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Doctrine in Practice: Bridging the Gap Between Theory and Action

I have to confess - I rarely see doctrine used in practice, and when it happens, it is usually in a large, introductory workshop where a facilitator introduces the team to mapping and doctrine, sparking interesting conversations about how people perceive their organization.

This can be quite a sobering experience for leaders, even if you account for their presence in the workshop (meaning not everyone is always perfectly honest).

The concept of 40 doctrine principles is too much for many to comprehend, especially since each of those provides rather vague guidance than a strongly measurable criterion.

Then, on the other end, I have experienced that some doctrine principles align so well they effectively become one, such as 'Know Your Users' and 'Focus on User Need'. It is essential to always do both.

So, I have been feeling a strong motivation to look at the table and make it easier to adapt.

Here is where I have got today.

Category names got slightly altered. We have got:

  • User-Centric Approach: Self-explaining - but my internal OCD requires some sort of explanation 😅

  • Communication and Understanding: This emphasizes the importance of clear, consistent, and effective communication within the organization and with external stakeholders. It also involves understanding diverse viewpoints and ensuring that all team members are on the same page.

  • Organizational Learning and Adaptation: This category highlights the ability of an organization to learn from its experiences, both successes and failures, and adapt accordingly. It involves fostering a culture of continuous improvement and adaptability to changing environments.

  • Strategic Orientation: This is about having a clear, long-term vision and strategy that guides all organizational activities. It includes setting goals, aligning resources with objectives, and ensuring that every action contributes to the overarching strategic plan.

  • Efficiency and Pragmatism: This stresses the importance of being efficient in processes and pragmatic in decision-making. It involves streamlining operations to minimize waste and making practical, realistic decisions based on available data and evidence.

Now, if an organization is ailing in any of those categories, there will be rather obvious symptoms.

Recognition of Problems

Potential Measurements

User-Centric Approach

  • Declining customer satisfaction and retention rates.

  • Low engagement on user feedback platforms.

  • Poor Sales

  • Poor net promoter scores (NPS).

  • Customer Satisfaction Surveys

  • Net Promoter Score (NPS)

  • User Engagement Metrics

  • Feedback Response Rate

Communication and Understanding

  • High employee turnover rates.

  • Frequent misunderstandings or miscommunications.

  • Low employee engagement and morale.

  • Poor project outcomes due to communication gaps.

  • Internal Survey Scores

  • 360-Degree Feedback

  • Employee Retention Rate

  • Project Success Rates

Organizational Learning and Adaptation

  • Inability to keep up with market trends.

  • Low innovation rate.

  • Resistance to change within the organization.

  • Repeated mistakes and inefficiencies.

  • Innovation Metrics

  • Learning and Development Participation

  • Market Adaptability

  • Process Improvement Metrics

Strategic Orientation

  • Lack of clear business goals or objectives.

  • Poor alignment between different departments.

  • Inconsistent decision-making.

  • Failure to achieve key business milestones.

  • Goal Achievement Rate

  • Alignment Surveys

  • Strategic Decision Effectiveness

  • Market Position

Efficiency and Pragmatism

  • High operational costs.

  • Long project completion times.

  • Low productivity levels.

  • Wastage of resources.

  • Cost-Efficiency Ratios

  • Project Completion Times

  • Productivity Metrics

  • Resource Utilization Rates

For those of you who know that metrics cease to be good metrics when they are goals - you might consider using narrative-based approaches to understand not just averages, but how things work in individual pockets - and what can be done about that.

Now, there is nothing that prevents you from drawing a diagram like this - and quickly identifying where you have an edge - and where you have to catch up.

Once you do that, you can dig into individual doctrine principles like you have always done (or not done because it was too much work).



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