Our Approach to Engagements

Corporate Strategic Planning

We are not seeking to become experts in either our client's company or industry; rather, we are absorbing the current external and internal situation so that we can determine the right issues/challenges to bring into the strategic planning work sessions later. Part of our value is our objectivity and the ability to compare what we see in your company/industry with the hundreds of other strategy engagements Do Something and SMSG have done. The intent is to move methodically through three planning sections in a broad-to-specific way:

  • Situation Assessment: External, Internal and Key Issues Discussion, etc.
  • Strategic Direction: Future Environment, Positioning, Goals, Objectives, Structure, etc.
  • Action Steps: Strategies, Tactics, Resource Needs, Schedules, Responsibilities, etc.

The final phase deals with the creation of the strategic plan document itself. With you we develop a preliminary, and then final, corporate plan based on the inputs from the previous work sessions.

Leadership Development

Do people want to be managed, or led? Answer the question to yourself. Most people like being led because their adrenaline gland is engaged, why, because you see a purpose to the effort, and suffering you are about to embrace. Why else would an American Marine or Soldier step into harm's way? They see the purpose. Why would a construction team for a new turbine work 20 hour days for weeks; they see how much better their company will perform once this is in place, they get a bonus most likely and they can look back with a sense of satisfaction.

Well led efforts, whether short or long term, are always looked back on with pleasure because something above and beyond the norm was accomplished.

All of us must lead at various times and manage the rest of the time; the more senior your role the more leading and the less managing you must do. Leading is determining what your organization is truly better at than your competitors; than determining how to train and equip your folks to attack and steal market share, at a profitable margin; providing all needed resources and measure the progress along the way. The hardest part of leadership is deciding when someone can't handle their leadership part and making a change, or results will not be there. It is a fact that only 10-12 % of sales forces are naturally hunters, and the rest really can't be trained. So with this small resource your leadership is critical to ensure those folks are doing the right things and the right places.

Human nature as we move up in an organization causes us to not let go of the last job, depriving us of the time to do our new job and not allowing an appropriate evaluation of your replacement. You must resist sliding back into the old comfortable job, the team needs your leadership, your vision, your support if they are to accomplish something beyond their past.

Business is replete with stories of new leaders failing because they never totally leave their old role. It is also replete with cases of leaders being in only one place, the top. Our military, with all its' issues, is a role model when the fighting starts, leaders throughout the unit, from the corporal to the general, all making decisions based on the mission assigned. This tends to weaken in peacetime, politics, promotions, WIFM, etc. take over and it can be a mess. Businesses must take precise action to ensure leadership is pushed into the organization and supported. The power of a well led organization is virtually unbeatable. We can all get better.

Strategic Growth

What would be the difference between strategic growth and just the plain old growth every business needs to keep ahead of rising costs? Strategic growth adds more cylinders to the engine, allowing the business to pull a larger load, climb the steep hills in the road or tough patches that always come. Strategic growth requires a business person to move out of managing and into leading, as it takes some chutzpah, some judgment and sound analysis. It involves allocating limited resources to areas that may be in the unknown category.

Before launching off into newer directions however, a thorough analysis of current operations and opportunities is a key foundational step. The new is sometimes very attractive, it gets the adrenaline pumping, but studies have shown that solid growth is missed by not fully penetrating your core business. Chris Zook wrote a great book on this concept, "Profiting from the Core" that does a superb job laying out the case and talking about concrete steps to take to be sure this growth engine is fully functional. Sales Leadership and execution is a critical skill set in this phase. You can't move forward will without ensuring these functions operate well.

Once done, and greater than average growth is desired, the next step is to examine the options. Another seminal book on this subject, "Double Digit Growth" by Treacy clearly defines the five categories to drive faster growth, and they are:

  • Protect the business you have today.
  • Gain Market Share, profitably.
  • Determine where growth will be in the future and invest in being there when it arrives.
  • Adjacencies, these are business opportunities close to-aligned with your current business. An example, you own an oil change business, the adjacency is broad based repair.
  • Potentially move into entirely new businesses based on your competencies.

Many other books have been written about these subjects, but all of them boiled down, what is your organization good at? Or, the MBA terminology, what is your core competency? Using that core competency to tap new avenues of growth is the basis for most successful business ventures. Honda as example, used their core competency in small engines to enter the passenger car market. Many studies have proven that most investments in new business ventures have failed to make the return required, whether multi-billion dollar acquisitions or self generated launches because the core competency requirement was not fulfilled.

So how to do you find out? It all starts with the customers, what needs are not being met today? What could you provide that meets an unknown need? Who knew we needed a device to hold 10,000 songs that would fit into your shirt pocket? Identifying the need you will meet can be obtained in many ways, but a business leader must intimately understand the need and understand their solution will be seen as the obvious solution. Simon Sinek has talked about the "Why" of business recently in a most unique and succinct manner (http://www.ted.com/talks/simonsinek). Strategic growth must have a well tested "Why", to be successful.

The process to take advantage of growth beyond the norm requires the business leader to think openly, listen well, have courage and analyze completely. A tall task, but not impossible.

Strategic Management Board (SMB)

"A Strategic Management Board is the solution for on-going business and executive development. Members serve one another as an informal board-of-advisors."

The mission statement for SMSG's Strategic Management Board offering to executives:

"To provide a professional and enjoyable opportunity for senior executives to meet regularly as a permanent team to learn from one another, explore business development opportunities, gain deeper understanding of business and leadership principles, learn about one another's businesses, offer suggestions, perspectives and advice to strengthen each other's businesses, share personal experiences, and expand friendships among peers."

How it works:

  • SMB consists of 12 to 15 senior executives of non-competing companies in the local area
  • Half day meetings are held every other month noon to 5:00. To the extent practical, the meeting will rotate among member company sites as host facility. That host company will be the part of the SMB discussion and advisory focus for that month's meeting.
  • A Strategic Management Services Group consulting professional will serve as your SMB's Advisor and will prepare for and facilitate each SMB meeting. He will work with the upcoming host company to provide a concise business profile in advance for all members.
  • The SMB will determine the business and leadership disciplines they want to learn more about. The SMB Advisor will prepare short presentations on each subject and facilitate discussions on the subjects. SMB members will discuss the concepts presented and how they may or may not be appropriate for their businesses. Senior leaders find the following disciplines of continuing interest:
  • Sales Growth, Profit Maximization, Marketing Management, Quality & Operations Improvement, Personnel Development, Leadership & Personal Growth, and Strategic Planning
  • Also, your SMB Advisor will conduct a one hour phone call with each member during the non-meeting month. Feedback on meetings and discussion of that member's company issues will be the focus.

Strategic Management Services Group invites you to contact either Wally or Tom to discuss your interest in Strategic Management Board participation. Profiles of Wally and Tom are on this website.

Wally Martin, Managing Director, SMSG 770-971-0698 Wally.Martin@SMSGconsulting.com

Tom Robertshaw, Director, Do Something 205-908-2294 dosomething@bellsouth.net

You'll get to know what Do Something does by pondering the following sample of strategic questions:

  • Is it important to lead as well as manage? What is the difference, and value of each?
  • How will our industry evolve? What are the trends that will reshape industry competition?
  • What are our strengths and weaknesses? What opportunities are possible?
  • Is my sales force effective? Is it bringing in new business?
  • How do we define our business model? What are its pros/cons?

More Questions...