The Wagon Wheel Way™ Operating System
The Wagon Wheel Way™ Operating System is the only model that provides a detailed - but simple to understand - route map that covers the complete operational process from planning and execution to monitoring, measuring and adapting and back to planning again. Moreover, the system flags 36 barriers to execution, identifies where they occur and shows how the organisation may overcome them.
The www Operating System can be installed over a 12 month period to make your organisation:
- More competitive
- More flexible
- More effective
- More efficient, and
- Enable you to tap into the knowledge and experience of your employees and create an environment in which the best people want to work
This is the most cost effective investment you can make, because it fundamentally changes the way your organisation operates.
How The Wagon Wheel Way™ Operating System works
An operating system is the term used to describe the software that it loaded onto your computer that enables it to run a vast variety of more specific programs - applications software. The operating system can be closed - it can only be run on specific hardware as is the case with Apple - or it can be open like Microsoft’s Windows that can be run on all IBM compatible hardware.
The Operating System - The Wagon Wheel Way™ (WWW) - is not a software program in the conventional sense but it performs essentially the same function. It is an open system and is therefore relevant to all types of enterprises. If the enterprise has its own in-house or out-sourced programs on Leadership or Communication for example, these are application software programs that can be run on The Wagon Wheel Way™ Operating System.
The WWW has one goal - to help enterprises achieve theirs.
The Wagon Wheel Way™ - Its Purpose
The purpose of The Wagon Wheel Way™ is to provide management with a formalised, consistent, common, operational framework that guides every phase of an enterprise from planning, implementation, monitoring, measuring, adapting and back to planning again.
It is unique in three ways.
- Firstly, it covers the complete operational cycle
- Secondly, it works from basic principles so it can be applied to every sort of enterprise from a manufacturer to a legal practice to a university faculty
- Thirdly, it is highly specific - it is not a world atlas; it’s a detailed route map
The challenge was to integrate these features in one model that met the following criteria.
- It had to be universal in its application - an open rather than a closed model
- It had to separate - but demonstrate the connection between - “this is what we are going to do” from “this is how we are going to do it”
- It had to demonstrate the interdependency within and between the three major components of a) planning, b) execution and c) monitoring, measuring, adapting
- It had to be simple
- It had to be memorable
- It had to be dynamic
- It had to be practical
After experimenting with a number of different options, a wagon wheel was selected as it met all the above criteria.
The Wagon Wheel Way™ - Planning - Constructing the Wheel
A wagon wheel has four basic components - a hub, spokes, a wooden wheel rim and a metal band. Except for their dimensions, these four components never change. A wagon wheel is built by constructing the hub first and then inserting the spokes to which the wooden wheel rim is attached. Lastly, the metal band is placed over the rim to complete the wheel. A plan is constructed in an analogous fashion.
- The Hub represents “this is what we are going to do”. It is made up of five elements:
- Markets - (customers, consumers, patients, students, clients etc)
- Products - (services) that the enterprise is going to supply its Markets
- Activities - (manufacturing, importing, design, development, distribution, supply, customer service etc)
- Competitive Strategy - how the enterprise is going to compete
- Competitive Advantage - what the enterprise does “differently” and “better” than its direct competitor
The combination of these five elements is referred to as the Hub of the Plan. In non-competitive organisations the last two elements are omitted.
- Markets - (customers, consumers, patients, students, clients etc)
- The Spokes form the connection between “this is what we are going to do” and “this is how we are going to do it” just as they form the connection between the Hub and the Wheel Rim.
- Every organisation operates with a number of Support Functions. Unlike the five elements of the Hub of the Plan, however, the make-up of the Support Functions - the wheel rim - will vary from organisation to organisation.
Remember the WWW is an open system. Thus a hospital has no manufacturing function - but it does have a logistics function. A law firm might not have a supply function - but it might well have a marketing function.
With the exception of Human Resources and Finance - see below - all such functions are known as Support Functions. They are the functions at the disposal of the enterprise through which the Hub of the Plan is realised. The question that generates the plan of “this is how we are going to do it” is - “what are the implications for each of the Support Functions on every aspect of this is what we are going to do”.
- Finally, the metal band is attached to the wheel rim. The metal band represents the two Enabling Functions of Human Resources and Finance - without people and money, no plan can be implemented. With regard to the former, does the enterprise have the right number of people with the right expertise? Does the organisation have the right structure and the right culture to successfully execute the Plan?
- Up to the stage of agreement on the Enabling Functions, the arrows on the spokes point outwards because it is the Hub of the Plan that is driving the Support Functions that, in turn, are driving the Enabling Functions. However, before the Plan is ready for implementation, there has to be an initial Action Program. This is based on “this is how we are going to do it” rather than “this is what we are going to do”. To reflect this orientation, the arrows on the spokes now face towards the Hub of the Plan.
Whatever models or processes or tools are used to develop the Plan, the planners must:
- Decide on the five elements that comprise the Hub of the Plan;
- How that Hub will impact on each Support Function and
- How the Support Functions impact upon the two Enabling Functions of Human Resources and Finance.
These models, processes or tools represent applications software that runs on the WWW Operating System. However, the Operating System is by no means complete. At this stage, it neither guides the implementation phase, nor does it address the issues of monitoring, measuring and adapting the Plan. So the Wagon Wheel Way is extended to encompass such issues and thus complete the operational cycle.
Find out more: