A major European Agricultural Company, with sales over $10 billion, was in need of a radical change in its business model to survive in the harsh international marketplace. After an unsuccessful effort by a reputable, international consulting company to develop a creditable strategic plan, the company turned to a small firm of international commodity risk managers, whose practical expertise and lucid vision of the future of the industry had impressed the company’s senior management.
The charge by management — to identify the risks facing the company and develop a comprehensive new strategy — was the largest project in scale and scope that the small consulting firm had ever undertaken. I was asked by the head of the firm to coach his team in tackling this huge task. We decided that, instead of trying to work from our outsiders perspective, we should look to the expertise of the operating managers within the company. Their wealth of existing knowledge helped identify the internal risks, the greatest hurdles, as well as the opportunities for growth. With their input—combined with the broad and lucid market perception of our team—a practical new strategy was developed, well within the money and time budget. The strategy was accepted by senior management, and its implementation started immediately.
The key success factors in this project were:
- Identify your own strength and weakness —allowing other’s strengths to assist your weaknesses.
- Close teamwork from inception: based on open minds, communication and mutual respect
- Share the rewards of the positive outcome with the clients’ team, which in turn will fuel and support a positive implementation.