In this Karma Insights Podcast we dive into Guiding Principles and their value to an organization, engagement, or project. This is part out our Karma Advisory Digital Transformation Framework – for an overview or to read prior posts about our framework, visit our Blog for the first part of the series at https://karmaadvisory.com/blog/. You can listen to it here or on Apple. #digitaltransformation, #gettingthingsdone, #projectmanagement, #digitaltransformationframework, #managementconsulting
In the second of our Karma Framework series, we will discuss Guiding Principles and their value to an organization, engagement, or project. For an overview of the Karma Advisory Digital Transformation Framework, visit our site to see the first part of our series or view the LinkedIn Post.
What are Guiding Principles?
Principles, values, or clarifying statements serve to focus and simplify decision-making in projects. Guiding Principles are living statements, and as the project goes on — their meaning and nuance are codified.
What are the benefits?
Enhance Decision-Making Dynamics
When everyone is clear and in agreement about what they value, decisions become more streamlined. Guiding principles provide a clear framework, reducing second-guessing and scope for conflict. In addition, they provide unambiguous language to remind all stakeholders of what they agreed to in the past.
Build Authentic Resonance
When decisions align with predefined principles, they resonate more with the stakeholders involved. This fosters trust and ensures that decisions are in line with the organization and program values and objectives.
Identify Potential Points of Friction
If certain decisions do not align with the Guiding Principles, it serves as an early warning system. It is an indication that there might be underlying issues that need addressing, whether it is re-evaluating the decision itself or the principles that guide it.
Foster a Cohesive Team and Dynamic
With clear guiding principles, teams work more harmoniously. There is a shared understanding, mutual respect, and a common direction, making collaboration more fruitful.
When should a team figure out guiding principles?
The ideal scenario is to come up with an initial list of guiding principles in the beginning — in doing so, stakeholders can debate what they explicitly value, ensuring transparency and mutual understanding.
These debates around what the team values will continue to be tested against deliverables throughout the project. Sometimes the original principles are accurate and other times they need to be made more precise or broader.
What is an example of a Guiding Principle?
One example is the Guiding Principle of data integrity. Often, you will see this principle defined to mean “ensure accuracy and consistency of data.” However, to really understand this principle, the team needs to dig deeper and understand the implications from various perspectives:
From a technology perspective – To maintain data integrity, the team needs to look at data systems to reduce manual entry, leverage systems of record as much as possible, and institute quality assurance in technology processes where appropriate.
From an operations perspective – To maintain data integrity, the team needs to look at operations and consider training, standard operating procedures, and implementation of quality assurance and quality control processes.
It is very important to consider a principle from a 360-degree perspective — this enables a simple statement to provide clarity throughout all facets of a project.
While decisions are not always black and white, Guiding Principles help make the implicit explicit – ensuring decisions are consistently oriented in a mutually understood direction. As important as the upfront work of setting clear Guiding Principles, they can and should also continually be revisited as a project evolves through its natural lifecycle.
We hope guiding principles can support your organization in getting things done! Be on the lookout for the next in our series.
About Karma Advisory
Karma Advisory works at the intersection of business and technology for both public and private sector clients. We are focused on helping organizations translate their business needs into actionable technology solutions. We work with our client’s teams to understand their goals and on-the-ground realities and work side-by-side to implement solutions. We strive to be an objective, trusted, and results-driven partner — bringing a values-driven approach to working with our clients to achieve their vision and goals.
In today’s constantly evolving digital world, organizations must align their strategies, data, security, and core principles. At Karma Advisory, we believe this alignment should be the primary focus of any initiative from the very beginning. We prioritize building trust by listening to our clients and working closely with key stakeholders. Our Digital Transformation Framework has proven to be a powerful tool for solving crucial technology challenges and ensuring solutions are future-proof.
Our Approach of Humility
Every business faces various challenges, some of which may not be openly discussed or easily discovered. At Karma Advisory, we understand the significance of the knowledge shared by our partners and avoid having preconceived notions. Instead, we come ready to listen and learn, acknowledging our clients are the experts in their business and have critical insights necessary for the success of any program.
The Danger of Oversimplification
Consultants offer fresh perspectives and valuable experience, but sometimes the temptation to compartmentalize challenges into fixed methodologies can lead to oversimplification. At Karma Advisory, we appreciate the value of methodologies, but we also understand organizational challenges are complex and nuanced. We are passionate about delving into the details, asking relevant questions, and refining our thought processes and solutions along the way.
Karma Advisory Digital Transformation Framework
At Karma Advisory, we perceive digital transformation as the alignment of strategy, data, security, and core principles. Our Framework is represented graphically below, followed by a breakdown of the four leading success factors in our Framework.
Strategic and Policy Alignment: At the top of our framework, understanding the ‘why’ of an initiative is crucial. This ‘why’ gives direction to teams and motivates them to address challenges. By understanding the strategy and aligning it with policy we can create effective messaging and maintain focus.
Data and Security Alignment: Anchored at the foundation, data alignment signifies the lifeblood of any institution. A team’s operation generates data, which needs to be transformed first into information and then insights. To do this, we understand that legacy systems, ambiguous data definitions, and the rapid evolution of technology can prove to be challenging for transformation projects. In addition, when discussing data, in today’s digitization of operations we believe security is no longer simply a technology requirement or compliance activity, but an organizational cornerstone.
Guiding Principles: Think of these as the compass of an institution. Positioned to the left, these principles are pivotal in steering decisions, underpinning project mandates, and ensuring everyone is aligned with the project’s goals, aims, and scope.
Iterative Improvements: Whether it be governance structure, business processes, or training and change management, the ethos that enables success is iterative. Ongoing improvements, or in other words, the small wins, create compound returns. At Karma Advisory, we take a whole lifecycle approach to solution development. Our senior resources roll up their sleeves to understand current challenges, capture future-state goals, develop a plan for meeting those goals, and most importantly, execute projects to deliver value iteratively.
Be on the lookout for the next part of this series where we will dive deeper into the components of our Framework.
Karma Advisory works at the intersection of business and technology for both public and private sector clients. We are focused on helping organizations translate their business needs into actionable technology solutions. We work with our clients’ teams to understand their goals and on-the-ground realities and work side-by-side to implement solutions. We strive to be an objective, trusted, and results-driven partner — bringing a values-driven approach to working with our clients to achieve their vision and goals.