DecisionProcessesHandshakeWe are as proud of our client list as we are grateful for the experience of working with them. We have learned much from our clients and in many ways our processes and even our tools are the product of learning we have undergone jointly.

Our engagement style is one of working with clients in a team setting. Probably because our processes require client personnel, not us, to be the creators of decisions and strategies, we develop strong bonds with the individuals we work with. Several clients have told us we are the first management consultants they have hired who have not created resentment and dissention in the ranks. We believe this is due at least as much to the processes we teach as it is to our style.

A Success Story

The plant was an irredeemable dog. So went the corporate folklore. Good investment dollars had been thrown after bad, and the hoped-for revenue boost had never appeared.

But the President suspected hidden potential, feeling that if only he could harness the creativity of his intelligent team they could unlock that potential and the asset could be turned around.

Provoked by the President to think “wide” and out of the box, the team used a strategy dialog process to explore a large array of decision alternatives. Collecting ideas from plant operators and executives alike, the team was able to create a rich new strategy for the plant that simultaneously increased value and reduced risk. They estimated a value, had they continued to operate as in the past, of $20 million for future cash flows from the plant. With the new strategy, the NPV rose to $55 million.

The key to the strategy came from learning brought to the surface by the structured decision process. They learned that the plant should use intermediate quality inputs to create high value outputs rather than use low quality inputs to create intermediate quality outputs as had previously been believed best.

This team won the Chairman’s award that year. In his praise for the team, the President noted the importance of the process: “The process is interactive, allowing for and demanding multiple scenarios, and provokes questions by the working team in addition to management. As a result, we understood the risks and potentials more clearly and made a better, more informed, strategy choice.” Enthusiastic execution of the new strategy left no one in doubt that this dog was no longer a dog.

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