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LAB Retail Banking Market Entry Strategy – update

The most frequent emails we get are about our LAB Retail Banking Market Entry Strategy material and its upcoming release. This update will hopefully answer the questions you have.

The LAB Retail Banking Market Entry Strategy is the big one. There should be no doubt about this and it is done in a very innovative way.

We have been working on this for close to 9 months now. So why have we not finished and released it? The simple answer is that it is ready but we want to make it much better than the corporate strategy study.

My view is that things should not be released just to meet a deadline. They must substantially improve on what we have done before and what is available to McKinsey and BCG consultants. We must set the standard. Period. And as long as McKinsey and BCG consultants remain our largest client base we remain confident that we are sticking to that goal.

While the corporate strategy study was far better than any other strategy training program anywhere in the world, we must improve on what we do. So, here are some of the things that will make the market entry strategy better and, in our opinion, worth the wait.

First, the market entry study is a real study for a real client with real issues that are affecting all US financial services companies. There is nothing fictitious or made up about this study. Dealing with a real client increases the level of complexity by a factor of 100 versus the previous study we completed.

We conducted well over +300 interviews and discussions for the market entry study and audio recorded all of them.

We are going to release this study a little differently. It is a very complex study and simply throwing out everything on the Internet is not going to work. It will overwhelm readers and at worst, force them to skim the material and learn the wrong things. Imagine sifting through +300 unedited audio interviews and 300 videos. That would be torturous.

Therefore, we are going to release the study in phases.

Phase 1: In phase 1 we are going to dramatically ramp up the way we teach strategy. We are going to do something that has never been done before.

This is a set of 60 – 90 minutes podcasts over 10 to 20 episodes (we have not decided yet) outlining the study as we went through the analyses. We will narrate the study and edit in the key audio clips as we speak to the client, board members and various stakeholders.

So you listen to what we heard during this study and listen to us as we think through the issues. If we interviewed a bank official, we will edit in  just the most important parts of the conversation. All of this is edited so you just see the critical path of our thinking.

We feel this is necessary to help you understand the strategy and analyses issues. The problem with listening to just the videos of the slides is  the detail is good but it is hard to see the big picture. We find that most clients miss the major strategy issues and the podcast series will tie everything together.

Creating these podcasts is a task in itself. It is like creating mini-television shows, editing in audio and creating the story.

We also undertook clever ways to help you understand each issue. For example, in analyzing the demand side of the market you can listen to us take over a borrower’s business in East Los Angeles and help her grow her business. You can listen to us setting up her personal and corporate bank account with her bank, navigating the insurance maze, leases and tax details. In other words, you get a real feeling for the demand side of the market. Think of this as the bottom-up analyses.

We then roll the insights from this exercise into the calculations to estimate the total demand market. This is the top-down analyses.

All episodes involve us getting a little dirty as we dive into the trenches to understand the issues and then dive back out to analyze things like a consultant. In other words, think of our roll-up-the-sleeves-work as the shadow-studies and focus interview to understand an issue.

Now, getting legal releases for +300 interviews is not easy. Even though the client agreed to the study, each employee and external person interviewed must also independently sign a release. That took a lot of time.

Moreover, did you know it is illegal to record a Federal US Government employee even if that employee provided explicit written or recorded verbal permission for the recording? These are just some of the wonderful obstacles we had to navigate.

The first episode of the study will be released to subscribers of the strategy training library in December and thereafter we will release episodes every 2 to 3 weeks. Given all the moving parts involved we cannot predict an exact date, but we feel very confident it will be in early-mid December. Yet, if early December passes and nothing goes out, it just means some other legal obstacle crept up setting us back a week or two, or three.

Phase 2: In phase two we will release all the study material including those detailed maps of the study with the power points and videos.

We have also re-edited the live blog and republished it by linking each post to a different part of the study.

What has made this study so much tougher to do is the level of complexity, financial analyses and strategy analyses done. This is not a easy study to understand and we have taken much more time to build out the videos and power points.

Phase 2 will only be released when the podcasts are finished. We are going to bleed it in to avoid scaring subscribers.

So, this study has 5 major differences to give you a real feel for a strategy study:

–       It is a real study.

–       Everything is audio recorded

–       A podcast series tying together the study and analyses

–       Written guides

–       More detailed power point and videos

We have come a long way in teaching consultants and executives about strategy. We started off with our books in 2010. We improved that method with the corporate strategy study and strategy library in 2014. Now we hope to improve things with the market entry strategy study.

For those wondering how the corporate and market entry strategy differ, the names are the start but also see the differences above between a real and simulated study. Beyond the differences above, one is about corporate strategy and the other about market entry strategy – those are very different animals. The corporate strategy study is also easier to understand and we recommend starting there. The market entry strategy will be a little easier to understand after watching the corporate strategy study.

Finally, current subscribers will receive access to the new study material at the current price. They may also receive exclusive invites to sessions with the team to discuss the study! Those who subscribe after the market entry study is released will have to do so on a new price.

If you still think you need to learn all of this in a consulting firm like McKinsey, remember that TCO III is still taking applications – so far we have 67 applications from the US to Kyrgyzstan. So the odds of being selected are pretty good.

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