Turn Strategy Into Action

A leadership team homes in on what they know they can do best

CONTEXT

A national leadership team of a pharmaceutical company was faced with very ambitious growth targets and decided to review its business strategy to identify opportunities for growth in an overall flat market.

There was some shared sense of strategic priorities and what the key elements of the business’ value proposition were. However, across functions there was disagreement about what really created a differentiating advantage for this company and where investments had to be made to build and sustain that edge. Execution across functions wasn’t aligned and leaders openly expressed doubt that their current business approach could meet the high expectations placed upon them.

APPROACH

After a needs assessment with all team members, this process was designed as a series of three strategic execution workshops.

We introduced a pragmatic framework to examine and describe organizational strategy. An early priority of this process was to help leaders define strategy using a shared vocabulary. This would enable leaders to consistently communicate the strategy across functions to the rest of organization.

Between sessions, we used task teams to gather more market and customer data and to explore the viability and acceptance of various alternatives that the leadership team saw.

Once a clear, differentiating and believable strategy statement was agreed upon, the team broke strategic priorities and capability building initiatives down to a tactical planning level in the various marketing, sales, R&D, and operational functions. The final session was used to align functional strategic planning by looking at crucial interdependencies.

RESULTS

The team defined its 3-year strategy in 30 words. The clarity of this statement and the willingness to take an unambiguous stand was very positively met by the organization and galvanized support.

The team built consensus around what the key strategic priorities were. They gained the confidence to make difficult decisions that had been avoided in the past such as backeding up their agreed upon priorities with necessary investments, training initiatives, and structural changes.