‘We’ situations requiring coordinated action
From 3 to 300,000 participants
Within one, between two, or across many
For-profit, not-for-profit, government, NGOs, associations, academia,…
In-person, 100% virtual, or hybrid collaboration
Initial ideating, goal-setting, roll-out, problem-solving,…
Annual goal setting surfaces discontent with a recently revised business strategy.
A private equity firm had acquired a US retailer. The private equity firm’s internal consulting group was brought in to help the retailer revise its five-year business strategy and operating model.
One year into their corporate re-positioning, the retailer’s leadership determined they needed to take stock of their situation and select a few core objectives for the next 12 to 18 months. The new CEO brought in by the private equity firm chose a consulting firm using the SchellingPoint software to lead the discussions among a leadership team comprising new leaders such as himself and several from the pre-acquisition management team.
The group’s virtual dialogue analytics identified strong alignment amongst the eight most senior executives around the more tactical, operational activities that were underway but weak alignment around their core strategy and go-forward operating model.
The visual display of alignment across the strategic to tactical subjects lead the COO to declare ‘Houston, we have a problem here.’ There was distinct misalignment around the implementation of one aspect of their revised strategy, plus one of the revised operating policies – which several leaders were pleased to have out on the table in full view.
Through two half-day solutioning meetings, a re-evaluation of their competitive positioning and brand differentiation was conducted, focusing on their branded and non-branded product strategy.
With revised go-to-market priorities set, the organization enjoyed three years of revenue and EBITDA growth.
Choosing whether to stabilize or maintain pace during a period of high growth.
A mid-size services firm had experienced three years of double-digit growth. Its go-to-market strategy needed refreshing, with clear goals and objectives for the upcoming year.
The firm’s leaders realized they had important choices to make. They understood the need to refresh the go-to-market strategy, but with ‘all hands on deck’ managing the growth, meetings were being postponed.
Also, leadership was conscious that unresolved tension was growing between informal calls to ‘slow the growth to consolidate our execution capability’ versus ‘continue the high growth and risk a few errors.’ A similar divergence was present around the firm’s customer targets, typified by statements such as ‘grow share-of-wallet in the major accounts,’ versus, ‘expand into new markets.’
The firm’s President chose to use a consultant using the SchellingPoint software to engage her organization in the go-to-market strategy revision and formulate a set of goals and plans that would meet the firm’s continued growth goals but gain support from its personnel.
42 staff engaged in the virtual dialogue and solutioning activities – leaders, managers, and key staff from business development and service delivery in addition to the leadership team.
All activities took place after the workday ended when personnel felt they could focus on their internal needs.
The different policies described above were included within the group’s virtual dialogue. However, before these policies could be discussed and agreed, two surprising issues surfaced in the analytics.
On the one hand, confidence in the business model, the leadership team, and the market opportunity were high, but there was unforeseen concern around brand differentiation and decision-making policies.
In two, 3-hour leadership team meetings, the go-to-market strategy revision and supporting annual objectives were identified and endorsed.
The firm maintained its growth rate over the following three years.
Stakeholders with competing interests develop a policy for financial sustainability.
A Health Information Exchange for a US state had been established using available federal and state grants. Given notification of the termination of these grants, the HIE’s governing body faced the question of how it would fund its future operations and growth.
The Health Information Exchange had two years in which to identify and build new sources of income before the grant funding ceased. Unable to agree upon an approach that would provide financial sustainability, the HIE’s executive director hired a strategy consultant using the SchellingPoint software to lead the board and management through a strategy development process.
Competing interests of the insurance company payers, health care providers, and board members from organizations representing patients and the public complicated the need to find new revenue streams.
However, the group’s transparent virtual dialogue enabled anonymous comments, and the governing body was able to transcend their personalities and focus on how to make the HIE sustainable.
A breakthrough occurred when the process diagnosed that stakeholders were using different definitions of the word “payer” in their discussions and held different financial assumptions regarding technology development grants.
With these previously unstated assumptions surfaced, the differing meaning for words being used regularly in the conversation (a common issue in groups) was rapidly resolved.
