Helping businesses, campaigns and organisations develop their strategy.
Strategy, Storytelling & Speaker Coaching from a TEDMED Speaker Coach
The Storytelling Process
Stage 1: Strategy
Goals and objectives are usually reasonably obvious and often focused on profit, headcount, turnover, footprint etc. But the key to achieving those goals is the quality of the strategy and the resultant actions. Strategy is such a big directional pull on the organisation that when it is good it rewards incrementally, and sometimes slowly. But when it’s bad the repercussions and the costs carry on long after it is recognised as being bad and the decision is taken to ditch it. You have to get it right - often under extreme pressure.
Strategy obviously has to be based on accurate knowledge of the market and the organisation. Which is fine in start ups but in larger businesses, too often it is based on internal assumptions and givens - foundations that are often wrong or unreliable or outdated. A questioning outside voice can be helpful.
Strategy Case Study: from Loss to Profit
I was asked by the head of a privately owned German industrial group to “temporarily” look after a small group of 3 manufacturing companies with 135 staff. I was there for 3 years. One of the companies was bleeding 1 Deutsche Mark for every 3 Deutsche Marks it turned over!
I looked at the numbers and the margins and travelled thousands of miles to listen to clients on building sites around Germany - not many of whom were happy. I listened to unhappy and panicking staff and looked very hard at what we were good at and where we were vulnerable or adding no real value. We were burning money and time wasn't on our side.
Plus, we were legally unable to make any redundancies because of the terms of the purchase contracts with the German Treuhand - these were formerly nationalised cooperatives in the DDR.
I closed down 2 of our low margin buy-and-resell lines to focus on what we actually made and sacked some of the more troublesome low margin wholesale clients. I hired and trained a retail sales force to sell directly and more locally at better margins, repainted the grubby factory exterior and put in place an in-house “quick and dirty” marketing, PR and advertising campaign. I called in our suppliers and renegotiated prices and terms. Cost of Materials dropped from 56% to 46.5%. Turnover dropped by 24%, but - without any redundancies - losses fell from 33% of turnover to 4% of the reduced turnover in the following year and into profit the next year.
The companies were turned around and then exited. The strategy took time, and it certainly wasn’t the easiest years of my life, but it worked.
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29 Things I Have Learnt as a
I have been fortunate enough to coach nearly 100 TEDMED and TEDx speakers, some of whom have been featured on TED.COM.
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