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8812893896?profile=RESIZE_400xThe phenomenal success of tech innovators using Platforms has spurred a desire in companies, from a greater variety of sectors and markets, to gain advantage of Product to Platform Transformation.

This Transformation is based on the need to model businesses on a Customer-Centric Design approach.  The need has arisen because the concept of Economies of Scale has become archaic and has been taken over by Economies of Unscale.  Each customer is now being offered customized products and solutions.

The phenomenal success, by the trailblazing tech innovators, was achieved partly by deploying Platform Scaling that enabled Business Transformation and monopolization of the market.  Though, this monopolization and questionable use of the Platform, especially data generated therefrom, saw attempts to regulate these tech companies—making the decision to scale a complex one.  Understanding the intricacies of Platform Scaling is thus critical to the development and deployment of any Platform Strategy.

When considering Platform Scaling Strategy, there are 2 key aspects that are of utmost significance:

Regulatory Complexity

Regulatory Complexity means present level of legal and regulatory impediments that govern Platform entry and operation in a sector. 

Regulatory Risk

Regulatory Risk refers to the probability of an upsurge in Legal and Regulatory Costs and Complexity in the future.

Some equitable and measurable metrics for calculating Regulatory Risks do exist but generally it is extremely challenging to predict policy outcomes or even ascribe odds to various outcomes.

A straightforward approach for Platform owners and operators to understand and evaluate the prospective combinations of Regulatory Complexity and Risk is to create a 2×2 matrix of high vs. low for the 2 factors.

Regulatory Complexity and Risk are turning out to be the determining factors in the strategic decision between Fast and Slow Scaling.

Fast Scaling, which has also been referred to as Blitzscaling, requires choosing speed over efficiency.  Fast Scaling has the strategic objective of growing briskly, experimenting swiftly to tweak product-market fit, and taking advantage of robust network effects to achieve and maintain a leading market share.

Fast Scaling is required to activate 3 interconnected positive feedback loops:

  1. Network Loop
  2. Data Loop
  3. Capital Loop.

Slow Scaling is the most sensible strategy in areas with both High Regulatory Complexity and High Regulatory Risk.  Slow Scaling does not disregard the quest for network effects, which are a requirement for success of platform businesses, but it gives preference to analysis, constant growth, and risk curtailment instead of speed.

Platform businesses functioning in High-Risk, High Complexity situations may evade pitfalls by employing 4 key components of Slow-Scaling strategy:

  1. Analysis of the Macro Environment
  2. Careful Risk Management
  3. Investment in Stakeholder Trust
  4. Incremental Geographic Expansion.

Let us now delve a little deeper into the various permutations of Regulatory Complexity and Risk, quadrant-wise, in the matrix.

QUADRANT 1

Regulatory Risk              Regulatory Complexity

Low                                        Low

Compliance costs are comparatively low in such situations and there are no serious deliberations among regulators and policy makers concerning restrictions on business models or operations.

The Strategy in this case is to Scale Fast.

QUADRANT 2

Regulatory Risk             Regulatory Complexity

Low                                        High

Sectors in such scenarios are highly regulated e.g., financial services sector.  Significant workforce is employed in governance, risk management, and compliance activities.  Entering such markets necessitates careful consideration of Regulatory Complexity.

The strategy in such scenarios is to Scale Fast.

QUADRANT 3

Regulatory Risk             Regulatory Complexity

High                                       Low

Operations are generally in a Regulatory void—i.e., no established and powerful regulatory authority, tight net of rules, or strict barriers to entry.  There is a great degree of ambiguity regarding how regulators may react.  Environment in such markets makes it difficult for businesses to mature discrete policy scenarios, allocate probabilities, and make strong assumptions on timing.

Strategy is to Scale Fast in such environments.

QUADRANT 4

Regulatory Risk             Regulatory Complexity

High                                       High

There is high Regulatory Complexity, such as unclear approach by various regulators in the various markets.  There are strong chances of sudden change in regulator and policy maker’s approach due to a particular incident.  Precipitous increase in entire sector’s Regulatory Risk triggered by events is highly likely.

The most sensible strategy in such cases is to Scale Slow.

Interested in learning more about the permutations of these 2 Scaling Strategies, areas of strategic focus, and the 4 components of Slow Scaling Strategy?  You can download an editable PowerPoint on Platform Scaling Strategy here on the Flevy documents marketplace.

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– Roderick Cameron, Founding Partner at SGFE Ltd

stock image 2 - Good Listening skillsHumans instinctively want to share their experiences.  The more experienced a person, the fuller they are with ideas.

Many people view Listening Skills to be of lesser consequence than articulation and focus on learning how they can present their own views more effectively.

Good listening—the keen and orderly pursuit of probing and challenging the information collected from others to enhance its quality and quantity—is key to developing a knowledge-base that creates new insights and ideas.

Listening is unquestionably the most efficient route to making informed judgments, particularly judgments that leaders have to make.  That is why the Soft Skill of Good Listening is considered a building block of Leadership Development.

Good listening can lead to a longer and fruitful relationship at work and elsewhere.  Exceptional Client Management and Team Management, especially, and a host of other situations demand Good Listening skills.  Respecting the speaker, even if there is disagreement and reacting in the moment without expectation is part and parcel of Good Listening Skills.  The speaker should feel respected and understood after having a conversation with a Good Listener.

People possessing Good Listening ability assume a somewhat passive speaking role in the conversation yet actively participate in the conversation using body language and follow-up questions.  They display 3 Critical Behaviors that make them what they are—Great Listeners:

Demonstrate Respect

Making the speaker feel that what they are saying is important.  This feeling gets reciprocated quickly.

Remain Quiet

One cannot really listen while busy talking.  Remaining quiet enables understanding of the actual point the other person is making.

Challenge Assumptions

Good Listeners seek the underlying assumption in the conversation and challenge it.  This generates new ideas and opens up paths untrodden.

Let us look a little more deeply into some of the key characteristics of the 3 Critical Behaviors of Good Listeners.

Demonstrate Respect

People displaying a Problem Solving Mindset solicit input from all levels and demonstrate respect in this manner.  They always make the speakers feel that they have something exclusive to contribute and assume that the conversation partner has the proficiency to develop worthy solutions.

Remain Quiet

In a good conversation, the conversation partner speaks 80% of the time and the Ideal Listener speaks 20% of the time.  A Good Listener poses questions in most of the 20% time.  By remaining quiet the listener’s objective is to extract the prime motivation or thought behind the conversation.  Patience and practice are needed to cultivate the habit of weighing in at the correct moment.

Challenge Assumptions

A Good Listener challenges long-held and valued assumptions in order to make gains from conversations.  Ambiguity is embraced and a quest to uncover what both conversation partners can gain from the conversation is enlivened.

From the above 3 Critical Behaviors, we can synthesize the following 13 actions that a Good Listener should make while in an active conversation:

  1. Be fully present.
  2. Do not listen to respond.
  3. React in the moment.
  4. Do not have an agenda.
  5. Do not jump to give advice.
  6. Never interrupt.
  7. Ask follow-up questions.
  8. Listen as much as (or more than) speaking.
  9. Demonstrate listening.
  10. Be patient.
  11. Listen to learn.
  12. Be interested in what the speaker is interested in.
  13. Summarize what has been heard.

Identifying what a Bad Listener looks like helps avoid such behavior and consequentially move us on the path to becoming a Good Listener.  Bad listeners may be categorized into the following 6 types:

  1. The Opinionator
  2. The Grouch
  3. The Preambler
  4. The Perseverator
  5. The Answer Man
  6. The Pretender

The same person can display these behaviors at different times and under different circumstances.  Perfecting listening skills means learning what prevents us from seeking and hearing the information we need.

Interested in learning more about the critical behaviors and actions of Good Listeners, and 6 Types of Bad Listeners?  You can download an editable PowerPoint on Soft Skills: Good Listening here on the Flevy documents marketplace.

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“As a niche strategic consulting firm, Flevy and FlevyPro frameworks and documents are an on-going reference to help us structure our findings and recommendations to our clients as well as improve their clarity, strength, and visual power.  For us, it is an invaluable resource to increase our impact and value.”

– David Coloma, Consulting Area Manager at Cynertia Consulting

“FlevyPro has been a brilliant resource for me, as an independent growth consultant, to access a vast knowledge bank of presentations to support my work with clients.  In terms of RoI, the value I received from the very first presentation I downloaded paid for my subscription many times over!  The quality of the decks available allows me to punch way above my weight – it’s like having the resources of a Big 4 consultancy at your fingertips at a microscopic fraction of the overhead.”

– Roderick Cameron, Founding Partner at SGFE Ltd

M&A Turnaround Strategy 1The impact of the global pandemic, volatile stock markets, and slowed economic outlook across the globe has hurt the performance of enterprises across the world.  The scenario has forced leaders to consider undertaking Transformation of their strategy and operations significantly.

The strategy to buy out troubled businesses and determining to fix the issues that upset the target companies has been a focus of Buyers’ senior leadership for the past 2 decades.  In the year 2017 alone, 36,000 M&A (Mergers & Acquisitions) transactions were announced globally.  Acquisition of troubled businesses hoping to have a Turnaround account for around 50% of all M&A deals.

A Turnaround can be defined as the financial recovery of an economy or an organization after a period of inertia or Downturn.  Several issues trigger a Downturn—issues pertaining to technological disruption, regulations, processes, organization’s financial health, management, business model, hierarchy, or competition.

The ratio of success for M&As is, however, not very healthy.  Historical data of 61% of M&A deals based on a BCG’s study, carried out on 1400 M&A deals globally between 2005 and 2018, shows a high failure rate (61%), where they remained unsuccessful to show any improvement in financial performance.

The ones that do succeed offer significant revenue growth and profit margins—around 25% positive variance in TSR than unsuccessful M&As.  However, buying and fixing a business under the weather isn’t an easy job.  This necessitates a meticulous strategy.

In order to materialize a Turnaround, the leadership needs to thoroughly understand the root cause(s) of the Downturn, have a willingness and plan to reform or transform, and rigorously implement the strategy to rectify the situation (Transformation Execution).

Empirical Research demonstrates that the triumph of M&A Turnaround deals is attributable to 6 Critical Success Factors:

  • Investment in R&D
  • Long-term Horizon
  • Clear Purpose
  • Investment in Transformation
  • Synergy Targets
  • Quickness to Action

Deployment of a combination of these CSFs bring about more pronounced outcomes—in terms of positive 3-year TSR and overall Organizational Performance.

A robust M&A Turnaround Strategy—based on lessons learnt from empirical research—revolves around 4 key M&A Deal Characteristics.  These M&A deal characteristics have a profound impact on the outcome of the transaction:

  1. Level of Performance
  2. Sector Alignment
  3. ESG Factors
  4. Deal Size

Knowledge of these key Deal Characteristics allow the senior leadership to ascertain the factors liable to affect the deal outcomes.  Now, let’s discuss the first 2 deal characteristics in a bit detail.

Level of Performance

The performance of the Target company during 2 years pre-deal is a key point to consider for a M&A, as it is directly proportional to the deal success rate and Total Shareholder Return.  BCG’s research demonstrates that M&A transactions where the target entity had a 2-year TSR decline of lower than 10% were liable to be more successful than deals where target companies were in more distress (a decline of ~30% or more).

