January 21, 2008

Open Hand, Striking Fist

I've been enthusiastic about our General Management and Ethics (GME) class since our very frst session. Our professor, Prof. Jesus Gallegos, is very good and the topics are very interesting.

For the first few class meetings, we have been talking about Mission and Vision of the firm. We have discussed cases (IBM, Shangri-La, Johnson & Johnson) where the mission and vision of the company was tested, formulated and implemented. As an assignment after the cases, we were asked to come up with our management framework, a la Michael Porter's Five Forces, based on our understanding and learnings from the cases.

Here's what I came up with: The Open Hand, Striking Fist Framework of Mission & Vission Cascading (or simply, The Open Hand, Striking Fist Model). My framework is based on how a firm would communicate and implement the company's mission and vision to the members of the organization depending on external stimuli and nature of the company.

Here's a slide show for better appreciation and understanding:

After the first slide, you will see a hand that represents the firm's mission and vision and each finger represents what I think are the five key ingredients of the mission and vision: company philosophy, organizational values, guiding principles, expected results and measures, and its relationships (external and internal).

The Open Hand (slide 3) posits that a company can cascade and communicate the mission and vision in a "reaching out" manner when times are good and the culture needs it to (e.g. common Asian settings). On the other hand, The Striking Fist (slide 4) suggests that during times of crises or immediate action, the firm must communicate and implement the mission and vision in a very forceful and abrupt manner (ie, making heads roll if necessary).

During my presentation, Prof. Gallegos pointed out that my model also suggests high centralization during the Striking Fist part, which is necessary in most cases of turn-around situations.

My framework is by no means a definitive and exhaustive model, and it needs more polish. But I'm pretty happy with it and hopefully it will become one of those models at par with Porter's Five Forces.