I graduated from Imperial College, London with a degree in Mining Geology, and then joined Andersen Consulting (now Accenture). After 6 years there, I moved to Berkeley. I have had the privilege of wo...
Juliet Armstrong, Partner
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Home > Services > Business Strategy
Businesses choose to revisit their strategies for many different reasons: new leadership, changes in the market, disappointing performance, or maybe staff needing to be rallied behind a clear purpose and direction. So there are lots of possible triggers and lots of different approaches. But the challenge is always to come up with a good crisp and actionable strategy – one that’s well thought through, has identified what the choices are, and sets a clear and practical direction.
The essence of business strategy is being clear about what you’re trying to achieve: who you want to serve; why customers should buy your products or services; and how you should organise to deliver them most effectively. In short, the target market, the value proposition and the operating model, supported by a deep understanding of what makes you competitive. This all needs to be set in the context of a shared vision and purpose for the organisation – distilling what you are here for. This understanding forms the foundation for building your thinking and developing your strategy.
To deliver your strategy, the most important thing is that you have a leadership team who completely understand and own it and are going to carry it through. This is what delivers the value. Our philosophy is that you should develop your strategy. We help by bringing structure, stimulation, analytical rigour and challenge to the process, and where needed, input from external research.
Your own people often have the best understanding of the market and the business itself. With the right catalyst, they can also be the best source of ideas and options. By involving them throughout, from analysing and evaluating options to making decisions, you build a strategy that your people have a stake in and want to get behind.
Of course, you can come up with some wonderfully clear and rigorous thinking, but if you don’t turn that into action you’ll make no difference and a lot of time, money and energy will have been wasted. So it’s all about creating an owned and actionable strategy – one that’s ready to go.
We believe that strategy is as much social as it is analytical. It’s about helping groups of people come to the right, often difficult, decisions and act on them. The real heart of strategy is to get people to change what they do in the right way. So you have to engage and take people with you, gathering them around a shared understanding and purpose.
Our highly participative approach helps ensure that good clear thinking gets turned into practical effective action that delivers real business results – from growing markets, to building share, improving margins, increasing efficiency, attracting talent and more. It’s the opposite of presenting an expensive strategic tome only for it to sit on a shelf gathering dust, helping no one. It’s also an approach that has proved really successful for our clients.
We helped Countrywide to rewrite their strategy to set out a path with greater potential.
We helped M&G Real Estate define a future business model and strategic plan.
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We helped the CEO to develop a new, more focused corporate strategy to drive performance.
For us, business strategy comes down to helping groups of people make good quality decisions and act on them to deliver genuinely valuable and lasting results.
Neil McClumphaPartnerContact Neil McClumpha