Sector Alignment

Senior leaders should not ignore the significance of uniformity of sectors of the target and acquiring company.  Based on research, the rate of success for an acquisition transaction involving the buyer and the target operating in the same industry is 5% superior to the rate for transactions involving the companies from different sectors.  The reason for this higher success rate is attributed predominantly to similar business models, customers, vendors, and processes in firms of the same sector, which make the Post-merger Integration of the buyer and target a lot easier.

Interested in learning more about the other characteristics influencing the outcome of an M&A deal?  You can download an editable PowerPoint presentation on M&A Turnaround Strategy here on the Flevy documents marketplace.

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You can download in-depth presentations on this and hundreds of similar business frameworks from the FlevyPro LibraryFlevyPro is trusted and utilized by 1000s of management consultants and corporate executives. Here’s what some have to say:

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8760904287?profile=RESIZE_400xThe concept of Return on Investment (ROI) was formed as part of the concept of Value Creation.  The origins of ROI were in the Manufacturing sector, where it’s simple to measure time and output.  Next, to adopt the concept was the Banking industry where intense competition necessitated Innovation Management and with that the need to calculate ROI.  ROI calculation is now a common feature in every industry and business function.

Employee Training is part and parcel of workforce development.  It necessitates spending a lot of effort and resources.  Deliberating if the Training Program is going to be worth all the costs is a valid concern.

Return on Training Investment (ROTI) is the comparison between financial benefits obtained from a training program and the total cost of running that training program.  The objective of ROTI analysis is to see whether the benefits outweigh the costs i.e., to establish if the investment was worthwhile.

ROTI calculation and analysis is significant when:

  • Investment in a training program is viewed as a substantial outlay.
  • Attainment of explicit strategic or operational objectives is associated with the training program.
  • Financial benefits and their amount from the training program is ambiguous.

ROTI can be calculated dependably so long as:

  • Measurement data on changes in business performance, pertinent to training, is reliable or can be rationally estimated by those who matter.
  • Financial values can be assigned to the applicable performance measures.
  • Cost related to developing, delivering, and handling the training program can be classified.

ROTI calculation involves selecting performance measures, gathering data on those measures as well as data on costs—both direct and indirect—related to training, and lastly calculating the Return On Training Investments.

Key steps in the ROTI calculation are:

  1. Choose the performance measures to use.
  2. Gather data on changes.
  3. Gather data on costs.
  4. Calculate ROTI.

There are 3 types of calculations that are relevant in ROTI analysis.

  1. ROTI as a percentage
  2. Benefit to Cost Ratio (BCR)
  3. Payback Period

Let us delve a little deeper into the calculation methods.

1. ROTI as a percentage

This calculation shows Net Training Benefits as a percentage of Training Cost.  An outcome of 100% or more denotes that the Program has a Net Benefit after accounting for all the costs connected with running the program.

2. Benefit : Cost Ratio (BCR)

This ratio divides Total Training Benefits by Total Training Costs.  When BCR is greater than 1, the benefits exceed the costs and the program is judged a success.  When BCR is less than 1, the costs surpass the benefits and signify that enhancements or alterations are needed to warrant the continuation of the program.

3. Payback Period

This calculation exhibits the time in which the Training Investment will be paid back i.e., when the costs equal the benefits.  The calculation is usually done in terms of months.

Monthly Training Benefits are calculated by dividing Total Training Benefits over 12 months.

It is pertinent to note that although ROTI analysis is important in evaluating a training program, merely a ROTI calculation will not typically be adequate to make the business case for a Training Program or influence top management to act.  Sometimes we have to consider non-monetary benefits of training, such as a change in attitude.  When monetary and non-monetary benefits are combined, these supplement Performance Management resulting in benefits such as reduced absenteeism, lower turnover rates, and more promotions from within.

Interested in learning more about Return on Training Investment?  You can download an editable PowerPoint on Return On Training Investment (ROTI) here on the Flevy documents marketplace.

Want to Achieve Excellence in Human Resource Management (HRM)?

Gain the knowledge and develop the expertise to become an expert in Human Resource Management (HRM).  Our frameworks are based on the thought leadership of leading consulting firms, academics, and recognized subject matter experts.  Click here for full details.

The purpose of Human Resources (HR) is to ensure our organization achieves success through our people.  Without the right people in place—at all levels of the organization—we will never be able to execute our Strategy effectively.

This begs the question: Does your organization view HR as a support function or a strategic one?  Research shows leading organizations leverage HR as a strategic function, one that both supports and drives the organization’s Strategy.  In fact, having strong HRM capabilities is a source of Competitive Advantage.

This has never been more true than right now in the Digital Age, as organizations must compete for specialized talent to drive forward their Digital Transformation Strategies.  Beyond just hiring and selection, HR also plays the critical role in retaining talent—by keeping people engaged, motivated, and happy.

Learn about our Human Resource Management (HRM) Best Practice Frameworks here.

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You can download in-depth presentations on this and hundreds of similar business frameworks from the FlevyPro Library.  FlevyPro is trusted and utilized by 1000s of management consultants and corporate executives. Here’s what some have to say:

“My FlevyPro subscription provides me with the most popular frameworks and decks in demand in today’s market.  They not only augment my existing consulting and coaching offerings and delivery, but also keep me abreast of the latest trends, inspire new products and service offerings for my practice, and educate me in a fraction of the time and money of other solutions.  I strongly recommend FlevyPro to any consultant serious about success.”

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“As a niche strategic consulting firm, Flevy and FlevyPro frameworks and documents are an on-going reference to help us structure our findings and recommendations to our clients as well as improve their clarity, strength, and visual power.  For us, it is an invaluable resource to increase our impact and value.”

