Footdown's F1.1 Seven Domain Model
How do leaders know what’s really going on in their organisations and what their colleagues are really thinking? What language is used to share and describe issues? How is the organisation broken down in to components so that interventions, as implemented, are understood and prioritised?
Footdown's F1.1 Organisational Intelligence Platform structures the repository of collected intelligence around our proprietary Seven Domain Model
Footdown’s F1.1 Organisational Intelligence Platform (OIP) enables leaders to identify and address issues in their organisations quickly, accurately and cost-effectively. It prioritises what needs fixing, in what order and with what interventions, without recourse to traditional approaches of protracted consultancy and high cost. This enables leaders to make decisions about their organisations as close to ‘real time’ as possible by creating the opportunities for accurate and targeted reflection.
The F1.1 OIP is built to be used by people in organisations who are not management or development specialists; it is built for leaders who want to create strong sustainable businesses. Therefore, at the forefront of our minds is the 80/20 principle; getting 80% of the impact with 20% of the costs, time and fuss.
Our ambition is always going to be linked to 'real world' leadership issues such as speed, cost, ease of use and "can we do it ourselves?". Footdown's F1.1 Organisation Model is grounded in well-researched theory, but it also embraces great ideas that are in the formative stages of development. This enables it to support generalised statements about an organisation that are intended to capture the attention of people (what is the story here?) and accurate statements about an organisation that are intended to capture the intention of people (this is how we might change it).
Ordering and causality
As a simple (not simplistic) ‘rule of thumb’ there is a natural order to building a great organisation: create a clear and workable design that takes into account where you want to go, what you want to do and how you want to do it. Build the right environment in which your organisation can flourish. Gather, develop and give the right opportunities to your people. Help them to create a successful culture through committed and skilled leadership. Focus on effective and consistent execution whilst driving forward to achieve meaningful results.
The natural order is, however, often disrupted by design, events or strategic drift resulting in a loss of balance. Once balance is lost it is difficult to regain because the causes are subsumed within the complexities of organisational life. The F1.1 High Performing Workplace (HPW) diagnostic suite uses a bottom up method to generate a building block approach to understand the ‘what’ and ‘why’ of organisational issues through the seven domains.
Organisations need to be thought of as interdependent systems, inherent in which is the cause and effect of intervention (intervention in one part of a system will result in an effect in another……. but not, necessarily, where or when one might hope or expect).
What starts as a simple ‘rule of thumb’ becomes a complex mass of overwhelming complexity (too many potential causes and too little certainty). Leaders either do nothing, or reach out for an apparently easy fix. By increasing certainty, the HPW diagnostic helps leaders make more confident decisions, reducing complexity into manageable and ultimately, actionable chunks of information whilst providing a process for subsequent monitoring of cause and effect.
Footdown's F1.1 OIP Model enables an overview of an organisation which is taken through seven ‘domains’: Design, Results, Environment, Execution, Culture, Leadership and People. Together, the seven domains provide a generic platform for assessing organisational effectiveness at both rational and emotional levels of analysis through application of a structure of precise questions.
The complete model is deconstructed from the seven domains to a range of several thousand questions. The model operates as a resource from which more targeted or discrete’ views’ can be built with clients, to investigate particular themes such as organisational culture or performance.
By this method, data from all themes and views informs the understanding. The benefit is that whether an organisation takes a temperature check of a People theme or Results theme, all aspects of organising are reported upon and collated across the domain interdependencies.
The complete model is deconstructed from the seven domains to a range of several thousand questions. The model operates as a resource from which more targeted or discrete’ views’ can be built, with clients, to investigate particular themes such as organisational culture or performance.
By this method data from all themes and views informs the holistic understanding. The benefit is that whether an organisation takes a temperature check of a People theme or Results theme, all aspects of organising are reported upon and collated across the domain interdependencies.
Methods of Deployment
The F1.1 OIP suite of diagnostic lenses is deployed digitally using a web browser or iPad App. A user-friendly interface allows people to quickly answer a series of incisive questions without undue interruption to the workflow. Whilst first deployment will, typically, centre on the senior leadership team, wider use across an organisation ensures that different perceptions and experiences of the organisation are taken into account.
Once an initial diagnostic has been undertaken, a benchmark is established and interventions can be tracked over time by future deployments of the F1.1 OIP suite.
Processes of Analysis
Organisations that want a ‘temperature check’ across their organisation (they have no specific issue that they wish to focus upon) will be asked a range of questions selected from our seven domains. These will signpost opportunities and issues at a general level from which further levels of accuracy will be identified and appropriate intervention themes selected. The Seven Domain suite is 21 questions and takes only a few minutes to complete.
