Strategy Execution Life Cycle – Strategy and Planning facilitation

Background context – a specialist BU in a larger Group portfolio was seeking to define its growth strategy in a way that was synergistic with the goals and objectives of the broader portfolio. Unlike the rest of the portfolio that was relatively capital light, the specialist BU needed to invest capital to be a compelling value proposition relative to competing offers in the market. The independent returns from the specialist BU had been varied and capital investment had been constrained thereby impacting the BU’s relative competitiveness. The internal clarity of purpose of the specialist BU in the portfolio had reduced. Traditionally, the specialist BU had a strong market position in its core geographic market but its success in growing geographically had been low.

Strategic Challenge – the specialist BU was seeking to clarify or reposition its identity within the larger Group portfolio to win support for capital to reinvest in critical assets and capabilities and improve their competitiveness in the market.

Strategic Activities – Guberno supported the leadership team of the specialist BU to structure a strategy and planning workshop to refine key inputs into the Group business planning process;

  • Strategy workshop preparation – Guberno worked with key members of the leadership team to structure the workshop agenda and in generating a value adding workshop pre-reading pack. A range of information sources were distilled into some key frameworks and representation that would become the basis of workshop discussion and debate.
  • Strategy workshop facilitation – Guberno provided external facilitation and distillation of key discussions within the workshop. Importantly, the facilitation was focused on encouraging divergent thinking prior to seeking consensus and alignment. Crystalising the output of workshop discussion into next steps provided an important thread of continuity to subsequent steps in the planning process.

Outcomes – the feedback from workshop participants was strong with important clarity around BU identity assisting with both internal stakeholder engagement and improved definition of the required capability platform to be successful in delivering the identity. The output from the workshop enabled clarity of input into the next level Group Strategy and Planning Workshops.

Key Learnings – there were a number of key learnings from the workshop. Firstly, the quality of workshop preparation is critical to the effectiveness of the workshop itself and importantly the workshop outcomes. Preparation is key in the structuring of the agenda for best effect and to ensure there is sufficient distillation of required information to provide input to the workshop deliberations. Converting complexity into simplicity is key to allowing a diverse range of participants to meaningfully debate topics and align around preferred courses of action.

Secondly, it is very difficult to get adults to sit in a workshop all day and to maintain quality of engagement and energy levels throughout. Breaking workshops over two half days with an informal social event (dinner etc) consistently delivers a superior outcome. Not only are there benefits in managing energy levels, the informal interaction in the social interaction on the evening allows seepage and reflection time on the content discussed with an opportunity to circle back the following morning and refine and adjust course for the second half of the workshop if required.

Andrew Rosengren

MD Guberno Consulting  Andrew Rosengren | LinkedIn