– David Coloma, Consulting Area Manager at Cynertia Consulting

“FlevyPro has been a brilliant resource for me, as an independent growth consultant, to access a vast knowledge bank of presentations to support my work with clients. In terms of RoI, the value I received from the very first presentation I downloaded paid for my subscription many times over!  The quality of the decks available allows me to punch way above my weight – it’s like having the resources of a Big 4 consultancy at your fingertips at a microscopic fraction of the overhead.”

– Roderick Cameron, Founding Partner at SGFE Ltd

8756961262?profile=RESIZE_400xStudies on Team Motivation and Building Effective Teams stem from the research carried out in Psychology and Sociology.  Wilhelm Wundt (1832-1920), the Founder of Modern Psychology, is credited with conducting the 1st research on the subject.

The Social Psychologist Kurt Lewin (1890-1947) is credited with introducing the term “Group Dynamics.” The term defined the constructive and destructive forces within Groups of people.  Lewin pioneered the Group Dynamics Research Center at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, first of its kind dedicated to the study of Group Dynamics and how it could be applied to real-world and social issues.

The latter half of the 20th century saw attention shifted more towards studying how Group Performance could be improved in the workplace to foster an Organizational Culture of cohesiveness, and Tuckman’s study proved significant in this regard.

Bruce Tuckman’s Model on Group Development became one of the most influential studies on the subject.  Originally conducted in 1965, the Model was further improved by Tuckman and his colleague in 1977.

Tuckman’s assertion was that each of the phases of the model is indispensable and unavoidable for the team to grow, face up to challenges, tackle problems, find solutions, plan strategically, and deliver results.  Tuckman’s model has become the foundation for following models and commonly used by management consultants for Team Management and Client Management.  For the model to be applicable in the work place, it is vital to comprehend the process at each stage and its concepts.

Tuckman’s Group Development Model comprises the following 5 stages:

  1. Forming
  2. Storming
  3. Norming
  4. Performing
  5. Adjourning

The 5th stage of Group Development called “Adjourning” was added in 1977, by Tuckman and his colleague Mary Ann Jensen.

 

Let us examine some of the stages of Tuckman’s model for Group Development in a little more detail. 

Forming

The key dynamic of the first stage is Orientation.  This is the stage where people are brought together in a Group.  How quickly the group’s transition to the 2nd stage takes place depends on the clarity and complexity of the goal and members’ previous experience of working in groups.  Some of the key characteristics of this stage include:

  • An upbeat outlook of group members about what is to be accomplished.
  • Anxiousness on part of members about what the other team members will be like.

Managers of the group at this stage have to be directly and intimately involved.  Clear guidelines and structure by the manager are necessary to ensure that the team builds strong relationships. 

Storming

The key dynamic of this stage is Power Struggle.  At this 2nd stage team members feel more at ease voicing and questioning opinions, and that is when internal conflict flares up.  Channeling this conflict in a positive direction will make for a cohesive team.  Some of the key characteristics of this stage are:

  • Perception formation about other team members’ abilities.
  • Alliance formation among team members and discussions regarding the goal and the approach to achieve it.

The group leader has to show a Problem Solving Mindset at this stage, swiftly channel conflict between teams in order to avoid demoralization.  Among many other actions at this stage, the leader also has to guide the team in decision-making and proffering explanations on how decisions transpired.

Norming

The key dynamic of the 3rd stage of team development is Cooperation.  The members concentrate on settling differences to make way for clear definition of organizational mission and objectives.  Manager’s role within the team transforms from that of leader to that of a team member.

Interested in learning more about Tuckman’s 5-Stage Group Development Model?  You can download an editable PowerPoint on Tuckman’s 5 Stages of Group Development here on the Flevy documents marketplace.

Do You Find Value in This Framework?

You can download in-depth presentations on this and hundreds of similar business frameworks from the FlevyPro Library.  FlevyPro is trusted and utilized by 1000s of management consultants and corporate executives. Here’s what some have to say:

“My FlevyPro subscription provides me with the most popular frameworks and decks in demand in today’s market.  They not only augment my existing consulting and coaching offerings and delivery, but also keep me abreast of the latest trends, inspire new products and service offerings for my practice, and educate me in a fraction of the time and money of other solutions.  I strongly recommend FlevyPro to any consultant serious about success.”

– Bill Branson, Founder at Strategic Business Architects

“As a niche strategic consulting firm, Flevy and FlevyPro frameworks and documents are an on-going reference to help us structure our findings and recommendations to our clients as well as improve their clarity, strength, and visual power.  For us, it is an invaluable resource to increase our impact and value.”

– David Coloma, Consulting Area Manager at Cynertia Consulting

“FlevyPro has been a brilliant resource for me, as an independent growth consultant, to access a vast knowledge bank of presentations to support my work with clients. In terms of RoI, the value I received from the very first presentation I downloaded paid for my subscription many times over!  The quality of the decks available allows me to punch way above my weight – it’s like having the resources of a Big 4 consultancy at your fingertips at a microscopic fraction of the overhead.”

– Roderick Cameron, Founding Partner at SGFE Ltd

Stock Image 2 - Business Transfromation CSFsBusiness Transformations have become a necessity in the fast-changing technological and competitive business environment.  Transformation is characterized by significant and risk-laden Restructuring of a company, with the objective of accomplishing Operational Excellence and changing its future course.

Business Transformation is a priority for many top executives but it is usually a reaction to challenging circumstances rather than being a preemptive measure.

Business Transformation is prompted by a combination of 2 situations:

  • Need to address inherent problems causing organizational drag—these problems may be internal and/or external.
  • Aspiration by the top management and other senior stakeholders to seize the occasion of addressing these problems, in ways that deeply alter the Business Model of the organization including Value Creation.

