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Topic: Strategy

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How Do You Present Your Strategy ?

Posted by Anonymous on 125 Points
Dear All

I read with great interest many of the questions and answers on this site, a fantastic resource but I still have not found any information on FORMATS of Strategy. What do I mean ?

I'm currently writing a quick fix strategy for a local brewery here in the UK. They have a number of good brands under their title, strong family brewed ales that are rich in tradition. There is only a small cross section of consumers that they could target aside from their existing consumer base.

As I sat at my PC thinking about how I could help them shout from the roof tops how good their products are, I wondered how my new strategy should be presented.

I often use powerpoint - a collection of pictures/graphs and bullet points. Should I be using Word, do I use paragraphs or Bullet points - should I write a report of many pages only to have it suitably vex and fly over the head of my new brewing friends. Have they got the time to indulge reading such a laboured attempt ? Much of what I have read to date doesn't "apply" to a pint of beer. As long as it is served correctly, tastes good for the consumer then it does its job. The English are a fickle bunch. So, my question is does the variation in format I mention above work for anyone else. I have yet to see some real actual worked examples of strategy from anyone else...or have I just not been looking hard enough. This is not a criticism of course.

This question is also born out of another request I saw posted from a fellow strategist. Seemingly desperate to find some good examples of Global Marketing Strategy that others have written, I couldn't help feeling that he still didn't get what he wanted. He got some references to text book flowcharts but not worked examples. I have to sympathize for him. We use examples of flow charts from insightful theorists but how does this apply to the real nuts of bolts when developing a single simple product. When one is sat in ones home office typing away at the keyboard.

It would be useful for the forum members I think to see some worked examples. Obviously much of this type of information is highly confidential but examples of past work would be really very useful.

  • Posted by Chris Blackman on Accepted
    I know I must sound like a broken record here but I cannot find a better way to articulate whole-of-business strategy than using a strategy map based on a Balanced Scorecard methodology.

    We tend to use our version of the Balanced Scorecard as an articulation and communication framework because the visual representation of strategy via a map or cause-and-effect diagram helps communicate the strategy very, very clearly to everyone who needs to know.

    We start with a strategic planning process to gather all the key points about the internal and external environment, then develop a view about the organisation's value proposition and objectives across the Financial, Customer, Internal Process, and Learning and Growth perspectives. Or across other perspectives instead/as well, if relevant...

    The great thing is that any manager involved in the process can take away a map and explain it to her/his team and they instantly "get" the part they play in delivering the targeted outcomes.

    If you need more info contact me via my profile here on KHE. If you like, I could draw up your strategy into this map format - although you could just as easily draft it yourself using the drawing functions in PowerPoint or Visio.

    Hope this helps.

  • Posted by Peter (henna gaijin) on Accepted
    Use PowerPoint for presentation. Usually this is done when you have multiple people you are presenting to. Can also be used to guide discussions, but I often would just use a flip chart or white board for this.

    Use Word (or similar) for printed reports.

    I always start a written report with an executive summary. I try to distill down the recommendations (what fllows) to a few paragraphs (definitely less than a page) to provide the quick summary for those who don't have time to read the whole thing.

    What follows can vary, depending on the details you go to, what is involved, etc. A very detailed one could be a full marketing or business plan, which runs many pages. But a minimalistic version would have a problem/background section, a proposal section, and alternate proposals.
  • Posted by Chris Blackman on Accepted
    From Douglas' post, I sense there may be many people out there who do not really understand what a proper strategy map looks like. This isn't surprising because I meet CEOs, CFOs, CMOs and strategy specialists who think they understand, then see the light when they see how it's done properly. Sometimes I think they are scared to admit they don't really know something...

    Go to the link in my earlier post and click through to the example map (here's a direct link to the picture, which is a typical, although very generic, strategy map.

    You don't really need a Powerpoint slide show to share strategy with your stakeholders when it's this clear and simple.

    One picture, and a brief verbal description, is all it takes. Every stakeholder "gets" it, and every stakeholder will understand where they fit into the bigger picture.

    Hope this helps


  • Posted by mgoodman on Accepted
    You have to tailor your presentation/format to suit the audience. How will they best understand and receive the information you're giving them?

    For some audiences, PowerPoint is great, and some like a written document as a leave-behind. Others are intimidated by such a formal presentation approach, and they would prefer to just sit around a table and listen to you present -- perhaps with a flip-chart or whiteboard to draw the strategy map, make a bucket list, etc. Or you might want to have 2 or 3 pages of hand-outs to distribute during your talk.

    There is no single right or best way to present strategy. You have to understand how your audience thinks and how they best accept new ideas. THAT is the best way to present anything -- including strategy recommendations.
  • Posted on Member
    Hi Al

    I would agree with you, there is no one strategy presentation to suit all.

    At the end of the day, what is the point of any presentation? We are basically selling a solution. Your presentation is selling an instrument to change.

    You and your team may have the best solution to a client's problem but it is totally useless if your presentation is not structured in a clear, concise and convincing way.

    There have been many a time when weak ideas, presented well, were well received and conversely, great ideas died a sad death from a bad presentation.

    Michael touched on an important point about tailoring your presentation to your target audience. To add to Michael's point, you also need active and progressive buy-in, before formal presentation, to build concensus with key decision makers, flexibility and have a respectful atittude for your target audience too.

    No matter how brilliant any presentation, if you don't have buy-in the company will not act upon your recommendations. There are shelves and shelves of boardrooms' stacked with presentations' that haven't seen the light of day outside the board room.

    The importance of getting buy-in from decision makers outside of the formal meeting is essential and greatly increases your chances of success. It helps avoid surprises, for you and your client, and gives time for informal discussion to address concerns you can gauge and react to. You have the opportunity to adapt and change solutions to missed information, ego-centric and political realities of organizations to ensure your solutions are accepted and implemented. And you can only do this if you build support with the right people beforehand.

    In addition to getting buy-in, tailoring your presentation doesn't just mean knowing what your target audience likes or dislikes, but knowing which aspects to highlight for different parts of your audience/group, using familiar approaches to them if needed, knowing how their thought process works, presenting in language and familiar terms and jargon they use.

    And, yes, the best presenters are great acting on the fly when you get a curve ball thrown at you. But if you have a solid structure in your presentation there will be flexibility to change your pitch depending on reactions from your audience.

    Lastly, I mentioned 'respect' because it is still important to emphasize and recognize we are here to serve clients. And no matter how small or large an organization is, being respectful to your target audience goes a long way.

    Hope this helps and let us know how you get on.

    Zahid Adil

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