Sunday, May 2, 2021

The Form of Principles

The purpose of setting principles is to build an effective digital workplace where collaboration and sharing are the norms.


Principles are general rules and guidelines, intended to be enduring and seldom amended, that inform and support the way in which an organization sets about fulfilling its mission. Principles represent governing rules or laws the organization should comply with to achieve its business purposes. 

Few organizations have a well-defined set of their beliefs, and even if they do, few have a structure for prioritization and application of principles in a unified fashion to the entire enterprise. Principles of principle is that: Principles need to be well-formed - not just a statement. The form of principle may include:

Identifier: Corporate principles are ways of organizing business interactions with the world and, as such, you always have principles whether explicit or not. Principles are grounded in philosophy; without philosophy, principles lack quintessential because philosophy is the compass of human civilization. The principle of principle is abstraction. The art of abstraction is to imagining, the science of abstraction is to unifying. The style of the principle should be short and recognizable. Its definition describes "what" the principle means in the language understood by stakeholders.The principle is philosophy, based on your business value and strategy with 3P: Principle, Purpose, and Progress are inter-related with each other, as the principle is a positive guideline, helps the business make progress and fulfill the purpose.

Statement: Principles are statements of belief that reflect the values, culture and real-world concerns of the organization. Corporate principles are time and change tolerant statements about how an organization will behave. It wouldn't have mattered what language the final statement is in. The key is the shared debate around what is important to the company and where they want to be in, and how to instruct people to behave well. If the statement is the result of a whole company introspection, then yes; they are effective because each and every one of the stakeholders has "ownership" to some degree in the statement. Clear statements on the desired improvements that will result from the change/transformation.

Rationale: The rational characteristics of principle clarify “why,” “what,” “how” in regards to purpose, statement, and method of principle to fit with the organizational vision and mission. Why shall you hold this principle? How does it fit with the mission and objectives? Principles are invariant - unless you or your organization is schizophrenic. What should be worried about is the huge gap between what people say (here are our principles, principles are very important) and what people actually do. Humans are rational but in an ecological rather than a logical way. There are different kinds of rationality that apply to different dimensions of corporate management.

Implication: Principles that are not just known and understood, but deeply embedded into the fabric of an organizational culture are incredibly valuable. If you were to truly live up to this principle then who and what would need to change? To really add value, principles need to be grounded in the context of the organization expressing them. What does the principle mean in concrete terms to the organization? How much do you live up to it? Principles are very important if they are spoken in a language that can be understood by both the business and the techies. The only thing you truly control is bringing the guidance and insight of a cohesive and comprehensive view of all enterprise contributing factors to any decision, and ensuring that the prioritized values are appropriately applied to any decision.

The purpose of setting principles is to build an effective digital workplace where collaboration and sharing are the norms. It is important to develop your own company tailored principles to inspire change mentality, motivate positive attitude and good behaviors, and to generate winning concepts for digital transformation on a consistent basis.


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