What I said to a client before we parted company

Some months ago I submitted a proposal to a client to address four specific issues I anticipated on a project they were implementing. They never took up any of those options. This month they decided to evaluate the viability that particular project, raising four areas of concern and, you guessed it, these were exactly the concerns I raised six months ago.

The project is definitely needed and of crucial strategic importance, but as a large organisation they are struggling to be nimble and flexible and really lack the political will to persist. I was asked for some input and suggestions in preparation of that review meeting.

The following is directly redacted from the slides as the talking points of the conversation. I don’t reveal the client or the actual strategic solution because that is not relevant to anyone but the organisation. Of more universal relevance are the message and the context and the need to change.


#1: QUO VADIS?

The bad news things are not going as well as hoped for.

The good news is that all of this was perfectly predictable.

The best news is that it is easily fixed.

#2: WE CAN PLAY THIS TWO WAYS

Be nice, hint at some issues and allude to potential fixes and leave here feeling warm & fuzzy.

OR

Be brutally honest, cut to the chase and fix the problem, and leave here feeling pissed off.

#3: WHAT YOU ARE GOING THROUGH WAS DOCUMENTED IN 1972

#4: BUT, MAKING THE STRATEGIC SHIFT HAPPEN…

… is hard because we are pulled back toward the status quo by our ‘baggage’ and every time we get sucked in because we think it is our ‘experience’.

#5: A SUCCESSFUL STRATEGIC SHIFT REQUIRES…

Two things to happen – and whilst we are drawn to the second because it feels like we are taking action, it really is first things first...

#6: MUST WE REALLY CHANGE?

Quite possibly the stupidest question of all time

Like the frog at the bottom of the well we can look at the world and see a slice of blue pie above us. The reality outside the well is radically different and obvious to all except to the frog at the bottom of the well!

 

#7: IT IS OBVIOUS WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE

The problem was solved in 1968

by BCG when the framed all the options in a simple matrix…

#8: THEY ALSO ANTICIPATED WHAT WOULD HAPPEN…

…because the same thing happens all the time.

#9: SO WE KNOW THIS…

  • That we have to change
  • Why we have to change
  • How it will painful and it will be different
  • What needs to be done

 

#10: STRATEGIC PATH TO IMPLEMENT XXX

There are two requirements to implement ANY strategy successfully

#11: THE FIRST REQUIREMENT

1 >> A NEW MINDSET

  • To SEE a different future
  •  To BELIEVE that future
  • To DISCARD the old
  • To be BRAVE when facing uncertainty
  • And to COMMIT TOTALLY to it…

SUCCESS WITHOUT COMMITMENT IS IMPOSSIBLE

If XXX has X likes and X updates (on the Facebook page) in a 6 month period, the natural question is whether we are committed to making a success of the digital future?

WARNING SIGN…

There is always an argument to stop. There is always a reason to go back. If this happens, it is because there never really was a new mindset in the first place.

#12: THE SECOND REQUIREMENT

2 >> A NEW PLAN

  • Consider all the OPTIONS
  • Make smart DECISIONS
  • Work like HELL

And the first step of developing a plan for the future is to understand a very simple and basic OVERLOOKED question:

#13: WHAT BUSINESS ARE WE IN?

You can’t articulate a credible new future if you don’t really understand what business you are in in the first instance.


The rest of the discussion is specific and confidential to that company. In the last few slides we covered:

WHAT BUSINESS ARE WE REALLY IN?

THIS RAISES STRATEGIC QUESTIONS ABOUT THE BUSINESS MODEL FOR YOU

Example 1

Example2

ONCE RESOLVED, THESE ARE THE CRITICAL IMPLEMENTATION DECISIONS

THEN TO THE SOLUTION

EXPLORING THE IDEA OF XXX

THE RATIONALE IS PRETTY SIMPLE…

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