Andrew Hone shares a step-by-step guide to applying top-tier strategic consulting techniques.
What is a strategy review?
A strategy review is a process to identify new value-creating opportunities within a business. It could be about improving the performance of an existing division. Or it could be about taking advantage of a new market adjacency opportunity.
It is also an opportunity to step back from day-to-day operations. You can assess the strategic foundations on which the business is built.
It, therefore, needs to be a clear fact-based analysis of the business opportunity or issue.
When should you undertake a strategy review?
Many companies undertake strategic reviews on an annual basis as part of their strategic planning process.
Other businesses will undertake them on a more ad hoc basis. For instance, when presented with a specific opportunity or problem within the business.
Furthermore, a change of ownership or appointment of a new CEO can often trigger the need for a strategic review of the business. It can be a great way to clarify key areas of opportunity and challenges within the business.
What are the outcomes of a strategic review?
It should lead to a clear set of strategic recommendations. The review should also set out a future roadmap for the business. This roadmap charts the course for the business. This helps enable increased and sustained performance now and for the future.
Delivering a strategic review
Start with the answer
Strategic reviews are often undertaken under considerable pressure to get to an answer rapidly. Every day needs to count. Moreover, you can’t afford to spend time on research or analysis that doesn’t make the final cut.
The leading strategy firms therefore adopt a hypothesis-led approach to strategy formulation. For instance McKinsey’s Decision Tree or Bain’s Answer First approaches.
When operating under a severe time constraint, it is critical to be 80/20 in undertaking new analysis.
You should be targeted in your data gathering and research. You can achieve a lot in a short space of time. An online survey to your key customers can be quick to set up. But can yield valuable insights.
You probably can’t build an in-depth financial model in 4 weeks. But you can do some high-level modelling of the main financial levers of your business.
Key points include:
- Allocating dedicated project resources
- Documenting the key findings
- Time to implementation
Access the full guide, The Four Week Strategy Review, on ZenithStrategy.com.
In this week’s post from David A. Fields, he offers stellar advice and two simple, yet powerful tips to help consultants make a positive impression within the first five minutes of a meeting.
The initial few minutes of every client meeting present your consulting firm with a unique opportunity. Will you let it slip by unnoticed, or create a regular, business-building habit to maximize that time?
Let’s say that next Tuesday you’re scheduled to deliver a regular, periodic project update to your consulting firm’s client, Gridlock Enterprises. You’re joined for the half-hour Zoom meeting every month by Gridlock’s Chief Obstruction Officer, Philip A. Buster.
Typically, you dive into an update of the progress you’ve made on your consulting project for Gridlock, note the next steps, solicit feedback Phil may have heard from his team, then confirm the next month’s call before signing off.
For your next meeting with Phil, though, you’ll kick off the meeting differently. Better. You’ll use two simple and powerful techniques:
Key points include:
- The right-side up meeting intro
- The connection carveout
- Unforgettable stick figures
Read the full post, You Did What?! The Ideal, First 5 Minutes Of Every Consulting Meeting, on DavidAFields.com.
With the pandemic slowing the pace in how we live and work, many of us may feel stuck. Luckily, Mike Ross shares a quick tip to help set movement in motion.
I’m lucky to spend a lot of my time working with highly intelligent, motivated people; helping them think through decisions for themselves and their organizations. Some big decisions, some small ones, but these conversations often share a striking similarity – the people I’m speaking with usually already know what to do.
They know the answer. They’re just stuck.
And what makes them stuck is fear. Fear of getting it wrong, of making a mistake, of screwing something up and regretting it. And they come to me (and people like me) to validate their ideas. Sometimes we find a piece of evidence or a fact that they overlooked that helps them to re-think their idea and chart a new path, but in many cases, they would be just as well served by trying their ideas out (on a small scale to begin with) and learning as they go. And that’s usually the advice that I give them. Try it and see.
They don’t really need a consultant or an adviser or coach. They just need the starting point of a plan and permission to move.
So here’s a quick hit to help you get unstuck…
Key points include:
- Tackling risk
- Gathering ideas
- Breaking through fear
Read the full post, Permission to Change, on LinkedIn.
David A. Fields posts a positive reminder that everyone can promote purposeful change, including consultants.
Today’s an excellent day to briefly remind you of the good your consulting firm does, and the importance of understanding the “Why” behind your consulting firm’s engagements.
In all likelihood, your consulting firm doesn’t directly address widespread injustice, relieve oppression, or combat systemic prejudice.
Yet, your everyday actions leading a consulting firm are still a vital, positive contribution to the world.
A Force for Good
Amidst once-in-a-generation societal storms, your consulting firm’s work may sometimes feel inconsequential.
It’s not. You have every right to be proud of your consulting firm’s work, promote your offerings and continue to pursue consulting projects.
Read the full article, How Your Consulting Firm Can Be A Force For Good, on David’s website.
David A. Fields offers actionable advice on how to respond to a client when consulting work veers off the rails.
When you, your consulting team and your client all stay on task and positive, consulting is a fun, challenging and rewarding profession. When consulting work veers off the rails, though, how should you respond?
Lines are confusing
Let’s say you want to engage in outreach to your prospects. Rupert, SVP of Everything is next in line. So, you drop him a line. He answers and asks you to hold the line. (Didn’t you just drop it?)
Ugh, you’re on hold, but business is on the line. Two minutes of elevator music. That’s where you draw the line. Is it the end of the line for Rupert? Hard to know—it’s a fine line.
Read the full article, How Your Consulting Firm Should Deal with Clients that Cross the Line, on David’s website.