AT Kearney Training Business Strategy Development in an Competitive Landscape

Any great consulting firm has a suite of classic and emerging business strategy development frameworks. Firms and consultants use these business strategy development approaches to look at, analyze, and solve a number of different types of business problems, which occur in different business situations. Many such business strategy concepts hinge on the foundational thought leadership of Michael Porter, the originator of contemporary business strategy. Through the years, top consultancies, such as McKinsey and Bain, have come up with frameworks that are widely used in the corporate world today.


Structured business communication is oftentimes framed under a business framework. Crawl Walk Run is a popular way of thinking for representing the progression of organizational change, from an initial crawl stage eventually to walk activities and eventually tothe run phase of automated processes. The Pyramid Principle is ingrained into the presentation storyboarding process. Well known ones include Pinto?s Pyramid Principle, which is commonly used by management consultants and management executives in developing ppt presentations.

A common business strategy problem many methodologies aim to solve is the challenge of achieving sustainable sales growth. In particular, enterprise companies struggle to grow. Companies that have greater than 20% sales growth almost always dwindle down to 8% within 5 years. Between the 1960s and 2010, Fortune 500 companies experience an average growth rate of in less than 6% in real terms (and under 10% in nominal terms). Only about a third of the Fortune 500 companies are able to sustain revenue growth above the national GDP and generate returns above the Standard & Poors 500. Furthermore, real revenue growth is much less stable than ROIC ranging from 1% to 11%. Also, 90% of them are focused across the 4 sectors of Financial Services, Life Sciences, Technology, and Retail. For those companies that do achieve high growth rates, these growth rates also decay quickly. The fact is that most organizations have difficulty achieving significant growth, YoY.

For traditional growth strategy thinking, many people rely on the time-tested business strategy framework Porter?s Five Forces, developed by Porter. In Porter?s Five Forces, we look into various forces that affect any sector, which include internal rivalry, threat of new entrants, customer power, supplier negotiation power, and threat of substitution products. By evaluating these industry forces, an organization can decide on its competitive strategy, which falls into either one of four focus areas: cost leadership, differentiation strategy, cost focus, or differentiation focus.

There are a number of paths to growth, which can be categorized into the two areas of increasing existing business scope and growing the value from current business. To maximize the value from the existing business, a company can better its value proposition, strengthen customer relationships, optimize pricing, penetrate new markets with their existing offerings, and improve its product mix. To expand the business scope, an organization can branch off into emerging segments, expand into new categories, develop new services, innovate new brands, develop new formats and distribution channels, and expand geographically.

To develop a robust business strategy, organizations all must perform business strategy development beginning with a collective set of beliefs around its business positioning and identified strategic barriers to growth. Proper strategy development involves more than a focus on maximizing profitability. Strategy is about value innovation, strategy is about competitive selection, and strategy is about business agility. To properly gauge and analyze your strategic challenges, you must begin with a comprehensive current state understanding of your situation. The next steps include defining what the future state vision of the organization is and then delving into the details of strategically planning how to achieve that state.

A newer business strategy development idea addressing the growth strategy challenge is called Blue Ocean Strategy. Blue Ocean Strategy represents a shift in thinking to make competition irrelevant, thus creating a blue ocean; whereas, in the traditional competitive environment, business play in a crowded, red ocean business environment. With value identification, a company truly understands what the customer values and prioritizes its resources and business initiatives per such customer-centric beliefs. Effective business execution relies on both concept execution and creating a sustainable organization culture. Value Innovation Strategy thinking focuses on enabling innovation, value creation, and effective execution. With value creation, a business selects and develops the optimal growth option by finding the best tradeoff between costs and value.
business strategy