This is part of a series of posts about the Leadership Lattice, a framework for learning about the different dimensions of management and leadership.

The next layer of the Leadership Lattice is the application domain, which is about managing the output and outcomes of the organization. This is about what the company creates. It’s about the products and services that the team offers, and the markets in which they operate.

A leader is ultimately accountable for the output and outcome of the team. However, it’s easy to disproportionately spend time in this domain (especially becoming prescriptive about outputs). This is a common misstep I’ve noticed in new leaders, and one I’ve made many times myself. The most sustainable leadership approaches are ultimately exercised through people and teams.

This is a very expansive domain of concern, and can easily be divided into two sub-domains: outputs and outcomes. Outputs are what teams do, and outcomes are the results of those outputs. Outputs are often divided into functions - sales, engineering, product management, support. Outcomes are measured within the environment those outputs operate - in markets, with customers - both external and internal.

It may seem as if one guiding mental model is not enough - but I think the concept of the learning loop covers it quite well. The learning loop is the cycle of decision making > execution > learning that takes place in organizations. Decisions guide execution, which creates learning, which in turn drives decisions. This cycle occurs at an individual level, team level, and organization level. As such, there is an argument for making the individual and team concerns a part of their respective layers in the lattice. What you do, how you do it, and what results from this across different timescales is a good way to encapsulate the application domain.

The practices of this domain include:

  • Market Strategy
  • Strategic Planning
  • Decision Making Frameworks
  • Functional Excellence (sales, product, engineering, etc)
  • Analytics and Research
  • Knowledge management

I’ll be collecting more frameworks to share in this domain. However, given the domain is so expansive and domain specific, it can’t really be covered in one post.