Within ten weeks, the team developed a strategy and business plan that enabled financial sustainability. This organization is now among the few Health Information Exchanges in the country with service revenues that exceed its operational costs.
A Fortune 50 CEO wants to clarify his leadership team’s view of their vision.
After two decades of growth, the organization was embarking on a nine-figure ERP implementation to enable the upgrade of its core business processes to maintain operational efficiency. A brand-name management consultancy had proposed the strategy to make the change, and another had given responsibility for the program.
The organization’s strategy was not in debate; the average tenure on the leadership team was over seven years, and the core business strategy had not needed to change in five years.
However, challenging economic conditions had surfaced on the horizon after the program started.
The CEO wanted to ensure that his leadership team would drive the three-year program from the same vision for their organization, something he felt necessary for success but essential, given the incoming business conditions.
Rather than conduct a conventional three to six-month management consulting project to clarify their vision, mission, and strategy, the CEO elected to hire a management consultant using SchellingPoint’s advanced consulting software and skills with two Business Strategy templates. His primary reason was speed, efficiency, and cost – he needed the project done in weeks and not hold up the transformation.
The virtual dialogue analytics surprised the leadership team, who had worked together for over ten years. For example, their different beliefs about the role and ranking of Operational Excellence, Customer Intimacy, and Product Innovation surprised the team (using Wiersma’s Three Disciplines of Market Leadership template in SchellingPoint.)
Their assumed like-mindedness had led to actions and initiatives that were becoming fragmented and silently had taken the implementation of shared values in different directions. Realizing they needed to agree on a common viewpoint, three 2-hour meetings were used to maximize alignment around their direction.
The subsequent strategy, and how it implemented their definition of their vision, was rolled out to their top 100 leaders within eight weeks. The initiative is given credit for enabling the organization to experience eleven growth quarters over the next three years, through the market challenges.
Who are we, and what do we do?
The CEO of a cosmetics company was discussing with his management team and first-level leaders how to increase revenue 20% over the next three years. The growth was to come organically, not through acquisition. The growth strategy consultant hired to help them find the answer had helped the leadership surface an exhaustive range of approaches and options.
The conversation had bifurcated around two different approaches to their go-to-market strategy. Ideas such as new pricing schemes, new advertising campaigns, voice-of-the-customer analyses, retooling the sales force, new partnerships, and an exhaustive list of rational actions were debated but with little resolution.
With the CEO’s approval, the growth strategy consultant chose to insert a consultant using the SchellingPoint software into his project to shift the client team onto common ground.
Twenty-nine executives and senior managers participated in their two-hour virtual dialogue. Their alignment analytics immediately surfaced a highly divergent assumption, one that had not been explicitly discussed by the group.
Over half of these senior managers believed the company sold ‘commodity cosmetics,’ while the others viewed their product line as a set of ‘value-added facial solutions.’
The difference explained why the suggestions for organic growth were so divergent; price, position, and supply chain improvements conflicted with solution selling training for salespeople and value-based marketing strategies.
The CEO and his team spent three hours clarifying the nature of their product lines. The group agreed that they were selling low-differentiated cosmetics into a highly commoditized, competitive market.
The clarification allowed the group to select the appropriate marketing and sales strategy adjustments, which have been core to their continued revenue growth.
Establishing coordinated action to deliver a new business strategy.
As part of a corporate reorganization, the back-office operations within five business units reorganized into a single shared service function. The new organization, comprising two-thirds of the original headcount, crafted new vision and mission statements plus a set of strategic objectives. However, after nine months, the group’s performance was not meeting expectations, including zero improvements in its operating expenses.
The organization hired a management consultancy using SchellingPoint to work with the new management team to find ways to attain the original business case metrics.
The leadership team’s virtual dialogue showed that a set of fundamental beliefs and assumptions regarding the environment they were operating within were misaligned. For example, a key assumption related to their success rate within a key part of R&D, and how they compared to benchmarked peers.
One of the fifteen senior leaders felt their performance was poor; the other fourteen claimed it was top-box, upper quartile performance. When asked for their reasoning, the general response was that “We are XYZ, we are the market leader, we are as good as any competition,” whereas the dissenter wrote, “I have a three-month-old report showing that we are not half as good a