Back to the Fundamentals

By Chris Harper and Aaron Howard on August, 12 2021

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Chris Harper and Aaron Howard

We are delighted to feature a blog post co-authored by Online's Senior Director of Digital Advisory Services, Chris Harper, and our friend and partner, Chief Executive Officer of Mass Ingenuity, Aaron Howard.

If you had the chance to time travel back to the beginning of 2020, would you?

We know you have heard the COVID-19 story before, and even more importantly you have lived through it for the past year and a half. It is no secret to you, or to anyone, that organizational priorities were scrambled – with the focus shifting from a proactive, strategic approach to just dealing with the struggles of the day-to-day. 

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In so many industries, things went from 0-100% unbelievably quickly, either through immense, uncontrolled growth, or stunted growth forcing organizations to make significant operational changes. Within all the chaos, a plethora of new challenges came to light in dealing with capacity, resourcing, supply chain management, turnover, and more.

If you could go back and do it over again, what might you have changed?


Now in August 2021, it seems you are finally able to come up for a bit of air, and to truly take a step back and take inventory of the impact. One common theme that has been identified for all organizations, regardless of size or industry, is that the way you do business has changed.

See, the interesting thing is that when we are forced into “survival-mode”, it forces us to think in innovative ways to stay in control. Organizations like yours are effectively reaching customers through channels they have never used before, fostering their company culture without being together, and making operational changes to long-standing, historic processes. In other words, your core business, or your fundamentals, have evolved.


We can imagine you are probably thinking, “Yes – I know things have changed, I am aware of that, why does that matter?”.

The question we want you to ask yourself is “what have you done about it from a strategic standpoint?”

  • When was the last time you sat down as a team to talk about your strategy at the highest level?

  • Do your employees, especially anyone who has joined within the past year and a half, know how what they do on a day-to-day basis corresponds to the overall organizational mission, vision, core values, or strategic goals?

The business you were a year and a half ago is not the business you are today, and likely won’t be the business you are a year from now. However, this shift is probably not reflected in your strategy because you haven’t had the time to focus on it amid all the fires you have been putting out daily.

Now is the time for you to re-group, re-evaluate, and re-invigorate by going back to the fundamentals, or the core of your business – who you are, and what you do. By taking this step back, you will get everyone aligned and on the same page, setting your organization up to travel forward to future success.



1. Review your Mission, Vision, and Core Values

Is this still who you are as a company? If not, what has changed? Who are you now? Take the time to socialize the content – does it resonate with internal stakeholders?

key goals and outcomes2. Establish Your Key Goals and Outcomes

Establish a finite number of Key Goals – statements of macro-level, long term organizational objectives. Answer the question, what accomplishments will define our success? Which outcomes do you need to see to achieve those goals?

core processes3. Identify Your Core Processes

Which processes drive your business? Have you considered all the different forms of processes including operating, supporting, and sub-processes?

establish measures4. Establish Your Measures

Which quantifiable indicators will you use to measure your progress? What will show you that you are doing your routine work well day-to-day – leading measures? What will gauge your progress toward your key goals – lagging measures?

accountability5. Create Accountability

Who is responsible for monitoring these outcomes and processes? Establish internal process and outcome owners to create open communication, clear visibility, and accountability.


Understanding your strategy is the first step of the journey, operationalizing and managing it becomes the next hurdle. At Online, we are advocates for formal enterprise performance management processes as a means of ensuring strategic and alignment efforts are managed and maintained over time. Additionally, by implementing software or other tools to keep your efforts front of mind, you will be able to keep people accountable and keep your finger on the pulse.


In the year 2021, we have yet to discover how to time travel, but in the world of business, why would we even want to go back in time? It is time to take the innovation you have shown in the past year and a half into stride and to re-group, re-evaluate, and re-invigorate your strategy.

Your core business has changed, and now more than ever your strategy should reflect that. Take the step back, go back to the fundamentals, and get everyone on the same page as you move into the next era of future business.


If you are interested in hearing more on how you can get back to the fundamentals of your organization, please join us and our partners at Mass Ingenuity for a learning series session with our experts later this month.

Back to the Fundamentals - Align Towards Your Ideal Future

Thursday, August 26th, 2021 3:00 PM - 3:30 PM CDT


Chris-Harper-HeadshotABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Chris Harper, Senior Director - Digital Advisory Services - Online Business Systems 

Chris Harper has been working at Online Business Systems for 3 years and is the Senior Director of Digital Advisory Services. Chris is a uniquely diversified Certified Management Consultant (CMC), Project Management Professional (PMP), and Certified Business Analysis Professional who uses his skills and expertise to help organizations unlock a competitive advantage using digital transformation. 

Aaron Howard, Chief Executive Officer - Mass Ingenuity  

Aaron is an industry leader in designing and installing visual business solutions. He has developed these solutions over the last 20 years and applied them to numerous areas across the enterprise, including strategy development and implementation, board governance, process improvement, risk management, audit, and internal controls, leadership development, organizational transformation, and project management.

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Mass Ingenuity, based in Portland OR, has been helping large and small enterprises define, and implement strategic plans and change management for over 11 years. That success is the backbone of the Results Software platform.

Results Management System and Software give you data visualization capabilities that cover pertinent management processes so you can analyze performance daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly.

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