Get the best from your team
Expert orchestration of strategy design and execution sessions streamlines and enriches the process, and empowers your people
Seize the opportunity within the Covid-19 crisis
Covid-19 triggered serious economic challenges, while also forcing firms to rapidly and radically rethink how they did things. Remote work became essential. Technology made it possible. And with teams suddenly dispersed and face-to-face contact disrupted, executives became increasingly anxious about strategy, leadership, and culture.
But there’s an opportunity here.
For these three functions are inextricably interlinked.
All require intensive, continuous communication in “normal” times, and even more so now.
Exactly the communication that occurs in Powerful Strategic Conversation.
Having successfully facilitated hundreds of strategy workshops and in-company meetings, I can help you make the most of the current realities—and develop the new capabilities you need to compete and win.
My facilitation skill will help you drive your corporate agenda, sustain productivity, and ensure that improvement and innovation are everybody’s business.
Whether in a single assignment or a long-term relationship, I’ll bring knowledge, experience, and judgment to your team that will make a difference that matters now and in the post-pandemic future.
Conversation will be even more critical in the future of organizations than it has been in the past. And companies that grasp this reality, and make the most of it, will have a huge advantage.
Powerful Strategic Conversation
A deliberately orchestrated, inclusive, continuous, and robust conversation that:
- Exploits a range of opinions, insights, and ideas
- Focuses attention on what matters
- Aligns resources, capabilities, and efforts
- Inspires the imagination and spirit of your people
- Enables deep personal and group learning
- Keeps strategy and culture in sync
- Drives fast and effective results
- Makes continuous change a way of life
1. Cut to the chase
To be effective, all strategy conversations must have a clear purpose and focus on a specific problem or challenge. This defines what must be discussed, and also determines the best process.
Preparation is essential. So in addition to briefing meetings, I study any documents or presentations that will give me a fuller understanding of your firm’s situation and challenges. I may also use customized questionnaires to get the insights, opinions, and ideas of everyone who’ll participate in the discussion—and of other people too. And if necessary, I interview anyone who might offer additional information—not just your own people, but also customers, suppliers, industry experts, and so on.
Based on these inputs—plus my own knowledge and experience—I typically develop a “strategy snapshot” that captures the essence of your current situation and future possibilities, and focuses discussion on what’s key to your success. It’s a revealing tool that both kick-starts your strategic conversation and keeps it on track.
2. Customized for you
I’ll work with you to decide on the best way to involve your team in your strategy. And unlike many consultants, who rely on a favourite framework, a packaged methodology, or tools that are past their sell-by date (think vision, mission, values, SWOT…), I won’t lock you into a packaged methodology that’s not right for you.
Strategy is a complex and often convoluted thinking process involving multiple factors, many actors, and massive uncertainties and risks. Every client’s needs are unique. So I customize my advice specifically for every new assignment.
3. Discipline and flexibility
Strategic conversations seldom progress in a straight line. Trying to force them to neatly fit your meeting agenda or an inappropriate template will never yield the best results. They’re crafted by human beings, through a social process. So they always involve facts and feelings, decisions and discovery, certainty and serendipity.
Discipline is essential in any strategy discussion. But flexibility matters just as much. Sensing when to let discussions run and when to rein them in and summarize what’s been said and what it means, is a critical skill. Things must be orchestrated in whatever way works in the moment. Strategy facilitation has to be adaptive. The outcomes are what count.
4. More than a slick meeting
Far from being a passive observer or merely a note-taker, I always play an active role from start to finish. So I balance clear direction and relevant advice with acute listening.
From countless encounters with tough characters, I’m ready to deal with the politics, posturing, and power-plays that are ever-present in organizations. I ensure that no-one dominates the conversation, and that personal agendas don’t get in the way of positive outcomes.
Along the way, I highlight the good stuff and weave it into your strategy story. I add valuable insights, ideas, and suggestions—about local and global trends, what competitors are up to, what customers want, how your strategy should change, and how to do it. And I constantly provoke teams to think about their business in new and more productive ways.
5. Skills transfer
The strategy process provides an ideal opportunity to not only solve tough business problems, but also to equip your team with useful knowledge and skills. So as I guide you through a uniquely simple and effective way to craft your strategic conversation, you gain real-life experience of an approach you’ll want to use in the future.
At the same time, based on my ongoing research, business school teaching, and authorship of multiple books and countless articles, I share with you the latest thinking in management—and specifically, in strategy.
I’ll equip your team with a new strategy toolkit, and involve them in using it. As they design and execute your new strategy they’ll gain invaluable practice in solving real-world problems—and thus develop the “Strategy Mindset” that will keep your firm ahead in the battle for sales and profits.
6. 30-day plans for action
New clients often tell me that their previous strategy sessions ended with no meaningful decisions, no clear action plans, no assigned responsibilities. They had a good time (some call it “teambuilding”), but went away with unfinished business. This is an appalling waste of time and money.
In contrast, I always push for clear decisions on every key issue. And I help you reduce intentions to bite-sized chunks—to 30-day actions with specific people responsible for each. This makes work do-able. It also puts pressure into the system for rapid results. And it gives you fast feedback on what’s working and what’s not, and how people are performing—and who is not. A simple idea with multiple results!
When I work on your strategy with you, I add insights, information, and ideas; provoke deep introspection; ensure that you test all your assumptions… and push for results that matter. Clients come back because they get what they need.
7. Keeping you on track
Developing strategy today is more difficult than ever. But the really hard work comes when you have to execute it. Some firms want me to come back once or twice to assist in review meetings, and ensure that the process is properly embedded. Others prefer a longer relationship. But that’s up to you.
I’ll help you create and execute your strategy in a way that’s simple, sound, and practical—exactly what you need to win in today’s challenging environment.
8. Think about this … seriously!
Strategy is a serious matter. Strategy can radically impact the future of your business. Yet many firms schedule strategy sessions and confirm agendas and inputs before they brief a facilitator who’ll make the process—and the cost—worthwhile. They treat strategy as an afterthought, so everyone else does too. And no-one takes it seriously.
Don’t make this mistake. Let’s talk before you start making other arrangements, so they all make sense.
Get more than a facilitator to get the most from your strategy
I’m a strategist with facilitation skill, rather than a facilitator taking a stab at strategy. My no-holds-barred approach to challenging, guiding, and inspiring top teams produces sound business results and not just warm feelings.
As a strategist, I bring multiple benefits to your strategy debates.
First, and most important is a “Strategy Mindset”—the combination of “Strategy Wisdom” and “Strategic IQ”—that enables me to offer sound and relevant advice, insights, and ideas.
Second, is a simple, sound, and practical approach based on Powerful Strategic Conversation, global best practice, common sense, and a deep understanding of how business works in the real world.
And third, there’s my outsider’s perspective and objectivity—thanks to the fact that I’m not burdened by your history or culture; my thinking is not skewed by your biases; and I don’t have to worry about challenging sacred cows, treading on toes, raising sensitive issues, or asking difficult questions.
Having worked with hundreds of management teams over more than 34 years, I’ve learned some valuable lessons in how to get the most from strategic conversations. This expertise makes a difference that matters.
Strategy is about making bets for a future you can’t see. It always requires choices and trade-offs. It can involve huge risks. So you have to be confident that your advisor can help you make sound decisions. And you have to be able to trust their advice.
+27 82 800 5862