How Can An Organization Improve Without First Learning Something New?
Challenge: Solving a problem, introducing a product, and re-engineering a process all require new perspectives and a willingness and ability to act. In the absence of learning, companies—and individuals—simply repeat old practices. Change remains cosmetic, and improvements are either fortuitous or short-lived.
A few farsighted executives have recognized the link between learning and ongoing improvement, refocusing their companies around this concept. Scholars, too, have jumped on the bandwagon, beating the drum for “learning organizations” and “knowledge-creating companies”, particularly in rapidly changing businesses like semiconductors and consumer electronics.
Solution: ICG Consulting has designed a program around five specific case studies of major strategic decisions (significant acquisitions, expansion into new markets, growing a vertical channel) over the past 5 years. Through these case studies, the training provides a comprehensive foundation for strategy. The training program looks at three key aspects that contributed to their success:
- A uniform set of strategy fundamentals: consistent definitions, building blocks and guidance questions.
- A set of tools to help executives learn how best to lead.
- A set of five tactics that executives can use to successfully take on new strategic challenges.
- Frame: Clearly assess the problem, including the company’s aspiration, objectives and scope.
- Diagnose: Look at the current situation and future scenarios, including external trends and forces, the company’s competitive position and performance, and the relative attractiveness of different options.
- Design: Generate a solution that aligns with the company’s portfolio strategy, business strategy, and business model strategy. Clarify where to play and how to win.
- Test: Stress-test the strategy to ensure it is coherent, robust and ready to execute.
- Execute: Implement the new strategy, clarifying initiatives, owners, resources, success metrics and a mechanism for capturing lessons learned.
Engagement: ICG is currently offering this training program as a two-day, in-person seminar for senior leaders, led by one of ICG’s consulting executives. A four-hour e-learning version of the class will then be offered to a broader segment of the company’s executives. This e-learning course will be hosted online as a Google+ Hangouts, as part of the client’s internal education platform.