think-first.org ... forethought ... a wonderful concept ... we're here to make it a practice.

Developed and refined over decades our methods have helped organziations - large and small - increase effectiveness through conscious attention to detail, fact-based decision making, value-based goal setting, and clear communications. Our process is, by intent, repeatable and methodical. Our goal is to transform the way you work from being reactive and controlled by events to being proactive - driven to Excellence.
Event Driven!
Plan Driven
Methods Driven
Outcome Driven
Goal Driven
Excellence Driven

Our consultative services include:

Forethought can have immense value yet often this critical step is somehow bypassed. No time. We know. Fire, [ready, [aim]]. Our mission is to change that.

Projecting A Vision

You have a passion and need to express it. We can help you crystallize your hoped-for future world and create your Vision Statement. You'll find immediate value in having a way to infect others with your passion. A vision also provides the guiding light that you'll when challenge arise over time.

Stating Your Mission

Can you answer the question What do you do? simply - in a single, understandable sentence?

Yes? Great! No? Think!

We can lead you through a process to develop your Mission Statement. With it you can easily attract customers, recruit employees, and make business-focused decisions.

Defining Stakeholders and Values

Who cares about your success? Believe it or not everyone in your 'business ecosystem' should care.

If you fail so do your stakeholders. And vice versa.

Knowing who your stakeholders are and what they need are critial in developing long lasting and mutually beneficial relationships. We can help you develop a Balanced Scorecard that captures perspectives you need to be successful.

Setting Goals

The world changes - hopefully because you make a difference - certainly because time doesn't sit still. You need to adapt and evolve. This can be thrust upon you are you can set set goals.

Logical. Common sense. Hard to do?

It can be easy if you have the strong foundation that Vision, Mission, and Stakeholder Values provide, a clear view on your current capabilities (your As Is)and can envision your future (your To Be). We have a time tested process that can help you develop Goals that make sense and clearly deifne the next generation of your business.

Defining Success

Suc-cess (sk-ss) n. 1. achievement of intention: the achievement of something planned or attempted. from EnCarta.

Nice definition, now how do you define intention, achievement, and your specific view of success?

May sound trivial but it is surprising how many organizations struggle to define these terms. Without this basis you might feel successful (or not) but never know if you aren't (or are). We can help you define the Key Performance Indicators that you need that encapsulate your key intentions and expected levels of achievement.

Managing Performance

Oganizational performance is the summary function of many different and detail-oriented inputs. Understanding the value chain and establishing a model of and forecast levels for performance measurement is a business fundamental. We refer to the model of performance as Business Metrics and the forecast levels and actuals attained as Business Measures. We can help you design a Business Dashboard that presents these data in a form that facilitiates both operational and strategic management.

Strategic Thinking

Innovation is the staple of long-lived endeavors, but managing your stock of inventive ideas can feel like handling feast or famine. What processes can pump out the flow of brilliant failures you need to stay competitive? How do you enable risk taking and leverage the collective power of your stakeholders? We can help you build an Innovation Engine that is tuned to your Vision.

Making A Roadmap

How do you managing an endless list of potential new business? With our Innovation SwapValuation Process extended from work first seen in the Harvard Business Review entitled "Even Swaps" you can learn how to construct, maintain, and prioritize your Strategic Roadmap.

Planning & Project Management

Project management is all about effective balance of scope (what is to be done), resources (the people, funds, and supplies to be used), and timeline (when the various whats are expected).

Project outcomes can be rated: "true success", "mediocre success", "complete failure", or "magnificent failure".

You'll want to achieve either "true success" or "magnificent failure" with each of your project initiatives. To do so you'll need to innoculate yourself from the diseases of "scope creep", "lack of resources", and "poor timing". We show you how to setup projects with Project Data Sheets that describe why a project is important, what the project will deliver and when the project will produce results as a collaborative effort between the project's sponsor, manager, team, and stakeholders.

Change Management

Change is quite possibly one of the most feared human conditions. Introducing change induces emotional resonses that more often than not are negative in nature. We can show you how to manage the normal, human, emotional response that change ignites. Our process is based on formal studies of the management of change. These studies show that identification by individuals with their station, their methods, and their perception of efficacy of the status quo need to be addressed when embarqing on a change initiative.

