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Business strategy

Business strategy

In our fast-paced world of innovation and disruption, agility and adaptability are keywords that are a part of strategy building. In this article, Mark Hess shares insight on refreshing a strategy. Are You (and your team) Prepared for What Comes Next? The pandemic has brought changes to virtually every business and industry. Some of the changes have been small, but many are significant. Some are positive changes, some are negative. These changes happened in a relatively short period of time….
Umbrex is pleased to welcome Eliza Li with Eliza Li Consulting. Eliza is a young and vibrant independent strategy consulting, who previously worked at the BCG Melbourne office for 1yr+. Since becoming an independent consultant, Eliza has predominantly worked on projects in financial crime and the digital future of mining in Australia. During her BCG career, she worked across several practice areas namely: federal and state government reviews, mapping consumer retail footprints and expansion strategies and deploying great data and…
Duane Capuano shares a white paper that identifies the challenges of moving from business strategy to action and what to do about it. Countless association executive teams dedicate significant time and resources to strategic planning. But too often, great ideas and plans stay trapped in the notebook and are quickly moved to the back burner – reduced in priority by more pressing day-to-day management and operational demands. The need for implementation of forward-looking strategic plans is real and more pressing…
Geoff Wilson shares an evergreen post that explains the issue of an uninspiring strategy. What’s the purpose of your strategic plan? The possibilities are endless.  Some might say that the sole purpose is to “enhance shareholder value.”  I’d argue that this old trope is no longer the gold standard.  Some adhere to the stakeholder model…which might be closer.  Regardless of the “concept,” a given business strategy has to appeal to a lot of people. Strategy, inasmuch as it deals with…
Belden Menkus shares a practical post that summarizes how to rebuild your business strategy process for a post-pandemic world. Covid-19 has caused broad acceleration of existing trends. So, what does this mean for strategy – particularly how organisations develop and implement them?   This is the second of three articles in which I explore the impact of Covid on strategy. The first is at: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/when-picture-blurred-change-frame-belden-menkus In several months we have seen change across multiple areas that we might have expected to…
Umbrex is pleased to welcome Haruki Taniguchi with Keikiya.  Haruki Taniguchi is a Japanese independent consultant since 2014. He previously worked for BCG and other firms. His main areas of expertise are business strategy, market research, and due diligence in Japan. He has experience in various industries, especially in the pharmaceutical industry, B2B manufacturing, and private equity. He holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Tokyo and a bachelor’s degree in accounting and finance from University of London…
Geoff Wilson shares an article that identifies the key components of success when planning and executing business strategies. Relying on unidentified heroics is great for movies, but bad for business strategy. This article contains a spoiler for the 1977 movie “Star Wars: Episode IV: A New Hope”. If you’ve never seen it, you’ve missed an important and largely wholesome artifact of modern popular culture, so please don’t read on until you watch it. Picture it. It’s a long time ago,…
In this article, Mark Hess outlines the principles of strategy, including what makes a strategy a good strategy. In broad strokes, strategy is decision making—but not in the way one might think. The most important part of your strategy is deciding what you’re not going to do. What is Strategy? Strategy, simply stated, is how you get from Point A (where you are now) to Point B (where you want to be). You want your organization to grow from $100M…
In this article, Luiz Zorzella explains how understanding the net interest margins will better inform your business strategy.   If you are a bank executive and want to manage the bank’s business strategically, you must understand the key drivers of your bank’s profitability and the trade-offs they imply. For example, to some extent, banks can trade the cost of deposits for efficiency ratio by making it more convenient for clients to make deposits. At the same time, the equilibrium of these…
In this article, Andrew Hone identifies the six common strategy delivery challenges that hinder a successful deployment. Translating a strategy into action is a major challenge Translating a strategy into action is a significant challenge. All too often, the benefits that were promised are delivered late, or fail to materialise at all. Management teams get distracted by the day-to-day challenges of running the business. Cross-functional initiatives fall between operating silos, budgets get reallocated and the initial momentum is lost. If…
