Money, Mission and Making Tough Decisions

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Written By: Jamie Niessen, CEO and President

It certainly feels grim in Calgary right now. Many of us have friends and family and colleagues who have already lost their jobs or have been told cuts are coming but don’t yet know their fate.

As the world changes and you have to look at operating on less. How do you do it? It starts at the beginning: the mission. The mission is the statement of the value we create for community. But how do we create that value? What is the list of absolutely critical things that what we do to create that value? Are we doing anything that doesn’t show up on the critical list? For me, the challenge in answering these questions was how hard we’ve worked as a team to build what we had in place. It’s not that I’m interested in adoring a statue of my own creation . . . no, it’s not about vanity. It’s about intentionally building a structure you believe is optimal to create value and then to be tasked with re-imagining it. It feels like you’ve put your best thinking into building what is and now it needs to change. I don’t know about you, but for me that is some tough slogging.

It’s not sufficient to sort through things as nice-to-haves and need-to-haves. Unless your organization is constantly flush with money, you probably don’t have many nice-to-haves just sitting around. While the decisions remain tough, I was able to turn to work we did several years ago using the generic value chain tool created by renowned strategy guru Michael Porter. Originally designed from a manufacturing standpoint, the tool is generic and can be adapted to serve your own purposes. It is the process of understanding and mapping value creation that we found incredibly revealing and helpful in decision making. The work of understanding how we create value in our organizations is what is required to answer the question of improving efficiency and operating on less.

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Figure 1.0: Here’s our working draft of the Value Chain.


These certainly aren’t the times that it feels good to be an organizational leader. These are the times that test our resiliency and adaptability. The value we create is to help make you stronger. If your organization needs some assistance or if you’re interested in learning more about our work with the value chain please don’t hesitate to contact us.

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