Clear Communication

Your Vision, Mission, Values, Goals, Roadmaps, Plans, and Results need to be visible to be appreciated. All stakeholders should have an interest as your success is intimately tied to theirs. Often perceived as busy work and needless overhead documentation and communication is in fact the most important overarching aspect of organizational success. We provide a recipe including ideas and templates that will help you convey on a schedule that makes sense. Most importantly we use principles formally conveyed in the short text The Clarity Factor to guide your Messaging Plan.

Continuous Improvement

Do we "Do what we have learned" or "Learn from what we do"? Trick question. Another, "When should you / do you stop learning?". We use a process to assess and drive continuous improvement. Based on work done at Carnegie Mellon University this process rigorously defines the maturation process through successive levels of Business Maturity. We will help you develop your Business Lifecycle Plan that includes Metrics for self assessment, Goals for self improvement, and your Roadmap to becoming a high performance team.
 
 
Our methods emphasize process over technology. We believe in simplicity and speed. We think first.
 
 
 
 

Projecting a Vision

Vision
A Vision Statement captures the essense of why you work so hard at what you do. It is emotional and eternal. It portrays your highest purpose and conveys urgency and worth. Time invested in thoughtful development of a crisp Vision Statement will pay dividends for years to come. Presuming your Vision is compelling, you'll be able to attract people: customers, partners, workers, and investors to become stakeholders in your future. A Visition Statement also provides a foundation when difficult challenges arise. It can remind you of that which is truly important.
While your Vision may be obvious or intuitive it Statement may take work! Often a Vision Statement is confused with a Mission Statement. Differentiating between these is important. Simply put Vision is "why" and Mission is "what". Similarly a Vision is not a Goal. Think-first can help you develop a crisp and compelling Vision Statement through facilitated discussion of your most deep rooted hopes with key stakeholders in your future.

Building a Vision Statement Workshop

Aspect Description
When First Step
Who Current Stakeholders including: Founders, Major Shareholders, Senior Leadership, Closest Partners, Most Valued Customers
How Many No more than 15 persons
How Long 1 Day
How Often Once
Outcome Single sentence statement of purpose
Example We have helped cure cancer.
 
 

Stating Your Mission

Mission
A Mission Statement conveys what your Company does in pursuit of its Vision. It states what you do, for whom, and where. It is objective and specific. It leaves room for innovation and extended interpretation. You need a Mission Statement to explain your organizations role to everyone who cares to know what you produce including family, friends, customers, business partners, employees, and strangers.
Your Mission Statement needs to be clear. It needs to be concise. It needs to compel interest. It needs to be crafted. Think-first can help you develop a Mission Statement that you'll proudly present whenever the opportunity to do so arises.

Crafting a Mission Statement Workshop

Aspect Description
When Second Step
Who Current Stakeholders including: Founders, Major Shareholders, Senior Leadership, Closest Partners, Most Valued Customers
How Many No more than 15 persons
How Long 4 Hours
How Often Once
Outcome Single sentence statement of intent
Example We provide telecommunication services as a competitive local exchange carrier in the Southeastern United States.
 
 

Defining Stakeholders and Values

Values
Every enterprise is supports and is supported by sets of stakeholders - persons who care about the business. Knowing who these people are and what they need and expect as part of their association to your enterprise is a business fundamental. Without this insight you run the high risk of failure.

Enterprise values Workshop

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Setting Goals

Goals

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Defining Success

Success

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Managing Performance

Measurement

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Strategic Thinking

Strategy

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Making A Roadmap

Roadmap

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Planning & Project Management

Planning

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Change Management

Change

Management of Change Workshop

Aspect Description
When Prior to Project Initiation
Who Project Sponsor, Manager, and Team
How Long 12 Hours over 3 Days
How Often Per Project As Needed
Outcome __
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Clear Communicatioon

Communication

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Continuous Improvement

Innovation
Excellence. A quest or a process? By now you know that its the latter. So how do you drive excellence? Measure, rate, plan, act. We can help you define your benchmarks, rate your performance levels, select areas for improvement, and implement excellence driven change.

Continuous Improvement Workshop

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Contact Us
est. 14 March 2011