At Thought Ensemble, we utilize a framework known as the “Four Things”: (1) Strategy, (2) Technology, (3) Delivery Model and (4) Organization. Often times, we even use these in order proceeding from (1) through (4) as we assess, vision, and plan for changes in an organization.

But, we have debated many times that we are missing the “Fifth Thing” from our model: money. WHAT?! How could we forget about financial considerations or at least not make it a category unto itself? Simple – because financial considerations are always a component of all four axes. Allow me to demonstrate:

  • Strategy – since a business is profitable by increasing revenue and/or decreasing costs, inevitably an overall business strategy will help to accentuate key financial goals such as revenue growth, cost cutting, market expansion, new product introduction, customer affinity, etc. Underlying most of these considerations are both goals and constraints related to the financial resources of the company;
  • Technology – while I admit that I love to play with new technologies and expensive toys, there is a big constraint on how much to spend on technology since they tend to be large, capital investments. Often times, these investments are bound budgets, a cost is a big factor in any technology decision (even from replacing existing sub-par technology since the cost outweighs the benefit);
  • Delivery Model – governance, including financial management, should be a formal component of any major organization. Ideally, decisions are based on a business-case culture that weighs cost and benefit. Often, this is one of the biggest areas that we see as a weakness in our clients and work diligently to change; and
  • Organization – salary, bonus, seniority, outsourcing, offshoring, in-house recruiting, etc. Many of the major factors we look at in regards to an organization depends on money factors that limit options.

So, if were were to introduce money as the “Fifth Thing” it would be redundant just like pulling out “process” or other factors that are embedded into the Four Things already.