Business Transformation entails not just making incremental changes but fundamentally changing all or some of the following:

  • Organizational Structure
  • Core Product or Service Portfolio
  • Systems
  • Processes
  • People—the way employees work
  • Technology

Undertaking such arduous effort requires approaching the task in a structured way.  Research shows that quite a few of such undertakings are based on anecdotal beliefs instead of being based on empirical data.

Countering this trend, the Boston Consulting Group conducted an empirical study of financial and non-financial data-set comprising 300 U.S. public companies.  The data spanned a period of 12 years from 2004 to 2016.  Selection was based on the following criteria:

  • Companies that had a $10 billion or more market capitalization between 2004 and 2016.
  • Of these, companies with an annualized deterioration in Total Share-holder Return (TSR) of 10% or more relative to their industry average (2 years running or more) were identified.

Based on extensive analysis—that included use of methodologies like trained proprietary algorithms, prediction models, and Multivariate Regression Analysis—a pattern pertaining to Business Transformation emerged.  The pattern depicted the following themes:

  1. Frequency of Failure
  2. Impact of Digital Disruption
  3. Impact of Downturn
  4. Competitive Volatility

The study also suggested the following 5 evidence-based Critical Success Factors (CSFs) for achieving Transformation Success.

  1. Cost Management (drives short-term success)
  2. Revenue Growth (drives long-term success)
  3. Long-term Strategy and R&D Investment
  4. New, External Leadership
  5. Holistic Transformation Programs

Let us examine in a bit more detail some of the CSFs.

Cost Management

In order to launch the Transformation effort on the correct footing, Cost Management is key, in the short term especially.  Predictably, empirical analysis suggests that the leading driver for organizations recovering from severe TSR deterioration is a determined Cost-cutting effort during the 1st year of Turnaround.  By year 3, Cost Reduction is accountable for the major share of TSR growth as companies divert their portfolios and make available funding for growth investments.

Revenue Growth

Merely short-term operational improvements do not augur well for a sustainable Transformation.  There has to be a long-term Growth Strategy put in place.  For this to happen, leaders have to challenge the foundations of the company’s Business Model.

Research divulges that Revenue Growth progressively becomes the driver for TSR recovery after year 1 in all the successful Transformation efforts.  Revenue Growth overshadows, by far, all the initial drivers for TSR recovery by year 5 of all successful Turnaround efforts.

Long-term Strategy and R&D Investment

Turbulent competitive environments, particularly, require long-term Strategic Planning and investment in Research and Development for fruitful Business Transformations.  Empirical research and analysis demonstrates:

  • A 4.8% difference between Transforming companies showing above-average long-term strategic direction compared to companies with a below-average orientation.
  • More pronounced findings in transforming companies operating in turbulent competitive environments—long-term orientation linked with a TSR increase of 7%.
  • Companies with above-average R&D investments had upwards of 5.1% TSR impact in contrast to those with below-average spending.

These CSFs strengthen the odds of success in Business Transformation individually.  When used together, most of them produce an impact that is larger than the totality of their individual parts.

Interested in learning more about the 5 Critical Success Factors for Successful Business Transformation?  You can download an editable PowerPoint on 5 Critical Success Factors for Successful Business Transformation here on the Flevy documents marketplace.

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Gain the knowledge and develop the expertise to become an expert in Business Transformation.  Our frameworks are based on the thought leadership of leading consulting firms, academics, and recognized subject matter experts. Click here for full details.

“If you don’t transform your company, you’re stuck.” – Ursula Burns, Chairperson and CEO of VEON; former Chairperson and CEO of Xerox

Business Transformation is the process of fundamentally changing the systems, processes, people, and technology across an entire organization, business unit, or corporate function with the intention of achieving significant improvements in Revenue Growth, Cost Reduction, and/or Customer Satisfaction.

Transformation is pervasive across industries, particularly during times of disruption, as we are witnessing now as a result of COVID-19.  However, despite how common these large scale efforts are, research shows that about 75% of these initiatives fail.

Leverage our frameworks to increase your chances of a successful Transformation by following best practices and avoiding failure-causing “Transformation Traps.”

Learn about our Business Transformation Best Practice Frameworks here.

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You can download in-depth presentations on this and hundreds of similar business frameworks from the FlevyPro Library.  FlevyPro is trusted and utilized by 1000s of management consultants and corporate executives. Here’s what some have to say:

“My FlevyPro subscription provides me with the most popular frameworks and decks in demand in today’s market.  They not only augment my existing consulting and coaching offerings and delivery, but also keep me abreast of the latest trends, inspire new products and service offerings for my practice, and educate me in a fraction of the time and money of other solutions.  I strongly recommend FlevyPro to any consultant serious about success.”

– Bill Branson, Founder at Strategic Business Architects

“As a niche strategic consulting firm, Flevy and FlevyPro frameworks and documents are an on-going reference to help us structure our findings and recommendations to our clients as well as improve their clarity, strength, and visual power.  For us, it is an invaluable resource to increase our impact and value.”

– David Coloma, Consulting Area Manager at Cynertia Consulting

“FlevyPro has been a brilliant resource for me, as an independent growth consultant, to access a vast knowledge bank of presentations to support my work with clients.  In terms of RoI, the value I received from the very first presentation I downloaded paid for my subscription many times over!  The quality of the decks available allows me to punch way above my weight – it’s like having the resources of a Big 4 consultancy at your fingertips at a microscopic fraction of the overhead.”

– Roderick Cameron, Founding Partner at SGFE Ltd

8721604279?profile=RESIZE_400xProblem Solving is a fundamental life skill indispensable for survival of an individual.  It is honed in every person to varying degrees.  It is especially a useful skill to embody Leadership Development.

Problem Solving skill can be taught and learnt.

