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  • Joshua Wilson

Focusing on Tactics -- are you structured to get things done and cognizant of different views?

Our B Cognition labs assessment looks at the 3 critical metrics for understanding how your organization is doing in a comprehensive way. This post looks at metric number 2, Tactics. (You may also want to look back at our post on metric number 1, Humanity .)

Tactics describes how your organization structures itself to get things done. You might think of this as the technical “work” of work. For a donut shop, this is making and selling the donuts. But Tactics also includes the conversations, planning, process, or assessment around the technical work. Deciding who works in the first shift? That falls under Tactics. Working out a disagreement about how many donuts to make in a given day? Tactics.

To understand your Tactics score, we ask the following sorts of questions:

  • do you have a known way to work through the different sorts of problems and disagreements that inevitably come up?

  • are you competent in your core work?

  • are you efficient in the way you conduct your work?

  • does everyone understand their role, and how their role intersects with other key roles in the organization or team?

  • does everyone know what is expected of them?

  • do you have ways to assess the quality of the work you do?

  • can you innovate effectively?

Of the 3 metrics we assess, this is one that people generally are already thinking a lot about: without thinking about Tactics, they wouldn’t be in business for long! But what we’ve found is that, even though people are already giving it some thought, they’re often overlooking key aspects. Sometimes there isn’t agreement among the organization’s members on how well they do on Tactics: this is a sign that there’s work to be done. For example, using our donut shop example again, if we ask all the people responsible for making donuts if we’re efficient, and we hear disparate answers, that’s interesting, right? If some people think we can be more efficient, that’s something you might want to hear more about, isn’t it? Whether you ultimately agree with the perspective or not, there’s something to be learned by talking it through.

One of the common areas overlooked in Tactics is around handling disagreements, conflict, or tensions. People working together under some stress, deadlines, or other challenging requirements will regularly find themselves taking different perspectives on issues, disagreeing about how to do things, or feeling sore toes in different ways. That’s all predictable, so we recommend you have a process in place to let people talk their way through these moments and learn from them, rather than risk causing disruptions in your team’s motivation. Most organizations we work with don’t have such a process in place, and our assessment points that out fairly quickly.

If we know that your organization lacks a process to talk through these different perspectives on Tactics, we can help you design and implement such a process, and help you move forward with improvements.

Of course, a resilient and healthy organization needs more than Tactics to succeed, but without Tactics it won’t get far. To learn about the other metrics we think are required, see Humanity and (coming soon) Organizational Resilience.


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