After several decades of helping companies grow, a few key concepts have emerged and become a strong foundation for the methodology we use with clients. Over the years, these concepts have been validated by the performance results and growth experienced by clients–even and especially in mature industries.
In fact, in 2011, the year the company celebrated our ten year anniversary, we re-branded at our clients behest to reflect the basic belief that there is an opportunity for any business to achieve double-digit growth –if they want to do the work.
The 3D Breakthrough Solution is responsible for the following results:
- An athletic product manufacturer, founded in 1918, that has grown 92% in 7 years in large part by acquisition and profit growth has outstripped revenue growth
- A food packaging manufacturer that turned around declining business without capital investment; they doubled in five years and were acquired by a PE firm allowing the leadership to retire comfortably.
- A food distributor that has successfully transitioned company to second generation and added strategic clarity ensuring another generation of success and wealth.
- A telecommunications company that was growing too fast created infrastructure to enable successful growth to continue more than doubling their revenue in less than five years.
- A health care clinic that reduced the number of initiatives by 2/3 allowing them to focus on game changers that mattered and secure significant progress toward desired outcomes.
If you share any of the same issues these companies did–short on innovation, slowed sales, squeezed margins, lost customers, new competitors, too much to do and too little time–the 3D Breakthrough Solution may be helpful.
So what is it?
3D Breakthrough Solution is a three step process of providing strategic leadership to your organization. It will require changes–it will demand you know (facts), not just guess (opinions and anecdotes), about the market you serve; it will insist that you engage and align the leadership team in current reality, it will teach you to turn over rocks to find hidden gems of growth, the work leads to vastly improved implementation where resources support the goals of the organization and everyone sleeps at night!
Discovery: The Personal Breakthrough
In this stage an organization introduces and practices the concept of “outside-in” thinking. What do we know about the market? How fast is it growing? Where is it headed? Which competitors matter (the answer may surprise you!)? What issues must we respond to? How can we solve problems for the market or our customers? Which customers are our most profitable customers? Who should our target customer be?
The Personal Breakthrough comes when you, as the leader, understand the importance of thinking about the business in new ways that shine the light on market-driven growth opportunities.
The better the market insight, the more likely you will have market success. For an organization to experience breakthrough growth, the leader must have a personal breakthrough that emboldens them to challenge current thinking.
Development: The Leadership Breakthrough
This encompasses what many think of as strategic planning–the opportunity to define the future of the business. It is usually crafted by a team of top leaders and needs to be future focused rather than an extension of the past.
In this stage, the goal is to define the best way to grow (the how) as well as the target customer, where/how to sell, anticipated market impact and responses, how to drive profit and similar topics.
It might include work on defining the brand, determining the role of acquisitions or re-configuring performance management, depending on your organization’s and marketplace challenges as identified in Discovery. This leadership journey through which the growth strategy is crafted provides the future direction and aligns the organization across its operating areas.
When the team jointly participates in the “ah-ha” moment(s), alignment and commitment permeates the organization, through its leaders, enabling a leadership breakthrough.
Delivery: The Company Breakthrough
In my Vistage talk, “4 Things a CEO Cannot Delegate” I ask the group which of the four topics–marketing, culture, strategy and strategic implementation–they need the most help with. Invariably, they choose implementation as the most challenged.
It is in this stage, Delivery, that the implementation plan is built to ensure that the work of strategy becomes integrated into day-to-day operations. Until it is merged, it will always be “project” work and run the risk of dying a death of no time or resources. We do a number of things in this stage including:
- Identifying and prioritizing the key initiatives to move the company from where they are to where they want to be
- Building a project plan that manages time and people–your scarcest resources
- Determining resource allocation alignment
- Identifying meaningful measures and
- Building an ongoing communication plan.
The goal is to be sure when planning ends and implementation begins, everyone that plays a role in success understands what is expected of them from day one. All stakeholders must know they need to deliver and held accountable for results. As the company lives into its future and as the employees are engaged in adding value to the organization, the company achieves breakthrough growth.
While the solution is constant, there are many tools used within it. No 2 processes look exactly the same. Why should they–each organization is different and needs a unique solution. There are also well over 250 “strategic” tools available for strategic leaders to deploy.
No different than a carpenter with a variety of saws, they have different purposes and benefits. Knowing which to use and how to mix them is important. What should you look for in a strategic planning partner?
As you approach the role of leadership that cannot be delegated–planning for the future well-being of the company, be sure you deploy a proven solution that causes you to examine the market in depth without rose-colored glasses (Discovery), makes tough choices as a team about where the business wants to be in 3-5 years and how it will get there (Development) and finally, provides the action plan to make it all happen. (Delivery).
If you do, you may well find yourself enjoying the same benefits as the companies earlier in the post.