Determining the Organization’s Core Business Processes

Background: what is a Core Process?

A Core Process in any organization consists of a set of “to dos” that every business must have for effective governance. Whether you are a corner store, a large multi-national or a Not-For-Profit, you will need at a minimum of 7 Core Processes:

  1. A Strategic Plan, including a vision of the future of the business

Key Question:  Where do you wish to go as an organization?

  1. An Operational Plan, i.e. how the Business Strategy will get implemented

Key Question: How are you going to get there?

  1. A Human Resource Management Plan by which to manage your people

Key Question: Who is going to be involved?

  1. A Financial Management Plan to handle budgeting and cash flow

Key Question: Where will the money come from?

  1. A Delivery Structure that sets out how products and services will be delivered

Key Question: How will the organization be structured?

  1. Performance Management that tells you how well your business is doing

Key Question: How is the organization and its people performing?

  1. An overall Business Plan that integrates all of the elements of your business

Key Question: How does the whole plan come together to ensure success


Who is Accountable?

It is the accountability of the staff of the organization to develop the Core Processes for the organization for approval by the Board of Directors. The goal of working out the Core Processes is to create a meaningful and realistic picture of your organization, so that everyone involved know where they fit and what to do. Often, in larger organizations, there is an entire Business Planning process that involves consultation with managers and staff on the elements of the Core Processes. In smaller organizations, it may be a coffee cup meeting, where the Board members sit with each other and work out the details of how their organization will run. If there is no staff members in the organization, then the Board gets to define all of the core processes.


  1. Define the Vision and Strategy for the organization

Working in a Board work session, establish the Vision, Mission, Key Result Areas and Strategic Directions for the organization.

  • Tool 10: Defining the Strategy of the Organization.


  1. Oversee the development of the organization’s Operational Plan

Based on the Strategic Directions provided by the Board, oversee the preparation by staff members of the Organization’s Operational Plan.

  • Tool 11: Developing the Organization’s Operational Plan.


  1. Oversee the development of the organization’s Human Resource Plan

Again based on the Strategic Directions provided by the Board, oversee the preparation by staff members of the organization’s Human Resource Plan, based on the principle that Form follows Function, i.e. what people will be needed to make the organization work?

  • Tool 12: Developing the Organization’s Human Resource Management Plan.


  1. Establish the organization’s Financial Management Plan

Working with staff, establish:

  • Where the organization’s money will come from, e.g. funding;
  • The shape of the organization’s budget;
  • How monies will be managed, re. Board-staff roles;
  • How monies will be accounted for;
  • How spending will be audited and reported on.


  • Tool 13a: Establishing the organization’s Financial Management Plan.
  • Tool 13b: Managing the Organization’s Finances


  1. Design the organization’s Delivery Structure:

Working with the senior-most staff member, set up the optimum delivery structure for delivering the products and services of the organization.

  • Tool 14a: Designing the Organization’s Structure and
  • Tool 14b: Types of Organizational Models.


  1. Define Performance management

Working with the senior-most staff member, establish how the organization will measure:

  • Its overall performance, e.g. Strategic and Operational Audit;
  • The performance of its people, both Board and staff.


  • Tool 15a: Reporting on Performance;
  • Tool 15b: ED Performance Appraisal Process and
  • Tool 15c: Assessing the Board’s Performance.


  1. Compile the Business Plan

Using all the elements to date, compile and overall Business Plan for approval by the Board of Directors

  • Tool 16: Compiling the Organization’s Business Plan.