Karen Barth shares an article on the problem of cognitive bias and what to do when you don’t trust your brain.  Many business strategists rely heavily on intuitive thinking. But what if you can’t trust your intuition as much as you think you can? Human brains are amazing. We can send people to the moon and back, cure disease and make almost anything out of cauliflower. The brain makes (often) accurate, intuitive judgements in split seconds. As Malcolm Gladwell wrote…
Umbrex is pleased to welcome Jamie Warlick with FedComply. Jamie is a former BCG management consultant now working part-time in Lower Middle Market acquisitions. Prior to BCG, Jamie served as an Infantry Officer in the Marine Corps and worked as an investment banker at Barclays Capital. He holds an MBA from Wharton Business School and a BA from Yale University. His work experience has included business strategy, project management, operations, procurement, organizational transformation, due diligence, and financial modeling. Jamie lives in…
Marja Fox shares key tips on building strategy. In a previous post, I laid out the signs that your small- or medium-sized business might be ready for a new strategy. Those signs include evidence that your current strategy may not function well to define your choices and align your organization but also outward triggers that suggest the time is ripe for investing in long-term thinking. After all, the tangible benefits of a great strategy are real: from aligning your team…
As the year’s end approaches, Ximena Jimenez shares a timely post on how to transform the year-end budgeting process into an additional opportunity. Year end is, undoubtedly, the moment which most of us choose to reflect on the past and think about the future. I do not know why, but it seems we need a milestone, a ritual, to stop, observe, analyse and reflect on what we did and what we left undone in the year that we are leaving…
Jessica Lackey explains how to use the fear of missing out as part of a strategy for your business. The call to take on everything at once, to maximize our time, to avoid the opportunity cost of time, is deeply ingrained in our society. Our bucket lists are long. Our intentions are big. And we see on the internet or social media constantly what everyone else is doing. Why can’t that be us? And we are not just tempted to…
Ramon Saravia shares an always useful post on how to improve the bottom line by reducing purchasing costs.  In many companies, the purchasing area is only seen as a transactional function, attached to the routine . In these companies, purchasing is just another function to acquire what is necessary for the company’s operations. Typically, one, two, or three quotes are requested for each order for products or services, and the area chooses the supplier with the lowest price. This brings…
Using previous, global disruptive events as examples, Emmanuel Verrier-Chouquette shares an article that provides sound advice for building strategies that are designed to withstand disruption.  Like many others have pointed out since, the Brexit referendum, the rise of Donald Trump and the Brangelina break-up (!) left many voters, observers and institutional leaders shocked, dazed and confused in 2016. While many have doubts about how much legs the stock rally has and the jury is still out on longer term impacts,…
Gather Insights – Reap Strategic Growth In this article, Caroline Taich shares key steps that can be taken towards gathering insights for strategic growth. I have been out talking with organizations about strategic growth. It’s a topic I’ve been attracted to throughout my career. When I think about growth there are three principles that I regularly come back to: Get out of the building. Prioritize your energy. Be clear on your definition of success. I’ll talk about the first today….
Gaelle Lamotte shares a downloadable PDF on aligning purpose and strategy. Business performance, purpose and impact cannot be enemies. We know that aligning purpose with strategy delivers better performance and positive impact for all stakeholders: people, planet and profit. It is incumbent for organisations to embed sustainability, concepts of circularity, diversity and inclusion within their business models to drive positive social and environmental impact together with shareholder value.   Key points include: Identifying the agenda for change Changing the narrative…
  Andrew Hone shares a post that highlights the reasons strategies fail and what to do to implement them successfully.  Developing the strategy is the easy part You’ve just put the finishing touches to your business strategy. You’ve spoken to customers, researched the key market segments, and projected the financials. The Board and shareholders are aligned and agree on the priorities to take the business forward. That was the easy part! Translating a strategy into action is a significant challenge….
