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An Open Letter: Your Organization’s Strategy in Crisis

Significant changes in your environment require an immediate strategic review to refocus your competitive advantage.  Strategy is all about future differences, creating your future, the competitive difference you can bring, and how you identify and take advantage of the resulting new opportunities.  In this economic crisis, in this critical moment, how you chose to act and respond will have far reaching impacts for you and your organization.

Now is the time for reconsidered strategy - for your organization, your business units, and your alliances and partnerships – creating precise actions aligned with that strategy, with an eye ready to see the opportunities that are clearly beginning to emerge.

While the jury is out on how long this crisis will continue, one thing is sure:  The world simply will not look nor act the same afterwards.

The strategy you used just six months ago is no longer good enough - in fact it may be 180 degrees out of kilter.  Your company, your alliances and your corporate development portfolio need a repositioning and realignment for a different future than the one you envisioned just a few months ago:

“The trouble with our times is that the future is not what it used to be” - Paul Valéry

While there is still some uncertainty, we have seen enough in the past six months to have a better understanding of what the lasting impacts of this crisis will be, who will be affected the most, where significant changes will occur, what new opportunities will open, and to begin to map out the near future.

There are tremendous pressures to hunker down and try and ride out this economic "perfect storm" - retreat into our shell, make ill-considered cutbacks, continue what we’ve been doing, etc.  But history tells us that those who do so do so at their peril - Choosing not to act and hoping things return to “normal” is no longer an option – No one knows what the next “normal” will be!

What would a collaborative strategic process look like that will:

    • Facilitate your strategy review,
    • Reposition and realign your organization, partners, and teams, provide the means to
    • Understand the differences in new plausible futures, while
    • Allowing you to develop the strategies to set a clear competitive advantage?

It would have at least these traits:

  • Proven collaborative architecture and processes – unlocking the hidden knowledge, ideas, creativity, innovation within your organization and alliances, and ensuring the right people are involved
  • In depth preparation – that allows focus on what’s critical, not wasting time on side issues
  • Time compression – accomplishing three to six months of work in a 2, 3 or 4-day time span
  • Team alignment – building trust and cohesion within your teams, organization, and alliances ensuring execution and success with detailed action plans
  • Proven results – with alliances, public and private organizations, and government departments, ministries, and agencies

And it would look a lot like this:

  • Identifying the issues, trends, and key strategic drivers - that will have the greatest impact on the organization’s performance through
    • Interviews, key strategic questions, and group dialogue with senior managers, executives, business unit leaders and knowledgeable staff, and
    • Internal business research by the organization
    • Selected readings
  • Prioritizing the issues - understanding the
    • Implications for the organization, the industry, customers, suppliers, and partners, the
    • Challenges for your organization and business units, and asking
    • What do we know?
    • What do we need to know?
  • Building scenarios - plausible futures complete with narrative descriptions, noting for each
    • Opportunities and threats
    • Reactions by customers, competitors, suppliers, and partners
    • Key strategic drivers
    • Key indicators
    • Wildcards
  • Strategies for each scenario - considering the organization’s value network, with
    • Detailed strategy for the organization, specific business units, and alliances with
    • Implications for customers, competitors, suppliers, and partners
  • Review of current strategy - answering the questions
    • What still fits?
    • What can be changed without significant performance and cost impacts
    • What must be dropped?
    • What must be added?
    • What’s missing?
  • Action planning - developing precise actions aligned with the new strategy, designed
    • With the right key metrics for success,
    • How to monitor progress and fine tune the strategy as needed, with
    • Robust performance systems, and
    • With an eye ready to see additional opportunities as they emerge

While processes often look the same on paper, a strategy process designed to meet the objectives and process design noted above is based on over 25 years of work with a wide diversity of clients and applications.  The process has evolved over time with new learnings and insights.

It follows a series of specific building blocks, sequenced so the client creates and implements the optimum strategy and high-level action plan for your alliances, the organization, and competitive environment.

When this collaborative and facilitated process is followed, organizations aren’t just first movers – They are the first mover to get it right!See More

Richard Marrs & Robert Porter Lynch


Strategy for Innovation

Strategic Portfolio Management


  • If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there

          is the famous line from Lewis Carroll’s story of Alice in Wonderland.

Casey Stengel, the great manager of the New York Yankees said:

  • If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll end up someplace else.

And the Great Yogi, the Maharishi of Baseball, Yogi Berra, said:

  • If you don’t know where you’re going, you’re lost.

There is a lot of wisdom in these three humorous statements that every senior executive should be considering.

Three essential ingredients for a successful company are:

  • Strategy: to have the Right Strategy at the Right Time is essential.
  • Belief: people who are Powerfully Committed to the Purpose and Direction of the organization
  • Execution: A near-flawless level of teamwork to put the strategy into place

Our Strategy Workshops are designed to engage those who will have to execute the strategy in the design of the approach that will create powerful competitive advantages both short and long term

We have successfully used this approach to reposition companies and event entire governmental regions to mobilize human energy to achieve outstanding results.


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