Your Organization is a System

A system is nothing more than parts working together. Our bodies and our cars are both systems. Here we are concerned with systems that enable teams to meet their objectives. These systems comprise:

Organizational Beliefs

Shared organizational beliefs are often referred to as culture. They have powerful influence on the system and can be difficult to change unless there is a crisis. Given dedicated leadership, the development, use and improvement of the system can eventually change culture. For example, people willingly embracing change of their system instead of blaming the people the system failed to help.

Policy and objectives

These are system drivers. Policy can inspire and direct the team; objectives direct the system and each of the processes within the system. Policies and objectives can also connect the system with the outside world.

Organization, responsibilities and authorities (including hierarchy)

The team needs to know who is responsible for what. If a responsibility is shared it has not been effectively delegated. Many of the responsibilities will be shown in the manual, procedures and instructions within the system. Others may be depicted in charts and brief job descriptions and avoid repeating other system documents for ease of upkeep. Ensure authority is matched with training and capability sufficient to effectively fulfill responsibilities.

Interacting processes

An organization’s processes are intertwined, interdependent and difficult to decipher. Some processes add value and some do not. Some are obvious in the way they add value and others are very subtle. Every process can be classified as an asset or liability. At first our clients prefer to think in terms of core process as everything directly to do with:


This core process may start with strategic planning (although many start later with marketing and selling) and finish with the cash appearing in the bank account. Support processes sustain the core process and these include in many cases: recruiting, training, auditing etc. Consider two or three layers of process definitions as procedures (for teams) and instructions (for individuals) for example.


Data (or records) are kept so they can be analyzed to create information > knowledge > wisdom for intelligent decision-making by humans. Data is the predecessor of wisdom. Properly managed data are becoming an appreciating asset. They may never appear on a balance sheet. Such data, however, is one of the hidden forces behind stock value.

LE-097 Why Analyze Your Core Process

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