Consulting Case Studies Framework

Consulting Case Studies Framework-16
Pre-existing frameworks are problematic for two reasons: Pre-existing frameworks are often complex tools.They’re designed to handle many different situations and organizations within a “master” framework so necessarily have to handle many edge cases and environments. But this complexity often means they get used incorrectly.

Pre-existing frameworks are problematic for two reasons: Pre-existing frameworks are often complex tools.They’re designed to handle many different situations and organizations within a “master” framework so necessarily have to handle many edge cases and environments. But this complexity often means they get used incorrectly.

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First, let’s lay the groundwork and set some definitions - in particular let’s try and differentiate between the concept of a “model” and a “framework”.

The dictionary defines a framework as: a system of rules, ideas, or beliefs that is used to plan or decide something This is close to what we need - but doesn’t quite capture the notion of abstraction that I think is key for our uses.

It takes time to tease out the optimal framework, from the first inkling of an idea run by the team to stress-testing the model to see it if stands up to new data.

Novices tend to become enamoured by high-concept/low-data frameworks that take an additional cognitive effort to process and are light on insight.” Simple frameworks are easier to communicate, travel faster inside an organization and have fewer barriers to adoption.

But what Jan highlights here is that novices become enamoured with high-concept/low-data frameworks - or frameworks that tease the wrong insight.

High concept frameworks are almost by definition worthless - a framework is an abstraction designed for simplifying and socializing an idea and if it’s hard to grok then it doesn’t help people think or help it spread.

A tool for thinking about a situation that allows teams to use a shared mental model and a shared vocabulary.

In my post ways of seeing - I explored the idea of deeply understanding a client’s organization and culture to better understand how they see the world. A shared mental model of a situation is powerful and deeply transformative, especially at the management layer where they spend most of their time in abstractions.

He’s right of course - shortcuts and ‘first principles analysis’ are not mutually exclusive . Frameworks provide the shortcut to making sense of an organization and for proposing and socializing new ideas.

But as is always the case with shortcuts, you need to choose your path wisely. The biggest mistake I’ve made is bringing pre-existing frameworks with me to a client gig.

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