CLEAR Framework – The Foundations

Laying the Foundations

Implementing the CLEAR Framework is not a quick fix. It is a robust and systematic approach to developing your people, your business and your profits. We will work closely with you step by step, to implement each stage of the system. It is also about involving all your key managers in the process so they gain ownership and commitment, and grow to recognise that they play a critical role in the success of your business. This means planning the best way to fit the implementation of the Framework into your business cycle and the level of resources you have available.

Vision, Mission & Values

This is the starting point of the CLEAR Framework.

Everything stems from the Vision. It’s important to know the end result that you are seeking to achieve. This may be an exit strategy or reaching a specific level of turnover and profit. But the Vision needs to express a clear picture of where you want the business to be in 3 – 5 years time. What you want it to look, sound and feel like. It needs to be engaging for people so they want to be part of it.

If there is no clear vision or if the current vision is not seen as particularly relevant any more, we engage the top team in a number of exercises and facilitate the first draft of a new one. We expect this to be fine-tuned over the next 12 months as the team develops and fully implements the CLEAR Framework.

  • The Vision is a description of WHAT you want to achieve.
  • The Mission defines the business you are in and HOW you deliver your products and services.
  • The Values are all about discovering what’s currently MOST IMPORTANT to the team.

Once these become explicit it’s easier to manage expectations and make important decisions. It’s also easier to hold one another to account about the way the top team should behave and be seen to behave.

The Values are meaningless words unless people are able to experience them on a regular basis. This needs to be understood and demonstrated by the top team. They need to become a guide for the way you interact and treat people, both internally and externally, from the most junior to the most senior and from clients to suppliers.

The Balanced Scorecard

How to create a Balanced Scorecard as part of the CLEAR Framework - Inspired Working

The Balanced Scorecard is the main foundation stone of the CLEAR Framework. It brings focus and prioritisation to what needs to be done in order to achieve the Vision. You can’t have an effective performance management system without it.

There are plenty of books and academic papers about the merits and disadvantages of a Balanced Scorecard. But we keep it very simple. It’s not about creating a sophisticated set of strategies, policies and plans that sit on a shelf. Instead it’s very much about creating a working document that drives performance from a strategic perspective.

It’s called the Balanced Scorecard because it looks at the business in a balanced way using four key perspectives, as follows:

  • A financial perspective – what is required to be profitable?
  • A marketing perspective – which potential customers need to be targeted to generate that profit?
  • An operations perspective – which processes and procedures need to be improved and measured to meet the customer needs?
  • A learning and innovation perspective – what do people need to learn and what innovation is required to achieve the above?

These perspectives are designed to maintain a balanced, strategic approach to the business and what it requires in order to succeed. Each perspective will have about five Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).

The KPIs are the specific measures that the business needs to focus on in order to achieve the Vision. They are like the pulse of the business. They are indicators that ‘make a difference’, that are critical to the effective delivery of customer satisfaction and maintaining a sustainable client base, which in turn provides the positive cashflow and net profits required to achieve the Vision.

The Balanced Scorecard is your strategic document, and the KPIs are your measures of success. Therefore they need to be regularly reviewed and updated by the Top Team. You will also need to translate the KPIs into team and individual objectives so that people are clear about what is expected from them. This is critical and gives more meaning to people’s jobs. When they can see how their job links directly to the success of the business your people will naturally become more engaged and motivated.

Each of the four perspectives will have a simple set of actions to drive progress. We have plenty of examples of Key Performance Indicators and will facilitate the development of the actions required to achieve them, but it will be up to you and your team to implement them.

Each action needs a specific outcome, which also identifies who is ultimately responsible for it and a date of completion or review.

Whilst it may take a few hours to develop the first draft, it will take a few months if not a few quarters to fully implement and use the Balanced Scorecard as both a strategic and tactical tool that drives performance.

The Four Cornerstones of People Management

Once the Balanced Scorecard is clarified we review the four cornerstones of People Management to develop a People Management (or Human Resources – HR) Strategy. These cornerstones remind us of what needs to be considered with regard to your people, to make sure that they are effectively recruited, developed, motivated and managed. They are also known as the functions of human resource management.

  • Resourcing
    • Ensuring you have the right numbers of the right people doing the right things
  • Development
    • Ensuring people have the right Skills, Knowledge and Attitude to do the job
  • Reward
    • Ensuring people are appropriately motivated and rewarded for their contribution
  • Relations
    • Ensuring you communicate and act fairly and appropriately with people

What is Human Resource Management?

Human Resource Management (HRM) is becoming one of the most critical success factors in 21st century businesses. The climate has changed and people’s expectations about work are now very different than 10 years ago. There are many laws governing the employment relationship to ensure that it is fair. It is your responsibility to have the processes and procedures in place that provide crystal clear communication, so people know where they stand and have the opportunity to contribute fully, to grow and to have satisfying work in a safe environment.

Many of these critical elements of HR will be addressed as we guide you through the CLEAR Framework. However, as specific needs arise, we will always use our expertise to identify root causes and find the best pragmatic solution for you. We avoid all the HR gobbledygook and make sure you are fully aware of what you and your Managers need to drive business success.

Organisational Design

How to develop an Organisation Chart as part of the CLEAR Framework - Inspired Working

The CLEAR Framework is actually a human resource management system, we just keep it simple enough to implement and robust enough to produce the required results. Once the Balanced Scorecard is in place it becomes possible to review the shape of the business. We will ask some searching questions about the design and structure of the business. For example:

  • Are the right teams of people doing the right things in the right way?
  • What are the lines of responsibility and reporting?
  • Who is formally supervising and appraising whom? Why?
  • What are the key teams and individual job roles required to deliver in order to contribute to the achievement of the KPIs in the Balanced Scorecard?

This often raises a number of issues and highlights the people-Managers who may need training in the essentials of Management skills. You will be given a number of options with regard to how to identify the development needs of your Managers. These may range from simple paper-based exercises to a full assessment day benchmarking your Managers’ proficiency against fourteen thousand other Managers in the UK.

Job Descriptions

It is difficult to manage people effectively without a Job Description to provide clarity and to set expectations. The way we develop Job Descriptions is by interviewing the job holder and asking what they are responsible for delivering. We avoid the old fashioned list of tasks and make sure that people are aware of what outcomes they are responsible for amd what results the Job needs to achieve.

Job Descriptions are part of the Clear Framework - Inspired Working

The principal headings we use include:

  • Job Title
  • Purpose
  • Reporting lines
  • Key Responsibilities:
    • Principle (and Additional as appropriate) – this is very specific to the job role.
    • Personal – this is usually generic for all staff.
    • Team Management (or for not-management roles Team participation) – this is usually generic for all management and staff respectively.

The Job Description is then reviewed and verified in a 1-to-1 meeting between the line manager and the job holder to finalise and clarify any details. Once it is agreed, the job holder signs and it is put on file to be reviewed at the next Performance Appraisal.

We have a number of sample Job Descriptions that can be used as templates but many small and medium sized businesses have roles that are quite specific to the requirements of the business.

For more about how we help you implement the CLEAR Framework Click here