Posted by Lancing Farrell 850 words
This is the first post in a series exploring the relationship between business strategy, the business model and operations strategy. It is an attempt to pick up on the ideas in Colin Weatherby’s previous post discussing Henry Mintzberg’s ideas about different models for government organisations. Hopefully the series of posts will make my case for a local government theory of value creation.
I will begin with business strategy. To set the scene, I have chosen the following quotations from management consultant and academic David Maister to highlight the strategy problem for local government.
“A strategy is not just choosing a target market, but is about actually designing an operation that will consistently deliver the superior client benefits you claim to provide.
However, each decision you make to be more effective at delivering the preferences of those you target will (inevitable, inescapably, unavoidably) make you less attractive to clients or market segments that look for different benefits.
You could try to design your operations to meet a wide variety of preferences and needs, serving each client or customer group differently, according to their individual wishes.
Your market appeal will then come down to ‘tell us what you want us to do for you and we’ll do that. We’ll do something different for other people tomorrow!’
The very essence of having a strategy is being selective about choosing the criteria on which a firm wishes to compete, and then being creative and disciplined in designing an operation that is finely tuned to deliver those particular virtues.
An operation designed to provide the highest quality is unlikely to be the one that achieves the lowest cost, and one that can respond to a wide variety of customized requests will be unlikely to provide fast response and turnaround. Any business that tried to deliver all four virtues of quality, cost, variety and speed would be doomed to failure.”
Maister may not have had local government in mind when he wrote this piece, but he provides an insight into the challenges in determining what provides value to people receiving services. He calls it ‘superior client benefits’. In the public service context, academic Mark H. Moore has called it public value. It is the same idea Continue reading →