Designing and executing strategy is Job #1 for leaders. Today, it’s more important than ever that you do it well. But there’s a high cost to dabbling with every new approach you come across. So you need one that works—and that’ll work for you.

I’ll introduce you to a way of thinking about strategy that’s right for these times. My approach is based on strategic conversation—but with important differences. It brings together the best ideas about how to compete, how to deal with uncertainty, how to align and energize your people, and how to improve your performance.

Whether in a once-off workshop or a long-term consulting partnership, I’ll help you and your colleagues transform how you think about strategy—and make the future a matter of choice, not chance.

My way is simple, sound and practical. It will get you to a strategy that’s simple, sound and practical too.

Tony Manning has helped our executives to regain confidence and true management control of their businesses in volatile and changing circumstances. I can thoroughly recommend him to assist any business with its strategic overhaul or repositioning exerciseChairman


“Sustainable competitive advantage” was once the core notion in strategy—and the aim of every strategist. But in today’s knowledge-rich environment, most advantages have a short shelf-life. Customers clamour for “New!” “Better!” “Cheaper!” And competition for their attention and cash is increasingly hostile.

The result is, firms fail faster than ever. And even valuable factors such as costly infrastructure, cutting-edge technology, a fine track record, exceptional people, or strong brands are no guarantee of either survival or victory.

In this new world, companies are in a race to the future (This was the theme of my 1991 book The Race To Learn, and has featured strongly in all my books since then.)

Getting out front obviously requires a well thought-out strategy. But the only way to stay ahead and win is through a stream of new advantages—by rapidly and continuously adapting to change through a combination of improvement and innovation. So your ability to execute faster and better than competitors is what ultimately makes the difference between success and failure.

Global surveys show that most firms struggle to turn their plans into action. They bust a gut to create winning strategies, but then the wheels spin and their results are continually disappointing.


Strategy is a point of view about where and how you’ll compete. Ideally, it 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 organization down.

Strategy is product of conversation. It’s an outcome of what gets talked about in an organization. So crafting and conducting an effective strategic conversation is the key to competitiveness.

Crafting 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. 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 this makes no sense. And it’s a key reason so many firms complain that strategy doesn’t give them the results they expect.

In my approach, crafting and conducting are tightly entwined, and continuous—not sequential. There’s no gap between design and execution. As you and your team develop your strategy, you ready yourselves to immediately start turning it into action. And as you execute, you keep integrating what you learn back into your strategy. This means that you gain traction and see results fast. And you adapt in real time—not weeks or months after things have changed, when you’ve lost ground.

Another difference in my approach is that it focuses on four imperatives, and makes them a way of life in your firm:

  1. Developing and continually enhancing a STRATEGY MINDSET across your team.
  2. A FOCUS ON THE BASICS—of strategy, your industry and your company.
  3. A relentless drive to fight complexity through “SMART SIMPLICITY.”
  4. FANATICAL LEARNING to accelerate action, innovation, and improvement, and gain new knowledge for competitive advantage.

Use my unique strategic conversation framework to get the results you want, and to build the strengths you need for the future


My unique approach to strategic conversation is the result of years of thought and experience. I started writing about the topic and using it with clients long before the term became popular—and I continually revise my ideas about it.

Most other management thinkers see it only as a way of designing strategy. Some see it as an aspect of developing future scenarios.

But I go way beyond that.

I’ll show you how to apply it holistically to strategy, leadership and change management. And how to make it a powerful discipline in your organization, rather than mere chatter.

Strategic conversation is the golden thread that seamlessly links strategy, leadership, and change management—and thus integrates the design and execution of your strategy into a single continuous process. 


My no-nonsense approach will help you:

  • 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 make the most critical difference
  • Craft and conduct an effective strategic conversation
  • Strengthen your competitive advantage through deep learning and continuous innovation
  • Get the results you want much faster than you thought you could
  • Develop the strategy mindset of your team, so you can do your own strategizing in future.

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 craft and conduct the strategic conversation that will get you new resultsand do it faster and more easily than you imagine.

Tony Manning book cover 2015 IMG_0602

Contact me today to start a new strategic conversation

Phone +27 82 800 5862

[email protected]