MIT defines Problem Solving as:

The process of identifying a problem, developing possible solution paths, and taking the appropriate course of action.

Problem Solving is a process that can be approached using various strategies but each Strategy usually follows the same theme, consisting of:

  • Identifying the Root Cause of the Problem.
  • Logically Analyzing all the Details of the Problem.
  • Formulating a Solution.
  • Effectively Communicating and taking Action.

Problem Solving Strategies consist of steps that help identify the Problem and choose the best solution.  There are 2 basic types of Strategies:

  1. Algorithmic Strategies – customary step-by-step instructions to solving Problems. For example, in algebra: multiply and divide before adding or subtracting.
  2. Heuristic Strategies – general guides used to identify possible solutions.  An example would be IDEAL—Identify Problem, Define Context, Explore Strategies, Act on solution, and Learn.

A certain Mindset is required to be developed for becoming a great Problem Solver.  There are 6 traits experts have identified that shape the Mindset of a great Problem Solver.  A great Problem Solver will always:

  1. Be Constantly Curious.
  2. Be an Imperfectionist.
  3. Adopt a Dragonfly-eye View.
  4. Pursue Occurrent Behavior.
  5. Leverage Collective Intelligence.
  6. Practice Show and Tell.

Problem Solving Mindset is valuable for any person especially professionals, particularly an entrepreneur, manager, or someone in the leadership role in an organization.  A team of skillful problem solvers can become a notable source of Competitive Advantage for an organization.

Let us delve a little deeper into some of the Mindsets that make great Problem Solvers.

Be Constantly Curious

Innate human partialities frequently blind us to a range of solutions too early in the Problem Solving Process.  Superior and increasingly creative solutions arise from being Curious about the wide-ranging possible answers.  Very young children embody this trait.  They are resolute in figuring things out hence their never-ending and high-energy inquisitiveness.

Improved results are generated by accepting uncertainty, constantly asking questions like why is this solution better, or why not the other one?

Be an Imperfectionist

Absolute knowledge is virtually non-existent, especially for Complex Business and Societal Problems.  Accepting that our knowledge is Imperfect can bring about more effective Problem Solving.  Constant revision based on new evidence is key to good Problem Solving.  This is possible when we begin by confronting solutions that imply certainty.  And, this brings out tacit assumptions about probabilities and makes it easier to assess alternatives.

Most Problem Solving involves a great deal of trial and error.  We form hypotheses, dive into data for validation, and either refine our premise or discard it.

Adopt a Dragonfly-eye view

The purpose is to gaze beyond the usual arrangement into which our pattern-recognizing brains want to gather perceptions.  This facilitates identification of obscured opportunities and threats.

A good example of this is the approach experts took to tackle a major public health threat.  They framed the Problem in larger social context—taking the Dragonfly-eye view—garnering wider support and success.  Confronted with a complex social map and a ballooning infection rate, the Problem was tackled by widening its definition.  The frame was shifted from a traditional epidemiological transmission model at known hotspots to one where, another affliction of a particular sub-set of the impacted population was targeted because it was more relatable.  The major public health threat was made into a sub-set of the larger issue.  The solution was implemented in 600 communities and was eventually ascribed with preventing more than 600,000 infections.

Interested in learning more about Problem Solving Mindsets? You can download an editable PowerPoint on Problem Solving Mindsets here on the Flevy documents marketplace.

Do You Find Value in This Framework?

You can download in-depth presentations on this and hundreds of similar business frameworks from the FlevyPro Library.  FlevyPro is trusted and utilized by 1000s of management consultants and corporate executives. Here’s what some have to say:

“My FlevyPro subscription provides me with the most popular frameworks and decks in demand in today’s market.  They not only augment my existing consulting and coaching offerings and delivery, but also keep me abreast of the latest trends, inspire new products and service offerings for my practice, and educate me in a fraction of the time and money of other solutions.  I strongly recommend FlevyPro to any consultant serious about success.”

– Bill Branson, Founder at Strategic Business Architects

“As a niche strategic consulting firm, Flevy and FlevyPro frameworks and documents are an on-going reference to help us structure our findings and recommendations to our clients as well as improve their clarity, strength, and visual power.  For us, it is an invaluable resource to increase our impact and value.”

– David Coloma, Consulting Area Manager at Cynertia Consulting

“FlevyPro has been a brilliant resource for me, as an independent growth consultant, to access a vast knowledge bank of presentations to support my work with clients.  In terms of RoI, the value I received from the very first presentation I downloaded paid for my subscription many times over!  The quality of the decks available allows me to punch way above my weight – it’s like having the resources of a Big 4 consultancy at your fingertips at a microscopic fraction of the overhead.”

– Roderick Cameron, Founding Partner at SGFE Ltd

Ladder1Marketing, these days, is shifting towards developing great ideas and creating customer experiences that consumers discuss further in their circle.  The focus of the marketing effort is on building a brand image.  To supplement this organizations need to develop a culture that lives the brand.

Top brands have been built by communicating their message to the most loyal customers who then shout it out to their friends and a chain starts making the brand a known name.  Leading brands, today, strive to win a place in the minds of their consumers.

Building a brand necessitates a robust Marketing approach.  Prioritizing the main benefits of a product that an organization wants to concentrate on is a critical decision to build a brand.  The Consumer Benefits Ladder (CBL) is one such method that informs the leaders on how to position their customer benefits in their Marketing campaign.  These benefits should be those that are offered to the customers, and are not that the organization gets.  The benefits transferred to the customers bring positive outcomes for the organization as well.