  Mark Hess shares an article from his company’s blog on the principles of strategy. In broad strokes, strategy is decision making—but not in the way one might think. The most important part of your strategy is deciding what you’re not going to do. What is Strategy? Strategy, simply stated, is how you get from Point A (where you are now) to Point B (where you want to be). You want your organization to grow from $100M to $500M. That…
  In today’s accelerated pace of business, there are benefits to going slow on strategy execution. In this post, Sean McCoy explains why. Leaders of all types of organizations – businesses, non-profits, government departments – often want their organizations to move faster. Once leaders develop clear vision and strategy, they want the organization to move as fast as possible in executing the strategy. We have worked with numerous organizations across various industries on their “speed of execution”, and some patterns…
  Stephen Wunker provides a concise post that identifies four steps that can help build strategies to expand into new markets. Market expansion is a goal many executives share, and rightly so. Expanding into new markets is not only a revenue driver but also a way to escape familiar competitive dynamics. It has powered giant success stories, such as Netflix’s entry into video streaming and then content production. Moreover, you don’t need to be a Silicon Valley wunderkind company to…
  Xavier Lederer shares a purposeful post that offers practical steps that can be taken to maximize the efficacy of meetings when the goal is executing the priorities of a strategy. Many of us hate meetings. Many regular meetings are boring and ineffective indeed. They don’t have the right agenda (or no agenda at all), are not well facilitated, and don’t accomplish much. Yet the right meetings lead to faster and better decision-making, increase accountability throughout the organization, and improve…
  As civilizations and organizations grow larger, so does bureaucracy, often indicating a slow demise in communication and operations. Kaihan Krippendorff takes a look at a business trend and new organizational model that may indicate a more agile future. As we reenter the post-Covid workplace, many companies are facing a period of reorganization and restructuring. Our research has forecasted and proven that organizations of the future will need to adopt agile approaches and embrace open, networked structures instead of outdated,…
  David Edelman explains how having an AI strategy can provide a wide range of new variables that can be personalized to the customer journey, helping to speed and scale and make the concept of agile a reality. Champion versus challenger has been the basis for finding lift and proving marketing value for decades. But we are way past the slower, high-cost operations needed to test direct mail pieces or even direct response TV.  To find the right offer, message,…
  While many struggle with switching the focus between work and home, Barry Horwitz has published a post that is the result of a family gathering inspiring how to avoid strategic planning mistakes.  Many years ago, my mother initiated what has since become an annual family tradition. When my father was about to reach his 70th birthday (he’s closing in on 90 now!), she decided we should gather siblings and families, and all spend a weekend together to celebrate. But…
Umbrex is pleased to welcome H. Nevin Yuksel-Ekici. Nevin has 20+ years of strategy and transformation experience. This includes 11 years at a global enterprise software, hardware and hybrid cloud firm (Dell/ EMC), and 6+ years at Bain & Company. In her last role, she led cross-BU/cross-functional strategy projects, and co-led strategic planning for Dell Technologies. This involved working with the Dell Technologies executive leadership team and cross-functional leaders to identify and prioritize strategic initiatives, as well as clarifying and…
  In a series of three articles, Belden Menkus explores the impact of Covid on strategy. This first post explores how to lead your organization forward during times of uncertainty.   “The future is coming at us faster than ever, and its hallmarks are constant disruption and change. Covid has underscored that. Fighting this uncertainty is futile. So how do you lead your organization forward when it’s increasingly hard to know where ‘forward’ actually is?  This is the first of…
  Barry Horwitz explains why he believes industry experience is overrated and provides examples from Ford, Staples, and health organizations to back up the claim.    “In September of 2006, Boeing executive Alan Mullaly was named the new CEO of Ford Motor Company. Not only did he have zero experience in the auto industry, he drove a Lexus (shocking!). The hiring decision was widely panned by industry experts and “regular people” alike. But Mullaly wasn’t fazed. When asked how he…
  Sean McCoy identifies key steps a business may take to alter the operation model and improve  productivity. We are in the initial stages of a productivity mega-trend. Forced by wage growth and enabled by technology, leading companies are already redesigning their operating models to make their people more productive. The forces creating the productivity mega-trend Wages are rising and look set to continue rising. Labor’s share of GDP is at a 90-year low, and we are seeing a reversion…
