The Psychology of Quality and More
MOST Analysis is a simple framework tool for analysing or planning the detail of what an organisation does. In a consulting role, it helps you frame questions, starting from the high-level mission of the organisation and digging right down to the detail of individual tactics. When planning, it is useful to ensure that all bases are covered and that there is a logical connection from the mission all the way down to what is done every day.
In case you have been guessing, MOST stands for: Mission, Objectives, Strategy and Tactics.
The mission of an organisation should be the answer to the question ‘What do you do?’ It is usually framed in terms of stakeholders and benefits.
Any organisation has multiple stakeholders who have an interest in the company, typically including shareholders, customers, suppliers and employees. Government organisations also include politicians, assorted interest and pressure groups, as well as assorted other agencies. The mission statement selects key stakeholders and outlines ‘what’s in it for them’. Stakeholders may or may not be explicitly named.
“XY Genetics creates innovative gene therapies for inherited disease control.”
“We feed the nation every day with passion and concern, using only ethically sound and delicious food and drink. Our people care because we know our customers care.”
Note that the mission is not the vision, values or other high-level directional statement, but is very similar. A vision is a motivating view of the future, not about what happens every day. Values typically describe aspired behaviours.
Objectives start with the translation of the mission into overall intent that drives the strategy process. More detailed objectives also appear from strategic and tactical planning.
Common criteria for objectives are that they should be ‘SMART’. That is Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timely.
“Deliver three new gene therapies per year.”
“Create an efficient and ethical value chain, from producer to consumer.”
‘Strategy’ is one of those words that has as many different meanings as there are strategists, and is easily confused with tactics. Strategy includes the high-level decisions that shape what is done and how it is done, for example:
· Selection of markets and market segments to target.
· Decisions on where the organisation will be geographically located.
· Decisions on what products and services to offer.
· Overall approach to competition, for example on cost or quality.
· ‘Make or buy’ decisions, including what to outsource.
Tactical planning takes strategic decisions and figures out how to implement them in practice. This is the place where the ‘rubber hits the road’, where discipline and innovation are needed to efficiently and effectively operationalise the strategic intent.
Example tactical activities include:
· Heavy advertising and discounting when a competitor is launching a new product.
· Selecting a supplier for machine parts.
· Designing an efficient call centre.
· Recruitment of graduate engineers from universities.
Next time: Importance vs urgency priority mapping
This article first appeared in Quality World, the journal of the Chartered Quality Institute
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