The prime focus of the Consumer Benefits Ladder is to identify the key benefits of a product.  The framework classifies consumer benefits into 4 broad types—symbolized by the rungs of a ladder:

RUNG 1 – Product Availability

RUNG 2 – Product Features

RUNG 3 – Functional Benefits

RUNG 4 – Emotional Benefits

The Consumer Benefits Ladder functions on the principle of developing insights incrementally to build Brand Loyalty in customers.  The concept of the Consumer Benefits Ladder originates from the “Laddering interview” technique used in Psychology and Marketing Research.

Let’s dive deeper into the individual rungs of the CBL.

RUNG 1 – Product Availability

The initial rung of the Consumer Benefits Ladder ensures the availability of the product in the target market.  This step of the Consumer Benefits Ladder focuses on making people understand what the product is and how they can get it.  It is a straightforward yet effective approach to Brand Building where leading organizations employing this strategy:

  • Focus on product availability.
  • Add some tone and humor in the delivery of their marketing campaigns alongside their simple product availability-centric strategy.
  • Emphasize on price as a huge driver for its customer base and value creation.
  • Consistently execute their strategy and strive to win their customer loyalty and repeat business.
  • Do not side-step to ascend higher on the Consumer Benefits ladder.

RUNG 2 – Product Features

The second rung of the CBL identifies the physical characteristics of a product, its unique offerings, and describes what it does.  Most organizations tend to focus on benefits instead of plain product features.  However, product feature strategy is quite effective when:

  • The customers are aware of their exact requirements and they do not want organizations translating their product features into benefits.
  • The product features are quite evident.

The Product Strategy based on product features entails clearly listing all the features, brand assets, and competitive advantages that a product offers.  For instance, it outlines the material it is prepared of, its weight, and color.

RUNG 3 – Functional Benefits

The 3rd step of the CBL Framework identifies the promise you make to the customers and the value (rational benefits) that the customers get from the brand.  A focus on the functional benefits of the Consumer Benefits Ladder necessitates careful deliberation of the brand features, screening them from the consumers’ point of view, and their utility for the consumer.

Interested in learning more about the key steps and rungs of the Consumer Benefits Ladder?  You can download an editable PowerPoint presentation on Consumer Benefits Ladder here on the Flevy documents marketplace.

Do You Find Value in This Framework?

You can download in-depth presentations on this and hundreds of similar business frameworks from the FlevyPro LibraryFlevyPro is trusted and utilized by 1000s of management consultants and corporate executives. Here’s what some have to say:

“My FlevyPro subscription provides me with the most popular frameworks and decks in demand in today’s market. They not only augment my existing consulting and coaching offerings and delivery, but also keep me abreast of the latest trends, inspire new products and service offerings for my practice, and educate me in a fraction of the time and money of other solutions. I strongly recommend FlevyPro to any consultant serious about success.”

– Bill Branson, Founder at Strategic Business Architects

“As a niche strategic consulting firm, Flevy and FlevyPro frameworks and documents are an on-going reference to help us structure our findings and recommendations to our clients as well as improve their clarity, strength, and visual power. For us, it is an invaluable resource to increase our impact and value.”

– David Coloma, Consulting Area Manager at Cynertia Consulting

“As a small business owner, the resource material available from FlevyPro has proven to be invaluable. The ability to search for material on demand based our project events and client requirements was great for me and proved very beneficial to my clients. Importantly, being able to easily edit and tailor the material for specific purposes helped us to make presentations, knowledge sharing, and toolkit development, which formed part of the overall program collateral. While FlevyPro contains resource material that any consultancy, project or delivery firm must have, it is an essential part of a small firm or independent consultant’s toolbox.”

– Michael Duff, Managing Director at Change Strategy (UK)

 

8662133692?profile=RESIZE_400xA significant number of Mergers remain unsuccessful, because companies do not employ a thorough and disciplined approach to realizing Post-Merger Integration Synergies.  In reasons for failure, we hear remarks like:

  • Targets were set several months earlier by the top management without consulting the line managers, or taking ground realities into consideration.
  • Assumption base for setting targets was untested.
  • Targets were met but the timeframe for achieving them made them ineffective—in terms of diminished returns, shareholder disappointment, or depressed share value.
  • Desired Synergies were achieved but at a very high cost or fairly weakened morale.

A disciplined and rational approach to pursuing Merger Synergies is key to successful Post-Merger Integration (PMI).  Companies that authenticate and set pragmatic yet ambitious Post-Merger Integration Synergy targets do the following to exceed targets and achieve substantial share price premium and a significant Competitive Advantage:

  • Advise Integration Leaders on how to aim high.
  • Give managers—responsible for achieving targets—a say in target-setting process.
  • Create detailed plans with built-in accountabilities.
  • Pursue their targets aggressively.

Successful PMI Synergies—be it in Cost OptimizationStrategic Sourcing, Greater Revenues or any other Cost or Revenue realm—have the common characteristic of leaders pursuing synergies with speed, rigor, discipline, and pragmatism with lots of analysis, planning, preparation, and fine-tuning before the close.

Success can be ensured time and again if the 6 Strategies for Post-Merger Integration Synergies are followed to the letter:

  1. Link Due Diligence (DD) and Post-Merger Integration (PMI)
  2. Leverage Clean Teams
  3. Establish Stretch Targets
  4. Rapidly Iterate to Targets
  5. Pursue Both Revenue and Cost Synergies
  6. Institute Performance Management

Implementation of the 6 Synergy Strategies involves adopting High-Engagement and Rapid Iteration approach which yields effective Stretch Target Validation and High Level of Line Accountability.

Let us delve a little deeper into 2 of these PMI Synergy Strategies.

