Your strategy partner
Expertise that will help you navigate today’s uncertain world
“Been there, done that”
For more than 34 years, leading organizations have called on my strategy knowledge, experience, and judgment.
During that time, I’ve had a ringside seat from which to watch executives wrestle with strategy. I’ve seen them struggle to make sense of a situation and find a way out of it. I’ve been there as they skipped from one fad to another, flailing desperately for “the solution.” I’ve listened to them argue about various processes for creating strategy. And I’ve learned first-hand how hard it is to turn good plans into action.
My clients have included leading companies in most industries—from retail and consumer goods to autos and finance, from mining, manufacturing and construction to ITC and healthcare. And I’ve worked on a wide range of assignments with teams and individuals from the boardroom to the shop floor.
My uniquely simple, sound, and practical approach is the product of countless hours of study and thinking about management, coupled with hands-on experience in hundreds of consulting assignments and strategy workshops involving thousand of executives.
I test it constantly against the insights and ideas of the world’s top researchers and thinkers. And I’m always mindful of its relevance within a changing environment.
My learning and growth never stop.
I understand the complexities in business—and also how to cut through clutter and simplify things. I bring this hard-earned knowledge, experience, AND JUDGMENT to each new project—and I’ll bring it to your company too.
Learning by doing
When I began consulting, I used tools that were popular at the time—the vision, mission, values process; SWOT analysis; and so on. (As a result, and because of other expert views on these notions, I now have a serious aversion to them!) I also worked with ideas like Porter’s generic strategies and five forces, idealized design, and scenarios. And then there were core competence, hyper-competition, speed, lean, resilience, reframing, blue oceans, disruption….
Along the way, I studied every aspect of management, talked to prominent international thinkers to better understand their ideas, and kept looking for better answers. And I put big chunks of time every day into studying the business environment—to understand the economy, politics, social trends, technology, and the host of other factors that impact on companies and competitiveness.
All this, plus my own time in the trenches as an executive, give me a keen sense of the issues managers must deal with, what they mean to people at every level, and how to deal with them.
Together with consulting, there’s also been 18 years of business school lecturing, extensive conference speaking, and an intensive programme of research and writing. All of which has kept me abreast of the latest management concepts, trends, and best practices.
This mix of hands-on involvement and theory equips me to continually develop new insights and ideas, plus many unique tools—concepts, models, frameworks, and questionnaires—that are both powerful and practical.
Making it simple & practical
Understanding what makes business work, and why some firms outperform others, is more than just a professional interest for me. It’s my personal passion. It’s what I do, even in my spare time. So I never stop learning about management thought and practice.
As new ideas have come to market, I’ve always asked, “Is this really different, or just a rehash of what we know? What does it mean? Does it make sense? Is there evidence to support it? How does it build on or fit with other ideas? How can it be applied? Will busy managers actually be able to use it—and will it help them get the results they want? Is there a better way?
Thousands of hours at this have led me to a strategy philosophy grounded in sound knowledge, wide experience, proven principles, and common sense.
I see my job as enabling you and your colleagues to craft and conduct your own Powerful Strategic Conversation and your own strategy—and not to do it for you. So I’ll share my insights and advice with you, and act as a sounding board for your views. I’ll take people on when they put assumptions before facts or blatantly push their own agendas. And I’ll ask uncomfortable questions and push for informed answers.
“The most pressing management need of our time is to know and apply the practices that make the difference between winning and losing in business.”
– Tony Manning, The Critical Core, Penguin Books, 2017
- 20 years of experience in media, advertising and marketing, including Chairman and CEO of the McCann-Erickson advertising agency in South Africa and head of Marketing for Coca-Cola in Southern and Central Africa
- Independent strategy specialist since 1987
- Council Member of the Institute of Directors in Southern Africa from 1996-2003, and Chairman from 1999-2001. Fellow and Honorary Life Member since 2004
- 18 years of lecturing on senior executive programmes at various business schools
- Keynote speaker at major conferences
- Many guest appearances on radio and TV
- Editor of Trends Transforming South Africa
- Author of numerous articles in newspapers and magazines
- Author of 13 books on management: Communicating For Change, The New Age Strategist, Business Strategy In The New South Africa, World Class!, The Race To Learn, Radical Strategy, Making Sense of Strategy, Discovering The Essence of Leadership, Competing Through Value Management, Tony Manning’s Management Toolkit, Delivering The Dream, What’s Wrong With Management And How To Get It Right, and The Critical Core. (These books have been used in universities, business schools, and major corporations.)
+27 82 800 5862