We believe that harnessing an organisation’s creative and intellectual capital is the key to developing effective strategy
Helping you develop your strategy
Strategy consultants essentially fall into three different categories: the first category consists of the ‘we know the problem and we have the solution’ consultants; the second consists of the ‘tell us your problem so we can solve it’ consultants; and the third category consists of the ‘let us help you identify your problem and help you develop the solution’ consultants. It’s worth looking at the approaches those in each category take to developing strategy to understand why we believe being in the third category is so important.
Those in the ‘we know the problem and we have the solution’ category profess to understand your business better than you do and think they know exactly what you need to do to achieve your vision, which they might have helped you develop by spending several weeks (and quite a lot of money) analysing your organisation so they understand what is within the art of the possible, at least as far as they are concerned. This type of consultancy is expensive because you are buying their solution to their view of your problems. Despite this, they rarely add a great deal of value because you end up with a strategy that neither you nor your team have really contributed to and that was therefore based on an incomplete understanding of your organisation, particularly its culture, and the challenges it faces. It’s also quite possible that your strategy will look very similar to the strategies that these consultancies have developed for other clients in your sector.
Those in the ‘tell us your problem so we can solve it’ category usually spend some time with the CEO or MD to understand what the organisation wants to achieve (its vision) and then they go away and develop what they think is the most appropriate way of achieving it. Their approach may be underpinned by a fair amount of background research and they may have a reasonable understanding of the sector your organisation operates in. However, the strategy they propose will not have been developed by you and your team. Again, this means that the people who really understand your organisation and who will have to implement the strategy won’t really have contributed to its development. As a result, they are unlikely to be enthusiastic stakeholders in its success.
We sit in the ‘let us help you identify your problem and help you develop the solution’ category because we firmly believe that harnessing an organisation’s intellectual and creative capital is the most effective way of developing effective strategy. That’s why we place an absolute premium on involving as many of your people as we can in its development, not just the CEO or MD and a few selected members of the management board. We introduce you to a proven strategy making methodology and then use this as a handrail to guide you and your team through a series of fully facilitated and highly inclusive workshops. The workshops start by exploring whether you need a strategy and, if you do, what you want it to achieve and end with a completed strategy that you can implement and then adapt as the situation changes (which it inevitably will). Not only does this approach work in terms of identifying really innovative ideas to crack whatever problems your organisation is facing, it also ensures that those who implement the strategy are stakeholders in its eventual success.
A proven methodology
Based on fourteen critical thinking questions dispersed over five thematic stages, the proven methodology that we apply to developing strategy (which is described in The Quick Guide to Effective Strategy) is entirely scalable. This means it works when you only have a few hours to decide how you’re going to react to a rapidly unfolding situation and when you have the luxury of more time to develop your strategy.
The approach does NOT provide a template for you to fill in, because these never work when developing strategy, but offers a way of thinking about the design of your strategy and the analysis that underpins it. Our facilitators, who have all been CEOs, MDs and management board members and have therefore developed strategy ‘for real’, are highly experienced at applying the strategy making methodology described in the book and at unlocking our clients’ intellectual and creative capital to develop winning strategies that deliver outstanding results. You can find out more about the book at this link.
Of note, the methodology we apply to help clients develop strategy is unique to us. It is protected by copyright, which means that other consultancies are not permitted to use it with their clients.
To find out more about how we can help you develop the strategy you need, please get in touch using the button below.