Excel in the critical few 

In the race to the future, less is more. So I’ll help you travel light to move fast.

If you bounce from one tool to another in a frantic chase for the next “silver bullet”, you’ll just clutter your organization with whatever is in fashion, and create confusion and complexity.

Every executive needs a carefully thought-through strategy toolkit. Every company should have a clear point of view about what tools are best for it and how to use them—and a disciplined way of doing it

But this is too often not the way things are. These critical matters are too often left to a whim or to chance. Managers too often misdiagnose what’s hampering their performance, and grab at whatever new idea comes their way. Before they know it, “the tyranny of tools” becomes sand in the gears of performance.

This is ridiculous. So I’ll help you master Powerful Strategic Conversation as your No. 1 tool, and then decide what others you may need for specific challenges. And I’ll work with you to make them a way of life in your firm.

Hype doesn’t win business battles

All tools are not all equally useful. Those you select should be essential to making your Powerful Strategic Conversation increasingly powerful. Anything that doesn’t add to this “flywheel effect” should be struck off your list.

If you’re not clear about what you really need, and why, chances are you’ll keep falling for some shiny notion—a theory, a model, a process—that won’t help you the way you expect. You’ll squander time, effort, and money on the latest fads, and wonder why they didn’t do what was promised. You’ll keep changing your language and your focus. And as you zig and zag, you’ll confuse yourself, paralyze your organization—and kill your own credibility and your chances of winning.

The good news is that we do know what’s necessary, and what works. I’ll guide you through the maze—and introduce you to the one tool that’s key to success, and to a way of working that will enable you to get the results you seek.

Master the Critical Core

A lot of “thought leadership” in business is in fact thought followership. There’s plenty of noise, but little that’s actually new or necessary.

When you boil down a century or so of management thought and practice, the worthwhile stuff fills a thimble. It applies across countries, companies, and industries. So it’s vital to know what really matters, to focus on the few ideas that will make the biggest difference … and to excel in using them.

I understand what tools are available. I also know what’s necessary in various circumstances—and what works. My strategy approach is simple, sound and practical. So I cut straight to the chase, home in on your challenges, and help you get to solutions with the few interventions that make sense. And I never bog you down with popular but maybe useless concepts, frivolous activities, or consultant-speak.

Over the years, I’ve developed many unique and useful models, frameworks, and questionnaires. They’re all based on extensive research and best practice, and have been used by many companies. But I’ll never suggest anything that you don’t need.

I’ve also developed ways of thinking about management that will help you and your team craft and conduct your Powerful Strategic Conversation to get the results you want. These will enable your team to become more effective from Day 1. As always, my emphasis is on keeping things simple, sound, and practical. 


My study of management “thought leadership” over the past 100 years highlights eight Critical Strategy Practices that have stood the test of time, and that apply to all companies everywhere. These are not just nice-to-do. They’re what you must do to compete and win. So I call them The Critical Core. 

Success stories

We have all benefited enormously from your incisive and innovative thinking

– Executive Chairman

Tony Manning has the ability to assist managers of companies ask and answer tough questions about their business; to confront issues facing them; and in a frank and realistic way, to develop a positive forward-looking attitude towards achieving growth

– Chairman

You make refreshing sense of complexity. Your valuable, practical advice is making a real impact in our business

– Chief Executive

Let’s talk

Call me

+27 82 800 5862