What measures of performance do these customers use when evaluating you? What market(s) do you serve and who are your competitors?
Organizational Size-up Essay: This will be a longer and more reflective exercise than the foregoing. Ultimately, the goal here is to avoid solving the wrong problem and to establish the criteria that will be used to judge the success of your project when you present it to upper management. This is critical because folks in operational roles (that’s us) often fail to demonstrate the relevance of what they do. You should address the following issues in a 5-6 page essay in which you will take a step back and look at your organization through the eyes of a senior manager.
1. Company overview
Define the boundaries of the organization you are addressing
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What do you do in a broad sense (manufacture, assemble, write software, provide service, etc., etc.)
What market(s) do you serve and who are your competitors?
What is the overall state of that market (stable/growing, technology/cost driven, competitive or not)?
2. Critical customers
Who are the key customers you must satisfy to be successful? (These may be internal customers.)
Describe your relationship(s) with these customers.
What measures of performance do these customers use when evaluating you?
3. Key success factors (order winners/qualifiers)
What characteristics will win you the business of these critical customers, if you have them? Be careful here; it is probably a very short list. Your answer may be that lowest price wins every time or that technical superiority will dominate. Other things may be important as order-qualifiers: you have to be at some minimum level, but that alone will not win the order.
4. Strategic Imperatives
What is the top priority for your business unit? This is a tricky question because many organizations are conflicted on this, but do your best to read the tea leaves!
Some examples might be: top-line growth, earnings per share, ROIC, market share, innovation. 5. What are the biggest problems or opportunities that you face?
Considering all of the above, where are the gaps?
How will your project help the company (in terms that the CEO would relate to)?
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