Where there is a specific aspect of the organisation being examined, each subject condition becomes an F1.1 Lens that is probed using a small range of questions (normally 16 per lens) and which is visualised through a specific graphical model. The questions, or clues, seek to identify specific organisational attributes; whether this be its performance in a particular discipline – sales, marketing etc., or the way that behaviours shape performance through team-working or leadership. The responses to the questions are scored, marked within the graphical model and reported as measurable and actionable symptoms. From these symptoms it is possible to point a client organisation towards specific remedies within the seven-domain model.
Domain (Zoom-In) approach:
A domain approach is most common where a Lens scan has identified a specific domain (or domains) to be causal; then the enquiry is centred within the seven domains. It provides the opportunity to gather information about the fine grain of a potential issue within a single sphere of interest. The benefit of this approach is the ability to focus attention. However, rarely (if ever) will the root cause of an issue rest solely within a single domain and so we have structured the clues to highlight lateral domain influence.
The Foundation approach enables a wide net to be spread across the entire organisation and it is of particular value to newly appointed leadership teams, to those who seek to transform their organisations or to experienced user groups that are familiar with the F1.1 OIP framework and its potential for informing decision-making. The benefits are that this approach is comprehensive and makes no assumptions; it lets the data tell the story.
The Lens approach draws upon a common structure of questions situated in all domains so as symptoms are revealed through use or multiple uses of discrete lenses they build a systemic picture of the strategic strengths and areas for long-term development of an organisation. Because we are looking across all domains the benefits are that all aspects of organising are reported upon and collated across the domain interdependencies. It can be very ‘light touch’ (typically just 16 questions) and provides a good early ‘sighter’ of what is happening in a specific area of interest.
Whichever approach is deployed,the holistic design of the diagnostic process ensures that information is captured across organisational functioning.
The Domain approach is a much more specific attempt to determine the relative perception of performance within a specific discipline. This might arise from previous work and act as a process of ‘drilling down’ or be instigated by a leader who is following an informed view that this is where an organisation is facing blocks to performance.
Defining the Seven Domains
The plans, designs and supervision for the construction of the organisation’s strategy.
This activity of the business is driven from the business case or model that mathematically encapsulates the core aspects of the organisation. The activity or setting of behaviours is outlined in strategy which fundamentally defines the architecture of the organisation and in particular the major roles that will report at the top of that organisation. The goal of organisation design is to create value for customers and in so doing, help to define the organisation’s customer and market.
Design provides a framework that delivers on the aspirations of the leadership in relation to the values and purpose of the organisation. This domain sets up the business and is distinct from how the organisation executes based on its design. Philosophically, this set of activities establishes the organisation’s competitive advantage based upon the team’s core competence. Without this activity, an organisation will not set up the fundamentals of its performance. (Don’t understand) As an iterative process, the four categories performed together should draw upon the knowledge, experience and expertise of the team and result in a design for a high performing workplace.
The design is the standard by which the organisation executes. Continued redesign is based on a flexible architecture and the commitment to changing it when necessary to sustain competitive advantage.
The environment domain is divided between the physical environment that the people work within and the external influences or events that are happening outside of the organisation. Typically, the external events are not alterable but should be understood for their impact on strategy and execution.
The physical environment can be influenced and if necessary, changed. It is here that we should attempt to be different/uplifting, supporting the appropriate split and grouping of teams and be efficient in support of the day-to-day administrative process.
The attributes, selection, development and behaviours of people within organisational settings.
Organisations are comprised of people who come together to deliver common purpose through a process of organising. People are not just key to organisations, they are central to organisations, and the diversity, behaviours, skills, experiences and values of those people create and sustain unique organisational identities. For this reason, Footdown’s F1.1 OIP model examines the impact and influence of people through a wide range of measures:
The harnessing of collective ability and capability though effective team working
The management and understanding of self in terms of needs, drivers and preferences
The underpinning reasons why people come to work (extrinsic and intrinsic motivation)
What people want to achieve at work (particularly in areas of self-fulfilment)
The harmonising of what people want to do and how they want do it
The specific part that a person plays in an organisation, the role that they take and its impact on the organisation.
The cause and effect relationship between the seven domains that give expression to Footdown’s F1.1 OIP model is best articulated through the people domain. That is to say attempts to conduct adaptive change to Design, Results, Environment, Execution, Culture or Leadership, will impact upon the People domain in one or more of the areas listed above. Organisations are a combination of logical processes and emotional processing; mindfulness of people issues is therefore, a prerequisite to leading successful organisational change.
Organisational culture is the total picture of how an organisation both perceives and is perceived by its contextual environment.
