Market Echoes is here to connect you to your customer - from every aspect of your business
Whatever your organisation does, it should echo the wants and needs of your customers. Not just your products and services, but also the teams, processes, culture, communication and strategies behind them, and therefore your customer
What makes us different is that everything we do - consultancy, development or training starts and finishes with the customer
Get a real return from your Strategy Away Day(s)
“We thought you’d come up with a set of focused strategies – but instead we ended up with understanding we’ll never achieve our ambitions until we sort our admin. We were going round in circles. We are now recruiting an HR manager and have a clear plan for growth.” Managing partner, law firm
“The day was challenging, but thank goodness. We were about to launch a new product and by lunchtime realised it would fail. We hadn’t gone through the process of why customers would buy it, how competitors would respond and what we needed to do to make a premium price work. Half way through the day I rang R&D to cancel the launch – it was that close. By the end of the day we had real insights into our business and a plan that is really working with customers.”
Marketing director, manufacturing company
“We realised our products are not so special after all. You made us break them into competitive parts, comparing them to other manufacturers. We were shocked at how vulnerable we are. But you also made us look at where we out-perform others, and we have now found an edge.”
Chief executive, large manufacturing company
“We wanted to use the day to revisit our detailed strategic plan. By the afternoon we realised that the plan was the problem. Too much text, not enough strategy. We spent the afternoon fine tuning. The end result - a much shortened plan, a more focused strategy.”
Chairman of Governing body, independent day/boarding school
Most companies/organisations hold annual away day/s. It’s a good opportunity to get directors and managers together to explore future directions and strategies.
But anecdotal evidence shows that for every away day that works, another two fail. In fact, many managers approach these with a degree of cynicism (hence the spoof book Five go on a Strategy Away Day!): talking shop, lack of direction, senior domination, another waste of a day!
Why? Too often the chairman or CEO tries to run and facilitate the day. This can lead to its own problems – lack of structure, lack of openness, lack of meaningful discussion, lack of doing things, lack of meaningful outputs. And where the chairman or CEO does encourage an open, structureless format, the day tends to peter out without ever really getting started.
How can you change this?
Julian Rawel is an expert at facilitating strategy away day/s. He has created a unique formula which combines bite-size learning around academic models – from Porter to Christiensen – and then the team applies them to their business.
Managers get a common language and approach – which helps long-term when implementing the strategy. And the rigorous approach helps everyone to look at the business, its customers and people in new ways. As you will see from the quotes, often just in time.
Julian’s background combines an outstanding business career with lecturing in strategy and marketing at top business schools around the world. He has worked in companies large and small, public and private sectors, services and manufacturing, UK and international as a director and a consultant.
His combination of facilitation and education means that away days result in real outputs and a clear understanding of the process of strategy. Both can be implemented immediately.
If you would like to discuss how to get real value from your next away day/s, please email Julian – email@example.com
The Julian Rawel Away Day Process
1. Understanding your business
Ahead of the strategy away day, he learns about the organisation as efficiently as possible – activities, history, strategies, issues. It’s important to understand the organisation, but he doesn’t try to be an expert – he needs to be able to ask “obvious” questions throughout the day/s as part of the facilitation.
He speaks to the commissioning director/manager to understand the objectives of the strategy away day/s and also the dynamics of the attendees - how they might approach the day/s; who might be very vocal, who might need to be encouraged, who just doesn’t want to attend?
Develop an agenda – one that is stretching but affords sufficient time for practical activities, where attendees start to make sense of the issues.
2. Running the strategy away day/s
The away day formula includes short discussion/information sessions where issues are matched to tried, tested and accessible strategy models.
These models then form the structure for short, practical group activities which help to build understanding of “where are we now?”, “where are we going?” These practical activities help to ensure that the outputs of the day/s are developed by the attendees, not the facilitator.
At the end of the day/s attendees can take away both the outputs and the process.
3. After the strategy away day/s
Julian remains available (but this is not essential) to help ensure that the outputs translate into actions and outcomes.
Excellence in teaching is a must have for business school success. Our two e-books, Insights and Essentials show how all faculty can become effective/inspiring teachers. Available as free downloads.
I recently typed this question, “Why are front line customer service people ...read more >
An interesting article in Business Insider UK (May 2017) discussed the importance ...read more >