We Still Use a Compass

In a time of GPS, Google maps and pin dropping, most of us, even millennials, know what a compass is. There are some who can even use a compass to navigate through the woods.

Simply put, the compass is a tool used to both understand and direct; it gives a point of reference for current position in relation to future state. Using the example of the woods, the compass ca point us in the right direction, but it doesn’t know if we have to go over a mountain or through water, or make our way around some other obstacle. At PRISCON, we use the Compass as a guide and a tool; a mechanism by which we can evaluate where an organization is and to provide direction for where it wants to be to be healthy and successful. Different from the woods example, our Compass identifies the obstacles to a successful healthy business so that they can be avoided and keep progress moving in the preferred direction.
An organization, by nature, has a variety of parts that need to work together to be successful. Although each part can work independently of the others, if one of those parts is not operating at its fullest potential and capabilities, it can negatively impact the organization as a whole. Each part needs to be strong and healthy on its own, as much as the organization does. One of the challenges we see is that business leaders can tell that something isn’t functioning well, but the exact group isn’t easy to pinpoint. As different groups within an organization will work independently as well as in partnership with other groups, it does take some time and precision to determine the area that needs work. Our three compasses, Organizational Health, Operational Function and Leadership Development, work together and independently to assess the strengths, weaknesses, assets and challenges of an organization as well as it’s parts.


The Organizational Health Compass is designed for a big picture view of an organization, taking into consideration all aspects of a company ranging from people and resources to communication and structure. It is used to sort through areas of strength to build upon them and areas of weakness to deliver solutions for improvement. Businesses will fall into one of four categories ranging from healthy to unhealthy. Even the ones in the unhealthy category are not beyond repair with proper guidance, but without an assessment, it’s nearly impossible to know where to start.
The Operational Function Compass focuses on the inner workings of an organization or department. As departments need to function on their own as well as together, it’s important that each is assessed for its own strengths and weaknesses as well as future state goals. In many cases where there are issues with an organization’s operations, it takes a dedicated effort to pinpoint the exact area of inefficiency and how it may affect other operational areas or external areas such as customer facing interactions. Customers are one of the keys to building the success of a business, so it’s important to hold on to them well beyond the initial sale. But a healthy business isn’t based on just sales and profits. All other operational functions need to be healthy to maintain a positive customer experience and manage the day to day business functions.
The Leadership Development Compass is used to help leaders build on their existing strengths and identify areas where their subordinates can develop their own leadership skills. Given the variety of hierarchical structures within an organization, there is often much opportunity to build and train future leaders. Promotion from within, with proper training, will help build consistency in goals and objectives for long term success. Equally important, the compass model for Leadership Development offers an opportunity to identify existing strengths in current and future leaders so that their natural talents can be put to the best use for immediate groups in the organization as well as the organization at large. It’s almost counter intuitive to groom and train one’s replacement, but with a potential replacement promotions can go smoother and benefit the people being promoted as well as the organization as a whole.
Compasses are incredible tools. They assess and guide using the most basic directions and don’t require any additional fancy technology that risks becoming outdated. Sometimes, the most basic tools are the most efficient, and simplicity makes it easy to follow the guide we are given.