The infamous People Process Technology triangle (3)

The final two elements - strategy and information.


Many organizations complain that they “don’t have a strategy”; by which they mean they don’t have a written, documented “strategic plan” document. But every organization has a strategy even if it is not written down or even consistent.

To effect change you have to understand the strategy, what’s behind the thinking and direction of the organization. Is it business unit autonomy or central services? Market leadership or specialized services the big boys don’t do? Product specific or outlet focused? And so on.

Actually you need to differentiate between what the strategy is (as is being done in practice) and the strategic intent (what is believed should be happening).

For example, an electricity utility had a strategy of becoming a multi-utility utility, taking on gas, water and telecommunications. Meanwhile, its real strategy-in-practice was focused on minimising the chances of power failure with no action being taken to realize the greater strategy. A change strategy to implement a multi-utility utility would not have gone far despite the strategic intent. If you believe the spoken strategy and ignore the actual strategy you will be undone.


Information is the lifeblood of an organization and is separate from technology, systems and processes.

For example, some years ago I conducted a little experiment in a manufacturing company. I asked, “What information does a shop floor worker need to do an excellent job?” We listed over 50 items and then ticked off which information items they received — less than 50%! I’ve repeated this experiment over and over again in different industries with varying results but all around the 50% mark.

There seems to be an assumption that systems will automatically provide the necessary information. Not so. Just think about what information you’d like to know about your customers and then compare that to what information you have.

Information is a separate entity that can make a significant difference to how people work, how they spend their time and how they can adopt change. It is a significantly opportunity lever in that if you can promise them that they will have the information they need to do an excellent job in their new role, then you can more easily ‘sell’ change. One recent survey found that managers spent around 30% of their time “looking for information”. This is just one dimension of the opportunity.

Failure to pull information out from the processes, systems or technology (depending on where you normally bury it) results in information being ignored, assumed or ‘hoped for’ when it is a major change lever.

Next week, bringing it all together.

Do you thing the P-P-T triangle meets all of your needs?

Please post your comments below

Topics: Mental Models, Beliefs and Myths

Further Reading



[1] ...

Revision History

First published: Simms, J. (May 2009) as "The Infamous People-Process-Technology Triangle (3)"

Updated: Chapman, A. (March 2020), Revisions and Corrections