Strategy Execution Life Cycle – All six phases of Guberno’s strategy execution lifecycle

Background context – Electric vehicles and stationary battery storage are experiencing 30%+ annual growth rates and this is expected to continue over the coming decade. This growth in battery penetration and technologies is part of a global trend to electrification and the decarbonisation of transportation and utility electricity systems. Supplying the raw and processed materials to meet this rapid growth is an immense challenge. Alongside the increase in supply is the geopolitical imperative to diversify the source of supply to improve supply chain resilience. Significant government incentives to improve domestic self-reliance in battery supply chains are being introduced around the globe. The chemical composition of batteries is a constantly changing landscape with a strong recent and forecast trend towards lithium ferrophosphate (LFP) chemistry that delivers improved performance in battery life and safety with reduced fire risk.

Strategic Challenge – Guberno partnered with a client with three technology platforms in the lithium battery value chain. This included a chemical extraction technology for delivering a step change in recovery of lithium from hard rock spodumene resources, an active cathode material technology for the manufacture of LFP batteries, and a lithium battery recycling platform to manage the circular battery recycling industry that is forecast for rapid growth. The core strategic challenge was to chart the commercialisation and scaling of the available technology platforms into a rapidly growing market. Creating clear and compelling commercialisation pathways is a precondition to delivering the required shareholder support.

Strategic Activities – Guberno provided strategic support across the successful formalisation of the technology commercialisation strategies. Key activity workstreams included;

  • Strategy development – Guberno facilitated a series of structured leadership team workshops over a three month period that mirrored the phases of the strategy execution lifecycle. This included a strategic foundations workshop where the understanding of the current market, industry and technology dynamics were explored. An additional activity was to define what commercialisation success would look like and formalised in a purpose, vision and ambition strategic spine. The second strategic options workshop reviewed key alternative pathways for delivering the commercialisation and scaling of the technology platforms. This included alternatives around technical development, partner development, and funding options. From a range of alternatives, preferred pathways were defined. The third capabilities and planning workshop involved the articulation of key elements of the capability platform required to deliver the strategy and the key milestones and activity streams core to strategy delivery.
  • Support work team activity – Guberno supported work teams who progressed key elements of the technology commerciaisation thinking between the broader leadership team workshop engagements. This includes supporting market research and distillation.
  • Financial modelling – a flexible planning financial model was developed for the recycling business to help understand the financial implications of different operating strategies.
  • Communication – Guberno supported in the synthesis and formal documentation of the strategies for internal and external stakeholder engagement.

Outcomes – The strategy development process delivered both structure and alignment for the leadership team on the key activities required to progress the commercialisation of the three differentiated technology platforms. While delivering internal alignment was imperative, it provided the auxiliary benefits of securing alignment with key stakeholders including the Board and the companies shareholders. The business has progressed into execution phase against the framework and intent of the defined strategies.

Key Learnings – A key learning from this assignment was the acute interface between internal business strategy and external shareholder support. Without a clear, compelling, and actionable strategy not only is it difficult to align limited resources internally, it is equally difficult to mobilise shareholder support that is so key to supporting the commercialisation. This is despite being in an industry segment that is undergoing step change growth rates. The difficult trade offs of what activities to progress and what to stop when resource availability is low is key to ensuring credibility milestones are identified and met to reward the support of external stakeholder.