Using the tool

You can use the tool in your organization in two ways:

  1. Look at the results of the prioritization review (see the end of this section) and start with the priority areas. Be careful that there are no areas you need to address first before you can initiate the assigned tasks. For example, can you effectively define a marketing strategy if you don’t have a clear organizational strategy?

  2. Work through the different managerial strategies in the order that they are listed.

Each managerial strategy, or module, has several critical performance areas. You will need to work through some of these sequentially while others can be worked through in any order. The order of working is outlined in the introduction to each managerial strategy.

Each critical performance area has a description of the topic aimed at creating awareness.

Once done, there is an assessment section with several statements. You will answer these with a simple “true” or “false” based on your current performance. Should you score well, then you are doing well in this area, and you can move to the next critical performance area. However, we don’t recommend this, as reading through the actions, even if you scored well, will expose you to new ideas that you may want to adopt within your organization. The assessment questions also provide insights into best practices.

If you score below a certain level, go through the interventions and determine which ones apply to your organization. Draw up plans to take action and start the implementation. You might want to undertake further research on the topic before committing to any actions. That is perfectly acceptable – it is your intervention in your organization. Do what you feel is best.

You can read through the entire tool in less than a day. To fully reflect on each action and what the implications are for your organization, and to formulate and implement solutions will take much longer – up to a year or more! Once you have worked your way through the entire tool, start from the beginning again. Organizations are dynamic. You will get something new out of going through the tool again and again.

As a final note, don’t expect to find all the answers to your organization’s issues to be neatly laid out in the tool. Using the tool is just the beginning of your change journey. We hope to widen your knowledge and stimulate your thinking. You are still going to have to work out how to use the different concepts in your organization and then make them work through implementation.

Using TOM

As mentioned previously, a target operating model (TOM) template was used in the design of this tool. Each of the seven managerial strategies areas link back to this TOM as depicted in the diagram below:

You can create a TOM of your own by capturing your key deliberations as a one-page summary. Use the diagram above as a guideline in designing your own TOM summary.

Why would you want to define your own one-page TOM?

  • The TOM provides you and your employees with a big picture of what your organization might look like in the future.
  • It helps bring everyone onto the same page as to what you are trying to achieve providing a common purpose and a shared vision.
  • It will help you to determine what you need to address to get your organization to the next level. You can use the TOM as a reference point as to what you still need to address to achieve your vision.
  • It can help you and your team to determine how best to optimize resources, maximize efficiencies and create a clear path forward.

Keeping track of actions

Throughout this tool, you are going to come up with projects, plans or actions to help you successfully implement the improvements you have identified for your organization. These should be action-orientated, should specify tasks, should have a person with overall responsibility for delivery, and should have deadlines.

For each project, ask yourself:

  • Is the project aligned with the strategy?
  • What are the objectives of the project?
  • How will the success of the project be measured?
  • What resources are needed to complete the project?
  • Will the project deliver benefits to the organization in excess of project costs?
  • What are the next steps to get the project underway? (Including timing and a responsible person).

Capture all projects in a project management software package or use the project plan template provided.

Download the project plans template

See the section on “Project management” for a brief overview of project management.

Sticking to it

The biggest challenge facing you in using this tool is overcoming all your other priorities and challenges and sticking to going through the tool and implementing the actions!

There are going to be all sorts of immediate demands on your time, taking you away from implementing solutions for your long-term growth. You are going to find the going hard and you will at times ask yourself why you are doing this?

Keep the end picture in mind. You are creating an excellent organization. It won’t happen overnight. You need to believe in your future organization. Your reward will be a successful organization with you doing what you love.

Here are some tips to help you stay the distance:

  1. Set aside a fixed time each week for you to go through this tool and determine how you are going to implement the actions on which you decide. This time is sacrosanct and cannot be changed for anything. Choose a time that is typically a quieter time – this could be before or after work. Put it in your diary and keep to it no matter what!

  2. Use project management tools and techniques to keep track of who is doing what. (See the section on “Project management”).

  3. Find an outside person, such as a mentor that you meet with regularly, to discuss your plans and progress. This does not need to be a professional mentor but could be a retired businessperson you know who is prepared to help you in your journey to success.

  4. Don’t give up! Your efforts will be rewarded.


This strategic review will help you prioritize, at the strategic management level, the areas of your organization that need attention to improve performance.

You as the CEO can work through this strategic review, but you are encouraged to use this as an opportunity to involve your employees in helping define your future organization.

Use the Prioritization review template and follow the instructions to complete the prioritization process.

Download the prioritization review

Visit the SimplifyTOM Toolbox