A reflection on running a sensemaking company

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There are times when I feel like I’m suffering from attention deficit disorder (ADD). When it comes to business I really struggle to pay attention and stay focused.

Oooh, look, a cat.

Where was I? Oh, yes, focus.

I blame the Cynefin framework for my affliction. Here’s why …

The Cynefin framework as been described as a meta framework before – a framework of frameworks if you will. While this is a pretty useful thing, it becomes a little difficult when you’re building a business that has it as one of its core frameworks. The problem of focus arises.

Because the Cynefin model addresses most contexts in which businesses, leaders and staff find themselves operating in, it means that from a project perspective you are able to design and implement a project in a virtually limitless array of contexts (to a greater or lesser degree).

Sonja and I have found it difficult to articulate our business model because of this – we get excited almost every time we encounter an opportunity work on a new type of problem. Our business model is distinctly different compared to the traditional business model i.e. create a product, market it extensively, build a company to deliver it repeatedly and as cost-effectively as possible.

We find that no two projects are the same. We might deliver projects within a similar discipline e.g. organisational culture, but because the contextual differences are so high, no two culture projects look the same.

We’ve often wondered if we should “traditionalise” our business, and how we should do it. The problem is that every step forward we take in this direction, a client will call us up with a mouth-wateringly new prospect (type of problem they are facing). All focus we once had then flies out the window.

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