  After the disruption of 2020, your business strategies may need to change to accommodate the cultural shifts.  Kaihan Krippendorff shares business trends that should be taken into account.  This year, as we recover from a massive shock to all forms of structure and life as we once knew it, we have a chance to create the future. We will dust ourselves off, begin to rebuild, and attempt to return to a sense of normalcy. However, we ask that you,…
  From his company website, Andrew Hone offers a guide on how to conduct a rapid strategic review and identify new value-creating opportunities for your business.  A strategic review is a structured process to identify new value-creating opportunities within a business. This could be about improving the performance of an existing division, or taking advantage of a new market adjacency opportunity. Many companies undertake strategic reviews on an annual basis as part of their strategic planning process. Other businesses will…
  Barry Horwitz explains why developing strategy is even more important when instability and uncertainty are the norm.  ‘There has never been a time in which managers did not invoke the idea that the world is changing faster than it’s ever changed before.’ Nitin Nohria, just-retired Dean of Harvard Business School Pandemic, rampant unemployment, economic uncertainty, climate change, political upheaval. And that’s just what you’ll find above the fold in today’s newspaper. Given all the turmoil and confusion across the…
  Balaji Padmanabhan shares an article that explains why executives must rethink the goal of cost reduction in supply chain operations to maintain a competitive advantage. With repeated disruptions impacting business in recent years—from the financial crisis to severe weather to Covid-19—ensuring continuity of supply has become a top priority for CEOs and Boards. A survey of S&P 500 annual reports[1] shows Supply Chain capability is a growing concern, with new initiatives underway to boost resilience, efficiency and flexibility. Excellence…
  Nils Boeffel provides key steps you can take to ensure your digital strategy will be successful.  Everyone is talking about digitalization, but many people and organizations get it wrong. To them it means throwing technology at things, hoping that they will get better. What is it really, what does it mean, and how do you think about it and implement it? Last year I led a digitalization workshop at a company where they were looking to increase their digitization…
  Aneta Key shares a helpful video and a few doodles that gives insight into the story of strategy development projects. Enjoy! After a final client workshop, I was inspired to hand draw a couple of characters, outline a comics-like dialogue, digitize my doodles, animate sequence and put to music for a fun retrospective prompt.  This ~2 min video served as a great opener for the project retrospective and a fun project capstone.    If you’ve ever been involved in a…
  In this article, Kaihan Krippendorff identifies one major, but hidden, competitor you may not have recognised and explains how this may help you build a more competitive strategy. If you’ve spent time developing your organization’s strategy, chances are you’re familiar with your competition. You know your competitors’ offerings, their strengths and weaknesses, and how you can deliver where they don’t. But when it comes to preparing for the future, there is one alternative competitor, less obvious but omnipresent, that…
  David Burnie shares a post that explains why now is the time to refresh your growth strategy. The COVID-19 crisis has impacted businesses worldwide. Globally, governments have put economies on pause, and businesses have shuttered their doors to try and limit the virus’ spread. Factories have idled, and customers have sheltered in place as the world weathers the storm. Whether or not this strict response was necessary, or an overreaction, is a side debate – it happened. As we…
  Eric Hiller shares how his experience as a new father reminds him of how one has to adjust and adapt using knowledge learned from lean manufacturing and agile product development. Coronavirus has changed a lot of things in America—especially in urban areas, where there are heightened precautions. It is even more chaotic when you have your first newborn baby, like my wife and me. Babies are very different from manufacturing floors; however, there are certain processes that must be…
  Morten Stilling shares an insightful white paper that explains what the SPOT model is and why it can help you through the initial digital discovery process.  The SPOT Model is a simple but powerful methodology for digitalizing your business with a clear outset in your business strategy. It brings out experienced pains and identified opportunities, and observes common themes found across these. Strategic objectives guiding your business Pains experienced by your organization Opportunities identified by your team Themes observed…
  Access this resource from Gaelle Lamotte’s company on how to improve your ability to execute strategies by integrating development and planning, driving focus and alignment. How often do you win with your strategy? Strategy development is useful for defining ambitions and long term goals. A good strategy is only as good as the capability to implement it and how well it delivers the desired outcome. Various research concludes: Organisations on average realise only 50-63% of the financial performance promised…
