Building People (Book Review)

Core Framework 1: Foundations and Planning for Goals and Resources

The authors state that the fondational resource for a company is its mission statement, and I think a fast follow would be its corporate values. These are the compass we’ll use to develop all future resources and goals. A graphic was offered comparing the various layers of corporate planning processes and resoures to core structural engineering principles, with the founding document serving as our fondation studs encased in concrete at the base of the house, our operating cadence akin to the house’s plumbing and elctrical, and our support beams supporting on our ceiling alinging with our operating systems. This feels like a classic way of thinking about coporate structure, yet in practice I’ve been reaching for something more flexible, like a modular sea vessel that has the ability to change its core materials and shape while at sea. This feels more like what building and evolving org design and culture feels like in practice at a startup. but I do agree tha the founding documents should be inked and sturdy, as these should only be reworked in major pivots, which do not happen that often (if they are true pivots and not just shifts in tack).

The missions shares why the organization exists in the first place. What problem does this venture solve? I like when a mission has some inclusion of the end state of the organization at which point the company and service would no longer be needed. This makes the pursuit tractable and achievable, at least in broadstrokes. Folded under the corporate mission umbrella lie team missions. I focus primarily on data products, and therefore my mission statements typically speak to internal teams (product engineerig teams, infra, security, devops, analytics, etc.). Whether our org is responsible is serving a self-serve data marketplace or buiding bespoke products as sort of an internal consultancy depends on the company focus and maturity, yet these mission statements can still be inspiring and aspirational, even if they are more internally focussed.