Promise Delivery System

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What is a Promise Delivery System?

Excerpt from Chapter 8 of The Experience Design Blueprint, "The Promise Delivery System, shown in Figure 8.1, is a closed loop system that revolves around an intended audience and includes 4 major components: strategy, delivery, validation, and learning. All organizations have a promise delivery system that reveals how promises are made and kept to its stakeholders. Promises are the goods and services the organization provides its various audiences. This mental model is a powerful tool to help us see how the organization works and how improvements can be made. The Promise Delivery System could just as easily be called sustainable value creation."

Key Ideas of the Promise Delivery System

  • Mental models allow us to visualize how things work that we don’t ordinarily see
  • A mental model for how the organization works is powerful for making improvements
  • The Promise Delivery System reveals how organizations make and keep promises, or don’t
  • Promises are the goods and services the organization provides its various audiences
  • Making a Promise Delivery System visible can help employees and partners stay on track and know how new ideas and initiatives fit
  • The Promise Delivery System is a closed loop system that revolves around an audience and includes strategy, delivery, validation, and learning
  • Connecting the theoretical right hand side of the model (blue) with the marketplace reality on the left hand side (green) helps to keep the organization grounded in marketplace reality and have better conversations if and when the organization needs to shift its course

 
image of Promise Delivery System from author and consultant Gregory Olson - delightability

Importance of Promise Delivery System

  • Enables the organization to have a consistent model for making and keeping promises to audiences
  • Provides a way to connect strategy with more practical considerations of customers and employees
  • Gives leaders a view into creating meaningful metrics and operating mechanisms to stay on track
  • Shows you that if you don’t adjust your strategy based on changing conditions, your organization’s promises might fall short of audience expectations

Building a More Responsive and Increasingly Relevant Organization

A responsive organization that can shape and shift its course, as the world outside changes, is the best insurance against joining the ranks of companies that have lost their mojo or worse. If you want to avoid the lumbering and desperate “Hail Mary” attempts that will eventually exhaust and break the will of your people, then you’ll need to be more mindful of your audiences, inside and outside the organization. You’ll also need to balance the promises you make and keep across these various stakeholders.  Make your Promise Delivery System visible for each stakeholder and you’re on track to building a more responsive and increasingly relevant organization that can stand the test of time.

Please Don’t Let Your Organization Become a Lumpy Snowball

Every time an organization makes a cycle through the Promise Delivery System it has the opportunity to shape and shift its strategy based upon new insights, validation of products and services, and applied learnings from the external environment. But, when a complete round trip completes and there is no fine tuning of the strategy it is a bit like rolling a snowball with a stick protruding. Continuing this cycle is akin to ignoring your Promise Delivery System. This results in unknowingly and unwittingly building a progressively lumpier snowball of an organization. And, we all know how that ends. Sadly, the large lumpy snowball melts in place or breaks under its own weight as people eventually attempt to shove it in a new direction. The annals of business are filled with failed organizations that didn't shape and shift their strategy to keep in tune with changing times and customers' desires. Being mindful of your organization's Promise Delivery System(s) is your best insurance policy to ensure your organization avoids the business graveyard.

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