Successful strategy is key to good business
Strong analytical skills bring results
Future growth is the outcome of strategy
Strategic outcomes cannot be predetermined, despite a company’s best intentions. Strategy, instead, is most effective when companies develop a portfolio of initiatives that are coherent and evolve.
Many different elements of strategic thinking are necessary to ensure success. We offer a comprehensive toolkit of approaches to help clients with specific needs around growth, globalization, competitive issues in the marketplace, and a number of other strategic and tactical concerns that may arise.
Please review the services we offer our clients.
Corporate value added. Making the corporate “whole” worth more than the sum of its parts is the biggest challenge facing many multi-business companies. We work with clients to define a role for the corporate center that goes beyond monitoring operations, allocating resources, and coordinating shared functions. We help the corporate center shape the company’s direction and boundaries and identify privileged capabilities and insights.
Intangible-based business building. Intangible assets include capabilities or resources such as intellectual property, brands, networks, and talent. Uncovering strategic options hidden among the intangible assets in companies’ core businesses can provide new growth avenues. We help companies review their portfolios to identify such growth potential.
Business Unit Strategy
Business unit strategy. A powerful business unit strategy focuses on creating shareholder value by producing products and services whose value exceeds the cost of providing them; capturing value from competitors, customers, and suppliers; competing successfully against others for market share; and cooperating selectively to enlarge the potential market. Central to these decisions are the challenges of selecting how and when to compete.
Strategy under uncertainty. We work with clients to formulate strategies that take advantage of the opportunities presented in highly uncertain business environments – while also managing the risks. We give clients tools, frameworks, and planning and decision-making processes that help them make solid strategic choices, even in turbulent markets.
A growth strategy is a critical part of any growth program – it sets the goals and priorities for all other initiatives in the program. But developing strategy for growth is not the same as setting strategy in a low-growth environment. It presents a unique set of challenges that managers have to tackle in what is often unfamiliar territory. To conquer these challenges and make the new territory their own, they need new skills and a new way of thinking.
What drives a great growth strategy? We have found that the most attractive, defensible, and compelling growth strategies are built on the intersections of the company’s market opportunities, capabilities, and management passions:
- Market opportunities arise from three key sources: discontinuities (such as regulatory change and technological breakthroughs), major trends (including demographic shifts and changes in consumer tastes), or latent demand for products not currently offered. This latent demand could be for entirely new products or new bundles of attributes based on an existing product – for example, customers may be forced to make unsatisfactory tradeoffs as the products currently offered do not match their desired mix of product/service characteristics.
- Capabilities include the company’s existing capabilities, as well as those it could reasonably build. This includes business-specific competencies such as product innovation, operations, or information management; privileged assets, such as brand equity, distribution networks, sales forces, low-cost plants or proprietary technology; special relationships, such as those which might help create access to an opportunity or those where a partner brings a complementary capability; and growth-enabling competencies, such as acquisition and merger skills, risk management, or capital productivity. To be a source of advantage, the capability or bundle of capabilities must be distinctive, leveragable, and sustainable.
- Management passion is often forgotten but extremely important. Growth paths are uncertain by definition; almost all growth staircases experience bumps and disappointment along the way. Growth strategies supported and driven by inspired leaders who are passionately committed to the growth aspiration are far more likely to succeed than those managed as logical extensions. This means in addition to meeting analytical criteria, a growth strategy should be built on the passions of management and with an understanding of their beliefs and prejudices. Without this emotional commitment to critical business ideas, growth strategies are less likely to succeed.
Strategic Planning Processes
Creative strategy development. We have developed several approaches to help clients generate innovative ideas. The “killer idea” approach poses provocative questions that were “reverse-engineered” from recent breakthrough business ideas. Our computer-based Creative Strategy Development game offers 15 strategic exercises that challenge users to look at their businesses in new ways and generate new ideas.
Business unit/Corporate planning processes. We studied 26 best-practice companies to identify attributes of successful planning processes. We discovered that they generally provoke questions and facilitate conversations rather than creating documents, rely on facts to make key decisions, and involve those expected to implement the strategy in the planning process. We use these insights to help clients reinvent their strategic planning processes.
Competitive Dynamics and Game Theory
Most strategy decisions are interdependent – the best strategies for our clients often depend vitally on the strategy choices made by their competitors, customers, suppliers, and complementary goods and service providers. Executives recognize these interdependencies but don’t always know how to systematically describe, predict, and/or shape the strategy choices of other players in order to ensure their own strategies succeed. Game theory provides a systematic process and set of analytical tools to model and leverage such competitive strategy interdependencies.
Getting things done. Today, having a strong legislative agenda with clear goals is essential to corporate strategy. Having a legislative consultant capable of maneuvering through the workings of government is critical. Lobbyists help get legislation passed, but legislative consultants guide you through the strategic steps to craft the right type of legislation to suit your company’s needs. Interacting within the framework of the political structure, whether on Capitol Hill or at the state capitol, a strong legislative consultant will be capable of introducing your concept to staff and key legislators and achieve positive results for your needs.