Understanding Pyramid of Purpose

Pyramid of Purpose


For professional organization it is essential that it follows a business strategy and that this strategy is understood by one and all in the organization. It is not only important to have a strategic plan for success of an organization’s business but also that it is communicated to every individual. Management of a company must ensure that plans are not only communicated across rank and file, but that it is understood by all. Planning and communication go hand-in-hand for a convincing effect on employees of a company, and also on their customers.

This correlation between planning and communication is best understood by using ‘pyramid of purpose’. This is a diagrammatic representation of an otherwise complicated process which could take several pages for its explanation. Strategic plans pertaining to any field; marketing, finance, administration, or after sales support could be explained more effectively by using this pyramid structure.

Communicating ideas through Pyramid structure

A pyramid of purpose is highly effective in communicating important information to different levels in an organization. Like in any organizational setup where it is easier to go top down, a pyramid’s structure always cascades down with the apex showing the highest level of strategy making. This pyramidal structure attempts to answer several questions in a comprehensive manner. Using the pyramid we get to know ‘why we do what we do’; ‘what is needed to be done to achieve our purposes’; ‘how exactly should we do what is needed to be done’; and ‘who or what should ensure that the job is done’?

The entire mechanism of pyramid of purpose could be understood if we could make an attempt to answer these four questions: why, what, how, and who. All these questions are correlated and not mutually exclusive. Answer to one question leads you to the next and subsequently to the following question. This pyramidal structure begins at the apex with the question ‘why’ and ends at the base with answer to ‘who’?

Each of these questions pertains to an activity or task entrusted to an organization as a whole or to a department. For all practical purposes the macro viewpoint is considered and this pyramid is used in analyzing the strategic planning and communication system of an organizational setup.

  • Why – this refers to an organization’s vision, mission, and its inherent values;
  • What – this question attempts in making an insight into an organization’s short term goals and long term objectives;
  • How – through this question an answer to the actions required for achieving objectives and goals are sought;
  • Who – this refers to the resources such as manpower, systems, infrastructure that could deliver these objectives.

Pyramid of Purpose

Once these four questions are answered a team could work in unison and in the desired direction. This pyramid of purpose should be referred to during the course of an assignment so that focus is not lost. This intermittent checking is for keeping track of a work process and ensuring that the pyramidal structure remains relevant. As a check for this structure a VMOST framework is set where ‘V’ represents ‘vision’, ‘M’ implies ‘mission’, ‘O’ stands for ‘objectives’, ‘S’ implies ‘strategies’, and ‘T’ represents ‘tactics’. For any type of task for an organization, be it a marketing campaign, or budget preparation, these aspects remain unchanged. This tool firstly enables members to remember a company’s business objectives from time to time. In the second place it helps in creating and evaluating future plans and aligns them with prevalent business processes.

VMOST tool

The VMOST tool forms the framework of pyramid of purpose.

Vision – This is the long term business objective of a company. It works as a guideline to chart out an organization’s policies, work culture, and customer relations. It is a source of inspiration for employees and a trust for clients.

Mission – This implies short run goals that need to be achieved to fulfill long run objective. It is usually a quantifiable attribute that helps in gauging an organization’s progress.

Objectives – Objectives are components of a company’s mission which are connected to specific goals. These objectives must be met to achieve a mission.

Strategy – A strategy is a comprehensive plan which guides an organization towards meeting its objectives.

Tactics – Tactics are definite tasks or actions which are undertaken for fulfilling a company’s strategy.

Thus, whenever this VMOST tools is referred to, members of an organization are reminded of its purpose and the path to pursue for achieving this purpose.

This VMOST tool could be viewed from two perspectives: bottom upwards and top downwards. A bottom upwards view gives a pragmatic orientation to VMOST tool. It helps in lining business processes and actions that ultimately lead to achieving long term objective. A top down view, on the other hand, offers an unobtrusive sight of a company’s objectives and consequently assist in devising action plans.

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Using VMOST in understanding Pyramid of Purpose

The most important consideration of using VMOST tool is to have all these five components in perfect alignment with one another from both top down and bottom upwards perspectives. It is essential to check the scope of each of the components of this tool. While checking it is vital to correlate an organization’s day to day activities. Individual contributions of each member as well as a team’s contribution in this daily activity are essential parameters of calculation.

Perfect compatibility needs to be established between short term goals and long term objective for this model to work perfectly. While achieving long term objective care needs to be taken that short term goals are not bypassed or overlooked. For achieving both, a company must follow a definite set of strategies supported by compliant actions and methodologies.

The most convenient way of following the pyramid of purpose is to align an organization through PMS. This process is simple and involves selecting an objective, aligning it at each functional level, and implementing the same with regular reviewing.

To wrap up

Pyramid of purpose is not subject to any stringent rules and regulations. It is just a way of conveying a strategy or plan across all levels in an organization in an effective manner. There are always ways of improving on this system.

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