What is the Process for Corporate Strategy Studies
There is a lot of confusion about what corporate strategy is and how corporate strategy studies are different from other types of strategy.
The reality is that most corporate strategy studies take place between 5-10 weeks. You’re going to any company, you can usually complete a corporate strategy study in that time. In the Corporate Strategy and Transformation study on StrategyTraining.com, we took 12 weeks because of the transformation aspect. We did use an accelerated process of the standard approach used in all corporate strategy studies.
No objective function
Corporate strategy is more difficult than other types of strategy since there is no objective function. There is no guide in terms of what you need to do. It is so broad that most consultants get scared and offer more of the same. The guide is missing, and that is what makes corporate strategy very different from other types of strategy.
Greater degree of business judgement is required
Corporate strategy lacks heavy numerical analysis. And this may be counterintuitive to many people, but true corporate strategy does involve numerical analysis, but it is not as heavy as in other types of strategy. It, however, requires an excessive amount of business judgment. And that’s something that many people don’t really understand.
Many people think you’re just going to have to analyze your way out of it. But it doesn’t work that way. Which is why corporate strategy teams are so elite. It’s not because of the analytic skills advantage. Corporate strategy consultants do have strong analytical skills, but it’s more about the way they interpret things. They have a stronger business judgment than other teams. They have to use the interpretation skills to a greater degree.
Case studies, industry, competitors
A big component of what we do in corporate strategy studies is understanding what’s happening in the sector, industry, competitors, case studies, and so on. That’s not really quantitative, if you think about it. The most quantitative work we do is around sizing different markets. And determining what’s going to happen. Maybe look at profit pools, but that’s about it.
Most consultants don’t really worry about developing these skills. When it comes to case studies, I know that most consultants shy away from them. But the reality is that if you can do case studies, you can absolutely control the direction of a corporate strategy study. You are leading that piece of work, which is going to give direction to the team.
Picking a market
Also, you have to pick a market. You have to decide if you should tell this company to become a media player. It’s hard to predict where markets are going to be. It’s one of the biggest gambles that you make in corporate strategy. You may be saying, “No, that is not true. Of course, analysis can allow you to predict where market is going to be.” But if that were true, then you’re telling me all those guys in Silicon Valley are not really that smart because they’re putting in venture capital money into multiple industries without doing this so-called magic analysis, that you’re aware of, that can figure out where the market is going to be. I don’t think those guys are silly. I think they’re pretty smart.
And that’s a hard thing for people to understand about corporate strategy. Because we grew up in a world where, “Oh, if you do analysis, you are so brilliant. If you build complex Excel models, you’re so smart. If you’re good at numbers, you obviously become a better corporate strategy consultant.” But if you’re only good at numbers, and can’t deal with the soft areas, like extracting themes and case studies in some cases, you’re going to be a horrible corporate strategy consultant.
Remember corporate strategy is different from all other kinds of strategy, because it heavily requires business judgment. It also requires analysis that people do not assume is important in management consulting, like trend analysis, case studies and so on.
To learn more about the process for corporate strategy studies, once you join as Insider or Legacy member, refer to this episode of the Corporate Strategy and Transformation study.
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