Strategic Management Workshops
Strategic management workshops provide a flexible approach to action-oriented decision-making, ranging from corporate-level policy-setting through new product creation to key account management planning sessions. They can fulfil the fundamental tenet of effective business administration: management by objectives. They are typically task-focussed and results-orientated. They can foster teamwork and ‘shared values’, employee engagement and inclusion. But this management nirvana has a dark side: an inherent tendency towards ‘strategic drift’ from stated objectives coupled with neglect of organizational culture and inertias which potentially hinder the successful implementation of agreed workshop outcomes.
The workshop process
The masters of the ‘workshop art’ are management consultants, ranging from strategy consultancy giants such as McKinsey & Co. to the independent niche specialist. Danger lurks when an excessive reliance on external consultants for ‘process-based’ solutions arises at the expense of time and effort being assigned to internal capabilities assessment. Long term relationships between companies and trusted business partners provide an elegant solution.
The following ‘snippets’ of a highly effective process for workshop facilitation, A Creative Process for Strategy Development, is taken from Chapter Eight, Implementing Global Business Strategies, in Outside Fortress Europe (please click/tap the Strategic Management Think Tank tab for details).
- Select an appropriate team for the task at hand and ensure that they have the required time for full participation in the process.
- ‘Leave the office’. For this process to work effectively it is essential that all background ‘noise’, including e-mails, social networks and any number of potential office distractions are removed.
- Employ an independent facilitator: ‘discipline’ and timekeeping are essential for achieving successful outcomes when using this process.
- Phase One. Ideas generation. ‘Pure form’ brainstorming:
- Phase Two. Ideas screening. Quality is key in this stage of the process, ample time being allocated for small group evaluation and discussion and also for ideas selection and classification, depending on the task at hand.
The following examples of Workshops we have facilitated demonstrate the range and flexibility of the format/process. They reflect the key areas of expertise associated with Nexus Knowledge: Organizational Development | Business Education | Global Strategic Management | Innovation | Marketing | Brand.
Business Unit (BU) strategy workshop
This is the most ‘generic’ of Workshops and amongst the most impactful given its broad remit, extended horizons and potential financial implications. The frameworks, processes and methods used combine a strategic audit with an implementation audit to provide detailed insights into a company’s present competitive market position and directions towards its future strategic focus. The following definition is provided in Chapter Eight of Outside Fortress Europe:
Strategic business environment audits are more important than financial audits. The latter only count the cents the company has earned already whereas the former is the basis for generating a stream of cash flows for the future. A strategic audit is a comprehensive, systematic, independent and periodic examination of a company’s business environment, objectives, strategies and activities with a view to determining problem areas and opportunities and recommending plans of action to improve a company’s strategic and financial performance.
The examples below show the diversity of successfully completed projects which lent themselves to the Workshop format.
“Walking the Bottom Line”
Marketing & Project Management Workshop
An intensive global programme targeted at the entire population of the Business Unit (BU) organization, approximately 200 people. There were three key themes: (i) shift of the BU from being a cost centre to a profit centre; (ii) more freedom to operate commercially, i.e., to target non-company (external) customers; (iii) to integrate the three key functions of Creative Design Managers, Client Account Managers and Project Managers. Workshop delivered over nine months in the Netherlands, Hong Kong, Singapore and the USA.
Strategic Marketing & Innovation Workshop
Market-Driven Product Development Workshop
An adaptation of an in-house marketing training course to include a greater emphasis on innovation for the Optical Technology Group whose customers are all internal. The Workshop focus allowed the preparation of tangible outputs for the group alongside developing insights for a new, less technology-focused way of working. Delivered in Belgium, China (Shanghai) and the USA.
Strategic Marketing Workshop
Market-Driven Product Development
Very similar to the Workshop designed for the Optical Technology Group but modified slightly for a broader target audience. Delivered in Shanghai.
Building Trade Marketing Competencies: ASPAC Workshops
A competencies development programme for Trade Marketing Key Account Managers in the ASPAC region. Used a ‘train-the-trainer’ approach with an ultimate target audience of up to 600 commercial employees across the region, including India, China, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand. Separate content designed for trainers and trainees which was translated by the client where necessary (eg, Chinese, Korean).
Crossing the Chasm: DLP Projectors as a Consumer Product? (Workshop)
Segmentation, Channel Management and Brand Positioning
Consultation and workshop project exploring the strategic marketing issues associated with commercialising a predominantly business-to-business product in a consumer market environment.
Strategic Key Account Management Workshop
Strategies for Customer Profitability
A series of business-to-business key account management shops. The workshop emphasis allowed the adaptation of account management principles to local market conditions and customer requirements. Delivered in the Netherlands, France, Indonesia and South Korea.
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All content © Colin Edward Egan, 2019