  Duane Capuano shares a white paper on the blocks that stop the implementation of strategies and provides a framework for moving a strategy from thought to action. Countless association executive teams dedicate significant time and resources to strategic planning. But too often, great ideas and plans stay trapped in the notebook and are quickly moved to the backburner – reduced in priority by more pressing day-to-day management and operational demands. The need for implementation of forward-looking strategic plans is…
  Caroline Taich can help you improve your strategic planning process by understanding what drives the differences in the team’s expectations.  Much of my work involves strategic planning. Over the years I have observed that there are different kinds of strategic plans, and different views on what constitutes an excellent plan. This can lead to trouble when it comes with a mismatch of expectations within one team. I wonder, why is there so much difference? There is probably a long…
  Nora Ghaoui examines the limitations of artificial intelligence as it pertains to building a business strategy. If company strategies risk sounding the same when written by people, what happens when they get written by AI? In this post I examine an AI-generated strategy statement for what it says about the abilities of AI and creating strategies. Three years ago, I asked if large companies all had the same strategy. Perhaps their strategies all sounded the same because managers picked…
  From her company blog, Nora Ghaoui shares a two-part series that examines the strategy statements of large companies and explains why strategy writing often results in generic statements. By the time a large company has finished its strategic planning cycle, it ends up with strategy statements that could apply to any company. The same phrases show up every time.  Why is that?  Do great minds think alike, are people running out of ideas, or are market trends forcing them…
  Sean McCoy shares a blog post from his company website that presents a case for and against spending resources on ‘innovation’.  Innovation is hard. Most companies do not do it well. Long is the list of established market leaders that were The Disruptee instead of The Disrupter. But firms are not to blame. Most innovations fail period, regardless of who is doing the innovation. Innovation is a high-failure sport. Nevertheless, conventional wisdom holds that large businesses should be more…
  Luiz Zorzella takes a leap into the arbitrary world of luck to explain how unforeseen forces should be considered when shaping strategies.  8 months ago, I drafted an article explaining why you should do a sensitivity analysis of your strategy to luck. I was planning to publish it in March of this year, because of St Patrick’s. That draft started with “Now is the time to be bold.”. I pointed out that the largest Canadian banks were trading at…
  Aneta Key shares a short message that shines a light into the importance of leaders spending valuable time on scenario planning, and how following military training can guide business strategies.  It is important for leadership teams to regularly work through scenarios across time horizons.  Strategic decision-making is at the core of leadership and is what Aneta Key facilitates among clients. It is also one of the core areas explored in the GrowthKey leadership development programs. This question is a…
  Andrew Hone’s company blog explains why cost reduction programs often fail.  Although cost reduction programs can deliver a powerful mix of financial, strategic, and organisational benefits, the failure rates of these types of programs are very high. A recent survey of C-Suite executives, for example, found that while 90% of businesses had attempted to implement a cost reduction program, 75% failed to meet their targets, and 44% missed them by more than half. Drawing on some of the key…
  Luiz Zorzella shares key points that can help leaders evaluate and address their approach to change to ensure better outcomes.  Strategy & Value For the past 10 years, financial services firms have publicly acknowledged that they needed to change.  Chances are, your organization was one of those. Commoditization meant a systematic erosion of margins for banks; reduction in interest rates has been challenging both interest and non-interest income sources of banks and investment firms as well as the economics…
  Gaelle Lamotte was recently interviewed for the Telegraph’s Business Reporter on bridging the gap between business strategy and achieving the best results.  Strategies often fail because there is a lack of a robust, compelling strategic story that hangs off them, there’s a failure of coordination between units and functions, often misalignment, and at the end of the day, there’s a lack of leadership agreement around a common shared purpose, around a common agenda. So as a result, you’ll find…
  Geoff Wilson gets straight to the point with some tough love in this article by asking if you to make sure your strategy inspires.  The possibilities are endless.  Some might say that the sole purpose is to ‘enhance shareholder value.’  I’d argue that this old trope is no longer the gold standard. Some adhere to the stakeholder model…which might be closer.  Regardless of the ‘concept,’ a given business strategy has to appeal to a lot of people. Strategy, inasmuch…