The Schwerpunkt Website
Fast Company Magazine has published an article titled: The Strategy of the Fighter Pilot. The article covers the background of Colonel John Boyd and his strategy as a fighter pilot, and provides some nice examples of the OODA (observe-orient-decide-act) loop in action. The article is well worth reading as it outlines Boyd's OODA strategy widely adapted in the business world to win and outmaneuver the competition.
According to Boyd, competitive decision-making occurs in a recurring cycle of observing and reacting to unfolding events more rapidly than an opponent, thus allowing for the competitor to gain the major advantage of getting "inside" the opponent's decision making cycle.
Boyd emphasized that "the loop" is actually a set of interacting loops that are to be kept in continuous operation during combat. The loop does not have to take place in any strict order, but instead act as an interactive web with orientation at its core. In this context, "Orientation" can be defined as how a person interprets a situation, based on individual experience, culture, and heritage. Orientation not only directly guides decision making, but also shapes observation and action. In the business world, orientation is parallel to organizational focus, the definition of which can be defined as Schwerpunkt. Shwerpunkt is a German word that, loosely translated, means organizational focus.
Here at iBCS, we especially like the notion of schwerpunkt.
Boyd believes that at Toyota, their systems work because of schwerpunkt. Boyd wrote, "(Schwerpunkt) represents a unifying medium that provides a directed way to tie the initiative of many subordinate actions with superior intent as a basis to diminish friction and compress time." That is, employees make decisions and act locally, but they are guided by a keen understanding of the bigger picture.
At iBCS, we strive to create and maintain strength in the cohesion of our members. This is done by discovering and understanding the bonds linking us to our customers, and our consumers to their consumers, giving us a state of "High Agreement". This process reinforces the strength of the group as a whole. We combine Boyd’s "schwerpunkt" to our concept of "High Agreement" allowing us together, to implement the process as well as actualize the greatest objective.
If we are to apply the same organizational principles to web content and development as would a fighter pilot or a successful auto manufacturer, schwerpunkt becomes the axis from whence the organization shapes and develops the ability and commitment to effectuate the ultimate intent at all levels. Achieving a polished product from the first page.
Used in web development:
- Schwerpunkt can be thought of as a focusing agent that produces a distribution of clear, concise content on a basis to support the original mission and message of the site (company).
- Schwerpunkt takes the superior mission content without impeding the initiative of the subordinate page messages and through which the subordinate initiative is implicitly connected to the home page mission.
- The schwerpunkt home page provides a unifying medium that allows a directed way to tie initiative of many subordinate and supporting messages as a basis to diminish confusion and compress time in order to generate a favorable shape of the information exchange and transfer to the viewer. In other words, I see it, I read it, and I get it.
- Ideally, a schwerpunkt website will separate yourself from the competition and allow for future SEO tactics to further that separation
How to get Schwerpunkt
As we work with clients to build and develop their business on the Internet we find more and more that it is a good time to discuss and work on organizational focus. Most companies agree that they need a website. Unfortunately without considerable effort the website will not communicate its message clearly and succinctly. We are too easily tempted by cool ideas or technology, quickly adding social networking features for example without ever clearly defining the focus of the site in the first place. Unfortunately this could be a reflection of a company's failings to focus on it's purpose or core competencies in the first place.
We believe that running a site or page through the following exercise will help make the site or an individual page schwerpunkt:
- What is the purpose of the website or web page?
Example: "Lets write a Schwerpunkt article for our website"
"Because we tend to spend a lot of time trying to explain the concept to our clients and it would save us time and help them perhaps have better websites and companies"
Purpose: To educate or to give us a document to refer to when explaining this concept. So our customers can have better companies and be more focused.
- Who is the intended audience?
"Who is going to read this page if we create it?"
"Clients that we have this dialog with we can send them a link and they can refer to the page"
Audience: Existing or new clients
- What is the main message that the site or page is trying to convey?
Often these can be expressed using keywords:
Focus, Focused Web Pages, Focused Web Site, if the website doesn't appear clear or focused maybe the company needs to do some work on organizational focus.
Message: Some work is required to have a Schwerpunkt company, Site, Page
- What is the call to action or the desired behavior (to buy something, to give an e-mail address to subscribe, etc..)
Action: "For us and our clients to focus more on the sites and pages they create to make them more effective"
- Do the loop - How can we know if it is working?
Measure results, reorient, get feedback, revisit the plan of action periodically
- What is the purpose of the website or web page?
IBCScorps commitment to helping our clients get Schwerpunkt:
Though we would like to feel that writing this article would cause us and our clients to be Schwerpunkt, the reality is that a process needs to be put in place to make this happen. The OODA (observe-orient-decide-act) loop is a process for becoming Schwerpunkt, but how do we apply it in our businesses? Here are few things all of us have tried:
Those all work more or less with some degree of efficiency, however, working in the technology industry we believe a better mouse trap is in order. We have sophisticated accounting and ERP systems to help us manage money and business transactions, we have CMS systems to help us manage content. However most CMS Systems on the market today do not enforce or engage us in the OODA (observe-orient-decide-act) loop. As a provider of these services, we feel like our industry is failing to provide an adequate solution.
Pretty far reaching ...? Well lets see.
Does your CMS help you focus your content by causing you or allowing you to think through the purpose, audience, message and intended actions?
Does your CMS provide a review process so other people in your organization can review and approve content?
Would you want to use a CRM(Customer Relationship Management) tool that omits the process of scheduling a callback or action with a client so you can close deals? That is similar to using a CMS(Content Management System) that does not cause us or help us to do the OODA (observe-orient-decide-act) loop in regards to our content.
How about a system that paves the way for Schwerpunkt to be at the core of the development of information and online communication with clients and potential clients ensuring that we provide clear, concise and evolving pages and websites!
Retired Colonel Ted Hailes, a professor at the Air War College recently observed, "in the drive to make OODA (observe-orient-decide-act) loops smaller and faster, man's role in the loop is being reduced or preformulated." Orientation, however still remains highly significant: The data is worthless, after all, without our interpretation. iBCS's Prime Agile CMS helps you gain that competitive edge by allowing to interpret data quickly and action on those observations faster than ever before, all these based on Schwerpunkt!
Our Commitment is not just to help our clients by providing standalone systems, but to provide integrated tools which help them evolve constantly and ultimately win with clear strategies. Prime Agile CMS is the tool to drive that strategy. Call for details: 435-215-4674