Consulting Case Studies Framework

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A tool for thinking about a situation that allows teams to use a shared mental model and a shared vocabulary.

In my post ways of seeing - I explored the idea of deeply understanding a client’s organization and culture to better understand how they see the world. A shared mental model of a situation is powerful and deeply transformative, especially at the management layer where they spend most of their time in abstractions.

In this post I’m going to argue that bringing pre-existing off-the-shelf models and frameworks to my client work is the biggest mistake I’ve made in the past two years.

A framework as I’m going to refer to it in this post is essentially a useful abstraction.

First, let’s lay the groundwork and set some definitions - in particular let’s try and differentiate between the concept of a “model” and a “framework”.

The dictionary defines a framework as: a system of rules, ideas, or beliefs that is used to plan or decide something This is close to what we need - but doesn’t quite capture the notion of abstraction that I think is key for our uses.

And it’s only recently that I really began to understand why existing generic frameworks like “jobs to be done” don’t meet my needs. And for extra impact get good at naming them and embedding them in processes to achieve the outcomes they want.

I’m going to try and walk through what this all means, show four case studies from my consulting work and end on some ways you can practice making frameworks.

Let’s re-state as: Frameworks are usually scale invariant. they abstract a system to its core relations, categories and interactions.

Then, we can think of a model as a framework that allows for calculation with inputs and outputs: I realize this is slightly hard to parse and in fact there are so many different uses for the words framework and model. They help us make sense of situations But frameworks are more than mere representations.

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