Thursday, April 7, 2011

Portfolio Thread View (PTV©) – The Ark of Your Businesses?

Sounds like the story of Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark? Surely, I hear someone saying – here goes Charles again – with yet another twist on Strategy. Well…with our blogs, being known for its artistic and scientific insights from the scriptures of east and the west alike, that are presented in a fair and balanced manner, we decided to derive today’s insights from the Ark of the Covenant.

By the by, what is this Ark? For some, the Ark is a mystical object providing supernatural powers to overcome life's challenging situations. For others, it is the vessel (or Eight mouth glyph in Chinese traditions) that saved Noah and his family from the flood. For the “millennials”, it perhaps is the treasure sought after by the fearless Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark. However, for the “faithfuls” from the Judaic-Muslim-Christian roots, it is an ancient artifact that is coveted for its "spiritual" significance, similar to the "holy grail", whereas for the “faithfuls” from the eastern (Vedic/Hindu) roots, the Ark Vivaah is a ritual that is performed to remove the inauspicious situations of one’s life to move-on into the marriage ceremony in a normal way.

Regardless of these minor philosophical differences, the most common and consistent theme across all of these perceptions is that- the Ark is a symbol of wise counselor/helper, especially, when a individual, nation or a business is going through difficult seasons - which compelled us to learn more about it - and come up with few insightful similarities between PTV© and the Ark. As you might recall – in our article last week– we had stressed a key message –“under PTV© construct, the invisible instruction that is hidden within the purpose seed is the cornerstone of PTV©, which then, transforms itself into a healthy plant called the systemic organization”.

Similarly, “under the Ark construct, the hidden manna that is stored within the golden pot (or purpose seed) is the cornerstone of the Ark – which then, transforms itself into a plant called systemic organization (i.e. the rod that is budded/blossomed producing the fruit)”. Extending the metaphor little further - very much like how one is expected to practice the 10 commandments to be fruitful in their lives, organizations are expected to practice PTV©’s 10 principles within their strategic planning processes to reap the value as promised by PTV© - as further summarized in the three content dimension similarities (or strategy dimension of PTV©) below, and in the picture on the top of the page–

  • Ark’s manna that is hidden in the golden pot ->PTV©’s purpose instruction that is hidden in the “purpose seed” with its invisible instruction set.

  • Ark’s rod that is budded/blossomed in the form of a plant-> PTV©’s systemic organization that is blossomed in the form of a plant.

  • Ark’s 10 commandments to help creating/increasing the fruitful life-> PTV©’s 10 principles to help creating/increasing the value within the systemic organization.

As it turns out, the similarity between PTV© and the Ark do not just stop at the content (or strategy) dimension either –rather, it is also extended into the structure dimension – and interestingly enough, the structure dimension similarities are all the more intriguing, as outlined below, and in the picture on the top of the page as well -

  • Ark foreshadows the coming Messiah -> PTV© foreshadows the futuristic experiences (or growth opportunities) using our EPP© framework.

  • Ark provides a means (or a method) of reaching eternity –> PTV© provides a means (or capabilities) of realizing that growth using our CPP© framework.

  • Ark’s 10 commandments are concealed as laws, but are revealed as grace –> PTV© ’s Experience Pools are concealed as Capability pools, but, Capability Pools on the other hand are revealed as Experience Pools, but, manifested in the form of purpose innovation portfolio or PIP© framework.

While we were so impressed by these striking similarities of PTV© and the Ark (in both the strategy and structure dimensions), the thing that amazed us the most was, its perfect alignment with Chandler’s “STRUCTURE FOLLOWS STRATEGY” conclusion. Rightfully so, the strategy dimension of PTV© (i.e. Purpose seed, the Plant and the 10 principles) were covered within our SPF metaphor last week, whereas, the structure part (with its three frameworks EPP©, CPP© & PIP©) were covered in detail, in the weeks before that as well– yet, all of them, just happen to be coherently fitting together beautifully, as envisioned by Chandler.

Speaking of PTV’s coherent alignment with Chandler’s conclusion, yet another question that immediately came to our mind was– which one comes first – Strategy or Purpose? In other words, where does the Purpose part fit in? within Strategy or Structure? Interestingly enough, we took a holistic view while formulating the CAPABILITY POOL PORTFOLIO STRUCTURE with its five sub-components -

  • Organization structure (mostly driven by People and Process with IQ+EQ+CQ driven culture, behaviors, interactions, interventions, Gifts, Talents and Skills etc. In a way it has both tangible and intangible components)

  • Asset structure (tangible)

  • Investment capital structure (tangible)

  • Identity structure (intangible glue like brand identity/equity etc.)

  • Purpose structure (intangible glue).

Out of this five, the purpose part of the CAPABILITY STRUCTURE is the one that has always been debated in terms of - does purpose belong here as part of the capability portfolio? Rightfully so, the experts are still divided - but that is beside the point here. In our opinion, purpose belongs to both strategy and structure dimensions. This is yet another reason, we named our blog as STRATEGY WITH PURPOSE – which means, we kept it open ended, and so the readers can interpret it in both ways, with a DOING BOTH mindset!


  1. Dear Charles,
    This post has a special value to me. ARK (Alan Roy Katritzky) was my supervisor for my PhD in the UK. Now, he is associated with the University of Florida. ARK is an internationally-renowned researcher; this post deserves equal merit. The simplicity with which you expressed this novel strategic approach deserves applauds. Honestly, I have no comment to make, but to say this post is a treasure. Hands up to Charles

  2. Thanks Ali. Now that I have learned more about Mr. ARK’s stature, I feel humbled as it is like comparing mountain to molehill. Having said that, with Mr.ARK being your PhD boss, I am reminded of the proverbial statement– “show me your SISYA… and I will tell you how good the GURU is”.

    With me knowing the caliber of you (the SISHYA), I can perfectly visualize the caliber of your boss, Mr.ARK. I guess, ARKs- no matter what form they manifest, seem to of persons/objects of exceptional insights - like your boss and our Arks within our blog this week.

    Thanks again for yet another insightful comment!