s happening in your business. Too many people are unclear about their organisation’s top customer segment, don’t understand the importance of the channels they work through, or even the important elements of their solution… it’s just the norm… “the way we do things here”. But every organisation can benefit from a laser focus on those aspects of the business that are critical to its success. You’d be surprised how many people in organisations don’t understand even the Why of the business (as Simon Sinek says).

The second leg of the Delta Framework is about teams working collaboratively together. Through workshops or meetings, you build trust. Through building trust, a requirement to be conscientious and share responsibility is implicit in the way the team works together. The trusting team can overcome all sorts of difficulties. Teams can work really productively together if they understand that their responsibility is to be collaborative, focused and internally non-competitive. And you’ve got to set things up so they think like this. I know “team building” is almost a cliché, but there’s good motivation for it: a team of capable motivated people can overcome all sorts of failures of process and governance, simply because they’re alert to recognise issues and empowered to fix them.

Which brings me to the third leg of the stool: Sophisticated leadership.

I use the word “sophisticated’ carefully… because I don’t believe great leaders are super-intelligent or have magic talents, but they are sophisticated in that they trust their people, they allow people to make mistakes, they “run interference”* for their people from external factors, so that their people have the space to get stuff done. A good leader leads in the style he/she needs to lead to get the outcome required at the time. They are chameleon-like: they don’t have a single leadership style, they adapt their style for the circumstances: they know when to thump the table, when to be gently persuasive, and when to say nothing. A sophisticated leader knows the style he/she has to adopt to be effective.

So they’re the three aspects of the Delta Framework: Understand your business model with clarity; have your teams working together smoothly supporting the initiative of individuals while supporting them when they make mistakes; and have leaders who understand all of the above who are there to serve their people in delivering the right business outcomes. Put those three together and you’ve got a harmonious, happy, healthy environment in which people can be productive and reliable, and from which genuine financial improvements will flow.

And by the way… I know it’s not that simple, but it’s really easy to get your head around 🙂

*Handle problems or help clear the way for one another, as in “The press secretary runs interference for the governor”. This term comes from American football, where if you run interference, you clear the way for the player with the ball by blocking players from the opposing team. Its figurative use dates from the mid-1900s.

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