Approach

 

Solutions customised to your business needs. 

When clients ask me to explain the way I work, my answer is, “It depends.”

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is IMG_8082-1-1024x769.jpegFirms across the board do face many similar challenges, but there are differences too. So unlike many consultants who sell a one-size-fits-all solution to every problem, I begin by ensuring that I understand what’s unique about your situation—and exactly why you think you need assistance—and I then “zero-base” and customise my recommendations. This avoids unnecessary or inappropriate interventions, saves you time and money, and ensures that you get the simplest, soundest, most practical way to:

  1. Design a strategy that effectively addresses your particular business problems and opportunities, and gives you the best chance of reaching your goals.
  2. Execute that strategy fast and well, so you outperform your competition.
  3. Tackle both tasks as one joined-up process that enables you to flex and adapt as you race into the future. My carefully tailored interventions simplify and focus both your strategy process and your strategy.

They always take into account your special circumstances, your resources and capabilities, and your goals.

And critically, they also ensure that all your stakeholders know what your strategy is, what it means to them, and what they need to do about it.

IT’S ALL ABOUT COMMUNICATION

Communication makes organizations work. It’s what enables you and your colleagues to design strategy and execute it. Yet too often, it’s a taken-for-granted issue in strategy discussions. It “just happens.” And it’s assumed to always be effective.

Strategy is a statement of intent—a point of view about where and how you’ll compete. But it’s more than a way to frame your initial choices. It’s also a continuous and ongoing process of adjusting to new realities in and around your organisation. So the purpose of strategy is to point a firm in a desirable direction, inform its activities, and mobilise and energise its people.

Strategy is created and implemented through conversations between you and your colleagues, and with other stakeholders. It depends on communication. It enables communication. And it is only as effective as the communication that goes into it and results from it.

That said, poor communication is a crippling and costly problem for almost every organization. Whether you realize it or not, it’s probably hurting your company more than you know. And the facts show that much trouble starts right at the top—with strategy.

Researchers at MIT recently found that just 28% of executives responsible for strategy in 124 companies could name their firms’ three top priorities. And the situation worsens at lower levels. So numerous other sources confirm that vast swathes of people work in an “information vacuum”—unsure of 1) what to do, 2) why to do it, 3) how to do it, 4) how well to do it, or 5) how well they’re doing.

My unique approach to Powerful Strategic Conversation was born from my early career in advertising and marketing, when I learned how to simplify complex messages. And it was refined in years of thought and experience as a consultant and author.

When we work together, I’ll show you how to simplify and clarify your “strategy story” so you can 1) remember it, 2) spell it out accurately, and 3) use it to inspire and energise your team–and other stakeholders. I typically reduce complex strategies to just a few PowerPoint slides. And I warn clients that every word they add is another “brick in the wall” blocking communication. The value in this advice is incalculable.

CONNECT PLANS AND ACTION

When you get right down to it, all strategy concepts and tools—scenarios, SWOT analyses, five-forces, core competences, blue oceans, disruption, and so on—facilitate particular conversations. So strategy itself is an outcome of conversation. Specifically, of 1) what gets talked about in an organization, 2) who is involved, and 3) the “quality” of that conversation

There are two aspects to strategy:

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Tony-Manning_Powerful-Strategic-Conversation-master.pngCrafting strategy is about design—about framing how you see the world, deciding where and how to compete, defining goals and actions, allocating resources.

Conducting is the ongoing process of adapting to new realities as you move forward. Of sensing what’s changing in and around your firm so you can reframe your choices and priorities. Of learning by doing. Applying new knowledge. Adjusting goals and actions. And shifting resources.

Conventional strategy approaches address these activities separately. First you develop a plan, then you try to execute it. But in a world of nonstop surprises, this can be a fatal error.

For one thing, as circumstances change, even the most carefully thought-through strategies erode—and become obsolete. Constant improvement may delay this for a while, but on its own can’t keep a business alive and competitive forever. There’s no future in becoming better and better at things customers don’t care about. So innovation and adaptation are vital in order to survive and thrive.

Second, strategy itself almost always involves change, and always requires buy-in from the people who are expected to execute it. And the best time to get support for change is as early as possible—by involving people in the decisions they will turn into action.

IMPERATIVES FOR IMPACT

Ideally, your strategy should spell out the fewest possible choices and actions that will lead to success. The less you include in it, the better. Too much, and you’ll confuse your people and bog your organisation down.

There are countless tools to help you with these choices. What’s missing, though, is simple, sound, and practical guidance on the overall strategy process. So firms are stuck with methodologies that date from decades ago, instead of one that’s relevant for these fast-changing, turbulent times.

My way is based firmly on the need to make smart business bets. But it also enables and inspires your people to get the right things done. And helps them learn and grow so they become more capable and confident. So it highlights four imperatives, with the aim of making them everyone’s concern and a way of life in your firm:

  1. INCLUDE as many people as possible, as early as possible, and encourage a DIVERSITY of views. 
  2. Excel in the BASICS—of strategy, your industry and your company—and strive for BREAKTHROUGHS that will bring new growth and profits.
  3. Relentlessly fight complexity through FANATICAL SIMPLICITY.
  4. Fight BUZZWORDS and BULLSHIT, demand facts, robustly test logic, and apply common sense to ensure that your strategy is based in reality, and that you get sound answers while countering risks.

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No one else brings this level of clarity and rigour to strategic conversation. So no one else has made it such a useful and powerful management tool.  

BRING COMMON SENSE TO STRATEGY

My no-nonsense process will help you:

  • Use Powerful Strategic Conversation to craft and conduct a winning strategy
  • Think about the changes affecting the future of your business
  • Challenge your strategic logic and your sacred cows
  • Explore options for new growth
  • Unclutter your agenda and identify the high-impact issues that will give you the most bang for your buck
  • Build and sustain your your competitive advantage through both mastery of “the basics” and the continuous pursuit of breakthroughs
  • Develop the strategy mindset of your team, to enable them to think and act strategically and ensure the agility and resilience of your business
  • Get the results you want much faster than you thought you could

You won’t get a drawn-out process, a lot of buzzwords and fads, theories you can’t use, or promises of yet another “silver bullet” to solve all your problems. What you will get is:

  • Straight talk
  • Experience and common sense
  • A simple, sound, and practical way of thinking about strategy
  • Valuable insights, ideas, and advice
  • Clarity about your future focus and priorities
  • A compelling “strategy story” that wins stakeholder support
  • 30-day action plans and certainty about who will do what
  • A disciplined process for tracking performance

I’ll help you design and execute a winning strategy through Powerful Strategic Conversation—and do it faster and more easily than you imagine.

Contact me today to start using

Powerful Strategic conversation

Phone +27 82 800 5862

[email protected]