A simple understanding of organisational culture is ‘the way we do things around here’; a complex understanding is that ‘organisational culture is a rich array of interdependent and often tacit understandings that organisational members rely upon to interpret and act upon internal and external events’. These understandings are commonly manifest, but not limited to: behaviours, traditions/customs, artefacts and accepted narratives. None is necessarily wrong but their differences set up the levels of interpretation that we apply though Footdown’s F1.1 framework.
Culture is an enduring, slow-to-change and core characteristic of organisations. It refers to implicit, often indiscernible aspects of its organisational character, for which detailed description requires a ‘deeper dive’ (use of more precise questions) into the framework. This is fine and enables an organisation to reflect on what long-term adaptations it might consider in aligning organisational strategy to the way that the organisation functions. However, the F1.1 OIP tool also enables executives to answer the ‘now what?’ question that meets the imperative of urgency and momentum by offering a view of an organisation’s cultural climate. Quick and even dramatic changes can impact an organisation’s cultural climate because the climate is much more amenable to the immediate action of (in particular) leaders. Over time, the consistent, joined-up, disciplined application of climate-based actions will shift organisational culture.
Leadership is the process through which the direction and nature of organisational activities are given meaning.
Leadership is described through many different terms e.g.: authoritative, delegated, empowered, toxic and the like, but taken in isolation and devoid of context such expressions lose meaning and therefore, utility, as unifying concepts. Within Footdown’s F1.1 OIP Model the different characteristics and expressions of ‘doing’ leadership are linked to what the organisation is trying to achieve and its espoused methods of doing so, as a way of modelling a key aspect of organisational culture. Leadership style is, therefore, part of organisational culture and a way of maintaining or changing organisational culture.
The questions that explore Leadership seek to determine the underlying assumptions that different leadership characteristics imply, their fit within the existing contextual challenges that the organisation faces and their consistent application to different tasks. Whilst accepting that Leadership and Management are two sides of the same coin – both key aspects of behaviour for all responsible members of an organisation – it is the use of leadership to shape behaviour, through productive change, to which we draw attention within Footdown’s F1.1 OIP model. Note that we prefer to stress that there are few inherently ‘bad’ leadership approaches, but there are many occasions when it is the wrong time to use them. However, we also recognise that organisations will often carry stylistic, identity oriented, bias for particular types of leadership and in those organisations the ability to flex according to shifts in context is tested for best fit.
The approach and discipline of getting things done, based upon an understanding of your people and a confirmed strategy.
The set of activities or categories that make up the Execution domain set out the basis upon which the organisation is carrying out the plan defined in the Design domain.
Execution is the result of thousands of decisions made by employees in an organisation based upon the instruction set (information) that they have and their own self-interest. This information is contained in the Design domain and is influenced by the foundation domains of leadership, people and culture.
It is fundamental that organisations, in their efforts to improve performance, differentiate between how the organisation is set up and how it is executing. It is too easy to resort to structural changes as they are more visible, but such changes, on their own, only reap short-term rewards. Of course, fundamental to execution are decision rights that are defined at the Design stage. But such performance improvement process is only workable if the right information is there to support it and flows round the organisation appropriately.
In Footdown’s F1.1 OIP Model, while recognising that a lot of the foundations of high performing execution are set during the organisation’s Design phase, Execution review is broken down into performance and how the process is delivering on the planned-for results.
What is also important is how quickly the management are getting feedback on markets, pricing and product acceptability? The next area for assessment is the overall systems (system’s or are we talking plural systems)capacity of the organisation, both at the individual level and in their interdependent relationships; operationally an organisation needs to ensure that the task element of execution is both functioning completely, at depth and in line with the organisational structure. Finally, the information flow and communication processes are actually taking place and are adequate to support the execution need of the organisation.
An organisation’s capability is anything it does well that drives meaningful business results.
It is here that the degree to which the achievement of a organisation is scored. Results are created in consequence (?? relation) to how the organisation has been set up and executed on the strategy. Typically, results are organised by what is actionable and measurable as defined in the Design domain.
In terms of financial performance, the key focus areas are consistency, profitability and comparable performance to the sector. Additionally and less financial, will be the market acceptance and sustainability of the brand….. and of course delivered in a consistent manner that reflects an “implementation as expected” in a sustained and disciplined way.
Results and by inference, performance, is relative; it can shift over time and what is a great performance today, may become not such a great performance tomorrow, influenced by changes in technology, markets and paradigms. For the financially oriented, true performance and excellence of results are based on revenue, cost, and risk. Success in just one or two of these areas is insufficient. Performance is less about balancing a perceived trade-off between cost and risk and more about a disciplined approach that leads to gains across all three.