What is the relationship between building blocks?

The six building blocks seem, in the first instance, to be simple and plausible. All managers will view these areas that require special attention as the most important components of their work. The simplicity, however, is false. All areas that require special attention are related to each other.

It is, for example, stressed in all reference models that there must be a balance in relation to development and maturity of the different areas. It, for example, does not serve any purpose to be really good at strategy when you do not have resources under control. Implementing strategy will reach a deadlock because the internal organisation cannot follow. We playfully show in the overview below why all areas that require special attention are important.

This principle is developed in the INK/EFQM management model using development phases. Each phase represents a maturity level in which all areas that require special attention are balanced.

The most troublesome aspect, however, is the mutual cohesion between the areas that require special attention. It is postulated within each reference framework that change in one building block, regardless of its size, will have consequences for all the other building blocks. If, for example, we only change the structure, this will virtually never serve any purpose. Changes in relation to culture, people, resources, etc., are also required to bring about improvements. Strong and sometimes diffuse mutual cohesion is one of the main causes of complexity in the management profession.

The fact that all building blocks strongly influence each other does not, however, mean that they are all of the same kind. The building blocks are shown in the following figure from the perspective that the organisation can be viewed as being a system (also see section 7, Methodology).

The results determine the functions of the organisation (“the what”). The construction (“the how and with what’) is in part determined by the structure – hard side –, the culture – soft side – and the people and resources. We see that the strategy area that requires special attention belongs to a completely different system. Should we use system terminology, finding the balance between functions (external results) and construction (internal structure, culture, people, resources) is what is important when it comes to strategy.