Many of my clients are looking at their organizations wishing for increases in results, or velocity or both. Some, in the face of shortfalls, have begun to squeeze expenses or slow down ambition. This is part of managing the enterprise. The challenge we see over and over is when the choices being made accelerate the decline rather than reset the course. The problem is a diagnostic one. That is:

“Every system is perfectly aligned to get the results it currently gets.”

Therefore, if we want a different result, we need to realign the system. But where to begin? The answer depends on where you choose to look. There seem to be at least three choices:

The beginning – What are the assumptions made at the onset, the origins or precedents?

The process – How do we do what we do? What is the sequence? What does it take/cost to do it this way?

The outcomes – what are the results? Which ones matter? How are others (peers and/or competitors) doing compared to us?

Highly effective teams and organizations can hold challenging conversations about any or all of these aspects. Less effective tend to get bogged down by explaining why things can’t be different, or why they should be held harmless for the assumptions that weren’t validated.

Here is a quick four question test for you and your team to apply to your situation:

1)     What is the gap between where we hoped to be and where we are today?

2)     What assumptions did we make about our past, our future or our capabilities – and which ones turned about to be true? Which ones didn’t?

3)     What needs to continue happening, start happening or stop happening in our process?

4)     Given the answer to Question 1, how will we measure progress toward our aspirations?

This quiz applies to the enterprise, just your team – even to yourself. Good luck.


Join us in Boston for our 2017 Leading Change Program September 19-20 at the spectacular UMass Club in Boston. For details check our website:

Hope to see you there!