Strategy Drives Focus
Case | Examples
Brief case examples describe situation, solution, results for an exit and a reversal:
Anyone can identify a gap. Anyone can also extrapolate a strategy and apply it to any given business situation. Such cases are experience building events.
Few can design and implement effective strategies that are more holistic, more complete from multiple perspectives within a rapidly changing world. The design and implementation of effective strategies requires more than study, it requires a broad range of experiences, sensibilities and abilities.
Effective strategies need to be invented on a case by case basis.
A build-to-print weld shop. Three enthusiastic entrepreneurs on the periphery of the semiconductor industry, an industry invented right down the street at Bell Labs. Some conversational and business process design principles derived from the philosophical works of Dr. Fernando Flores.
How the business was going to make money was clear. The business was a small, established concern, already doing business in the industry. But, the financial prospects of a build-to-print are limited. While investment partners were sought, none jumped in to invest.
A change was needed to produce more cash flow for three enthusiastic entrepreneurs and those that would follow.
My imagination, to become more of an engineering partner to our customers took hold. Soon the three of us were co-inventing a strategy. The clarity of that strategy gave us clear direction on what specifics needed to be implemented.
We chose to embark on a contract manufacturing path and rigorously focus on the rapid delivery of quality products and services to our customers.
We built a modular clean room within the industrial space we were renting. Clean rooms were expensive to build, but the kind we built only needed to be certified to a specific cleanliness level and big enough to work in.
We sought and received vendor certification from two of the big five semiconductor equipment manufacturers. They were all here in our Silicon Valley backyard.
We grew from three guys and little revenue to six hundred people operating out of four facilities in two states, California and Texas, in five to six years. During that time period we grew revenue from $35K / Mo. to over $835K / Mo. After six years we were selling to all five of the big local players. In year eight we received one order, from one customer that was worth $100MM.
The company was sold to a large conglomerate.
A medical device company. Amazing, proven technology. $20MM raised from top tier venture capital providers. A recent, board ordered, C.E.O. changeout strategy had given the day to day reins to a Harvard M.B.A. with a track record within medical, but not the exact space. Fifty people working to burn about $500K / Mo., not much money left in the bank and no real customers in sight.
On deeper review there were other issues; The device recipe had been lost; The C.E.O. and the V.P. of Engineering were engaged in a type of decipt. They were deciving the board relative to their progress on product A, while actually funneling resources to product B. Never telling the board that the device recipe had indeed been lost.
A drastic turn around. The company needed to recreate the device recipe. The burn needed to be cut. The deceit needed to end and the company needed a clear focus and direction.
My colleagues and I encouraged the C.E.O. to fire the V.P. of Engineering, which he did, not seeing that this would draw close scrutiny from the board. The board fired the C.E.O. the next day.
This placed the company in the hands of our colleague. An employee that had been instrumental in the companies formation, but previously overlooked. With my partner and I as consultants, we worked with our employee colleague to design and implement a new strategy.
Using business process design methodology we quickly researched the exact circumstances everyone was working under. We conducted a series of discussions in which it was easy to tell who was engaged and who was not. We mapped a new path of specific actions that needed to be taken.
We ended the deceit. We contracted from a head count of 50 to about 25 to cut the payroll burn. Key leaders invented a plan to recover the device recipe.
The company not only survived, but thrived. The device recipe was restored and the product launched.
The company was sold to a large conglomerate.
If you, your business, or a business you have invested in is stuck, and you can admit it, we should talk.
I would be honored to hear from you! — David
My background is business. My history as a strategist includes: three successful exits, two successful turn arounds, lots of failures and the adoption of an $800MM county bond measure.
My education has been appropriation by desire. I never graduated from college, but I believe in and practice continuous learning. I study and apply the disciplines of biology, linguistics, human behavior, effective action and a variety of other subjects in my work with business leaders.
I help companies get unstuck. I consult with and facilitate the mobilization of business owners, executives and management teams in the areas of strategy, implementation, innovation, human dynamics and coordination waste.
The foundation for my own success and the thinking behind much of what I practice, teach, talk about and write comes from the works of Dr. Fernando Flores and his colleague Chauncey Bell.
Dr. Fernando Flores — Philosopher, Businessman, former Chilean Minister of Finance and former Chilean Senator — is a true visionary, inventor, innovator, author, and speaker.
Chauncey Bell — Mobilization Maestro — also a true visionary, inventor, author, and speaker.
It is no wonder they are long time friends and collaborators. Without their works, I would not only be someone different, I would be far less successful and wealthy, not necessarily in riches, but in my perspectives; who I strive to be; my view of life; and my fortune to have an incredible family and amazing friends.
*All views expressed are my own, and should not be interpreted as being shared or endorsed by persons or companies mentioned.*