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  • Writer's pictureMehran Irdmousa

Thinking Beyond Silos: Mastering Complexity with Enterprise Thinking

Fragmented perspectives create friction, yet holistic vision catalyzes flow. For today's multifaceted enterprises, a narrow lens magnifies complexities while an elevated vantage point reveals strategic clarity.


This truth crystallized for me during a recent trip I had with a high-rise epiphany admiring Vancouver's cityscape. From the 41st floor, the buzzing metropolis took on a coherent structure, stretching out as an interconnected whole. The city's roads, traffic signals, and residents mirrored components of an enterprise working in unison - distribution channels, management hierarchies, employees, and culture. Two incredibly complex systems of interdependent parts, yet the elevated perspective conveyed overriding order and purpose.


Whether observing a thriving city or a dynamic enterprise, embracing breadth and interconnectedness is imperative. Achieving True Success requires transitioning from siloed and fragmented views to elevated platforms providing integrated vision. Enterprise-level thinking supplies this crucial mindset shift…and is the topic of our latest article, embodying the Triangle of Value-driven Organization (TVO) blueprint.


Enterprise-level thinking is principally similar to high-level city-view
Enterprise-level thinking is principally similar to high-level city-view

I have used this article to continue to explore the TVO blueprint LINK. Recall TVO is a strategic framework encompassing three core disciplines: Systems Engineering (SE), Enterprise Architecture (EA), and Foresight & Technology Strategy (F&TS). This integrated blueprint helps organizations develop, coordinate, and deploy technological capabilities to achieve current and future enterprise goals to enable value-driven operationalization for True Success.

 

We begin with TVO’s first catalyst: Enterprise Thinking. In the context of the TVO blueprint, a catalyst is an enabling mechanism that accelerates and optimizes the implementation of the core TVO principles (SE, EA, and F&TS), allowing organizations to derive amplified benefits from TVO to achieve True Success.

 

For us to build successful enterprises, we need to have an enterprise-level thinking mindset. Here are what I believe the tenets of successful enterprise-level thinking are:

 

Strategy - Strategy is indispensable for enterprise success. It establishes the direction, vision, values, and objectives that steer all components. Strategy coordinates resources and activities to create a competitive advantage. It also charts the course for adapting to ever-evolving technological landscapes. However, strategy must drive decisions at every level. Sacrificing strategic vision to mitigate short-term risks (cost, schedule, technical) erodes enterprise thinking. It introduces technical debt that thwarts value-driven outcomes down the road. Enterprise strategy should shape solutions throughout their lifecycle. Other levels, like project strategy, must realign to the enterprise direction when misalignments surface—maintaining strategic alignment curbs needless technical debt accrual. This enables smoother value delivery, fulfilling the potential of a blueprint like the TVO.


Start with the end in mind! is a key mindset for enterprise thinkers. As Stephen Covey outlined in his book “7 Habits of Highly Effective People”, this means looking beyond immediate tasks and challenges. Enterprise-level decisions and actions should ultimately align with long-term goals. Progress metrics must be designed to measure advancement towards those end objectives. This approach encourages sustaining vision over time, not just seeking immediate gains. It instills constancy of purpose during inevitable course corrections. Clarity of goals at the enterprise scale provides the context for all operational planning and prioritization.


Innovation & Foresight - effective strategy requires innovation guided by foresight using structured analysis techniques to gain early insights into the environment's direction for navigating future scenarios. As discussed in the Foresight and Technology Strategies article LINK, foresight identifies trends, risks, and opportunities that impact strategy. Innovation is the tool that helps create the building blocks guiding organizations from current to future state. When we approach strategy with enterprise-level thinking, we need innovation to develop the capabilities connecting where we are to where we aim to be. However, innovation without operationalization is incomplete. As outlined in the introductory TVO article, True Success requires both innovation and effective deployment to value-driven implementation. Foresight and innovation set the path to the enterprise vision, while systematic approaches like Systems Engineering and Enterprise Architecture enable the execution of that vision. However, we must remain focused on guiding innovation to create value and operationalizing it through rigorous frameworks like the TVO blueprint.


To see how the three tenets above work in practice, let’s dive into a real-world example:


"A federal agency seeks to improve citizens' access to benefits services over the next decade. Their strategy involves transitioning from fragmented legacy channels to integrated omnichannel digital delivery. With enterprise thinking, the agency head starts with the end goal to guide efforts - citizens able to access benefits through any channel securely. Keeping this fixed vision anchors near-term planning. Foresight into digital trends informs the strategy. Innovations like AI chatbots and blockchain-based identity management could enable streamlined benefits delivery in the future. The agency charts an incremental roadmap leveraging these solutions rather than siloed legacy replacements. Along the way, maintaining focus on the end goal supersedes near-term milestones."


This example shows enterprise thinking driving strategy tied to long-term vision. Innovation and foresight guide evolution while purpose stays centered on the end vision.

 

With this article and the following ones, I would like to explore more catalysts that facilitate executing the TVO blueprint. Enterprise-level thinking is one of the catalysts. As we explore these catalysts in the future, the TVO will be populated in the following format, and the Triangle will be more complete with its catalysts.



Enterprise Thinking – one of the catalysts of the TVO blueprint
Enterprise Thinking – one of the catalysts of the TVO blueprint

In this era of rapid change and interconnectedness, our ability to think systemically, whether we are city planners or enterprise thinkers, is more critical than ever. As we innovate, adapt, and grow, let us remember the view from the 41st floor – a reminder of emphasis on systems thinking/complexity along with enterprise thinking.

 

Stay tuned as we explore more catalysts of the TVO blueprint in future articles. I welcome everyone to provide their perspective on enterprise thinking.

 

Special thanks to the amazing contributors to this article:


James Eselgroth

Ronald Stroup

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