A Matrix of Trust

A strategy is worthless if it doesn’t help us realise the vision it was designed to unleash.

In a world of superficial thinking, short attention spans and instant gratification, words should be backed by relatively fast results if we want to keep people engaged and supportive.

A strategy, in this sense, is the down payment on a promise to people that they’ll get what they signed up for.

But a strategy by itself doesn’t deliver results.  Only successful execution does that.

People will trust us only if we produce the outcomes we promise.

Fuelled by my disappointments through the years, I created what I call a Matrix of Trust to help people visualise how to move from promise to delivery.

Outputs Vs. Outcomes

Writing stuff down isn’t an outcome.

Talking isn’t an outcome.

Guesswork isn’t an outcome.

Activities aren’t outcomes.

Meetings aren’t outcomes.

These are outputs, not outcomes.

Outcomes result in change of some kind.

And, by the way, “tryin’ a t’ing”, as many Caribbean people like to say and do, isn’t the same as delivering proven results based on sound advice and thoughtful consideration.

As the power and reach of social media expands, it’s foolhardy to take advantage of people’s good will and not give them what we promise.

Consulting is a Big Business

If our promise is transformation, it’s equally foolhardy to set off on that journey without engaging people from the beginning and throughout the change process.

Strategy consulting is a big business globally.  Many donor countries and international institutions benefit significantly from having their people awarded large consultancies to design strategic interventions in developing countries.

I’ve spent years as a consultant engaged by firms, organisations and associations in small economies to craft policies, strategies and work plans spanning various economic and social sectors.  I’ve immersed myself in every facet of the process, from research, analysis, interviews, meetings, design, drafting and redrafting to sensitisation and short-term training.

I’ve also been in positions to hire consultants who do the same.  Others have interviewed me for their consultancies.

It saddens me to admit that, nine times out of ten, very little changes as a result of such efforts.

In my experience, no matter how compelling, much of this work doesn’t move the needle one iota in terms of positive transformation. A cynic might wonder whether it’s even intended to.

From Promise to Delivery

Fuelled by my disappointments through the years, I created what I call a Matrix of Trust to help people visualise how to move from promise to delivery.

It illustrates what goes into developing a great product, service or experience that stays ahead of competitors and keeps people coming back for more.

It contains seven elements, each of which can be adapted to just about any circumstance.

Whether you’re looking to attract new business or investment; whether you’re selling products, services or experiences; whether you work in the cultural and creative industries or scientific research and innovation; whether you’re scaling a company or building a nation, these elements are crucial to understanding your market and meeting the needs of the very real people who exist in that space:  Market Scanning, Product Customisation, Customer Segmentation, Customer Engagement, Product Enrichment, Agile Delivery, and Ecosystem Enhancement.

By itself each is important, but understanding their combined power is, I believe, the key to positive transformation.

In future Reflections, I’ll explain their relevance in our increasingly complex world.

Until then, my next post suggests that in building the trust necessary to achieve transformation, values do matter.

More to explore

Learning How to Learn

They say it’s not what you know but who you know that counts. Neither idea could be further from the truth …

Why Values Matter

What we do is important but how we do it matters more. A start-up once engaged me to get its form, functions

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