Link Due Diligence (DD) and Post-Merger Integration (PMI)

Linking DD to PMI ensures realistic estimates on part of the DD team thus avoiding formulation of broad-brushed and imprecise Synergies.  Linking also guarantees greater amount of ownership and accountability at the same time enabling more compelling Stretch Targets.  Linking of DD to PMI is necessary because:

  • Under pressure to complete the M&A, Due Diligence teams frame assumptions with little knowledge of the levers influencing Synergies or the challenges involved in achieving them.
  • Due Diligence teams typically project more value in Cost Reduction and enhanced Revenues based on erroneous assumptions—without taking into account either the Operating Model (of the former entities and the freshly created one) or the difference / overlap in Customer Base.

Successful Mergers ensure a harmonized hand-off from Due Diligence teams to Integration Planning teams by ensuring the following:

  • Placing members of the Mergers and Acquisition team on the Post-Merger Integration (PMI) team to produce a greater degree of ownership and continuity.
  • Involving Business Unit Heads in target setting at the Due Diligence stage and ensuring ownership and accountability.
  • Linking of Due Diligence and PMI to enable setting of more profound Stretch Targets.
  • Analyzing and detailing drivers of saving at a high-level for creating Synergy Targets and Ranges which make later improvements possible based on subsequent information. These targets and ranges enable evaluation of potential gains from new company’s Operating Model. 

Leverage Clean Teams

Clean team is an independent group that is tasked with the collection and analysis of sensitive company data—pre-closure—with the guidance of management.  Clean team may comprise of third-party members or employees who can be reassigned out of business in case of deal failure eradicating the risk of compromising confidential information.  Clean team is formed by legal contract based on protocols agreed to by both company’s legal departments.  Clean teams help by:

  • Accelerating PMI planning.
  • Enabling the acquiring company to have a clearer picture of the target company without violating anti-trust regulation or confidentiality agreements.
  • Assessing risks and enabling companies to achieve Synergies faster.
  • Keeping sensitive information of both sides safe—pre-closure—yet embark on planning and preparation even before close in order to save precious time and keep customer confidence high.
  • Aiding companies accomplish 3 core integration activities before closing—compiling wide-range baseline data, vetting Synergy targets, and preparing options for key decisions.
  • Empowering companies to avoid / diminish confusion caused by overlap in client assignments and sales people.
  • Assisting provision of clear information to customers regarding products and services thus avoiding drop in sales.

Interested in learning more about the 6 Strategies for Post-Merger Integration Synergies?  You can download an editable PowerPoint on Post-Merger Integration (PMI): 6 Strategies for Synergies here on the Flevy documents marketplace.

Want to Achieve Excellence in Post-merger Integration (PMI)?

Gain the knowledge and develop the expertise to become an expert in Post-merger Integration (PMI).  Our frameworks are based on the thought leadership of leading consulting firms, academics, and recognized subject matter experts.  Click here for full details.

M&A is an extremely common strategy for growth.  M&A transactions always look great on paper.  This is why the buyer typically pays a 10-35% premium over the of the target company’s market value.

However, when it comes time for the Post-merger Integration (PMI), are we really able to capture the expected value?  Studies show only 20% of organizations capture projected revenue synergies and only 40% capture cost synergies.  Not to mention, the PMI process is typically very painful, drawn out, and politically charged, often resulting in the loss of key personnel.

Learn about our Post-merger Integration (PMI) Best Practice Frameworks here.

Do You Find Value in This Framework?

You can download in-depth presentations on this and hundreds of similar business frameworks from the FlevyPro Library.  FlevyPro is trusted and utilized by 1000s of management consultants and corporate executives.  Here’s what some have to say:

“My FlevyPro subscription provides me with the most popular frameworks and decks in demand in today’s market.  They not only augment my existing consulting and coaching offerings and delivery, but also keep me abreast of the latest trends, inspire new products and service offerings for my practice, and educate me in a fraction of the time and money of other solutions.  I strongly recommend FlevyPro to any consultant serious about success.”

– Bill Branson, Founder at Strategic Business Architects

“As a niche strategic consulting firm, Flevy and FlevyPro frameworks and documents are an on-going reference to help us structure our findings and recommendations to our clients as well as improve their clarity, strength, and visual power.  For us, it is an invaluable resource to increase our impact and value.”

– David Coloma, Consulting Area Manager at Cynertia Consulting

“FlevyPro has been a brilliant resource for me, as an independent growth consultant, to access a vast knowledge bank of presentations to support my work with clients.  In terms of RoI, the value I received from the very first presentation I downloaded paid for my subscription many times over! The quality of the decks available allows me to punch way above my weight – it’s like having the resources of a Big 4 consultancy at your fingertips at a microscopic fraction of the overhead.”

– Roderick Cameron, Founding Partner at SGFE Ltd

PD3Product Managers are responsible for defining the features or functions of a Product and for overseeing the development of the Product.  The role of Product Managers spans many activities from developing Product Strategy to tactical plan and can vary based on the organizational structure of the organization.

Typically, Product Leaders are involved with the entire Product Lifecycle.  However, the Product Management’s primary focus is on driving New Product Development.  To successfully execute these roles, it’s important for Product Management to collect and synthesize proper, relevant data to make informed Product decisions.

Product Managers need to evaluate 10 categories of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to determine the most appropriate KPIs relevant to their work:

  1. Product Stickiness
  2. Product Usage
  3. Feature Adoption
  4. Feature Retention
  5. Net Promoter Score (NPS)
  6. Leading Indicators
  7. Top Feature Requests
  8. Product Delivery Predictability
  9. Product Bugs
  10. Product Speed and Reliability

Let’s discuss these Product Management KPIs in a bit detail.

Product Stickiness

KPIs around Product Stickiness determine whether users are re-engaging with our product.  If a product is successful, it exhibit “stickiness.”  That means users don’t just sign up and forget about it.  They continuously live inside the product, such that it becomes part of their daily routine.  A good product should not long attract new users, but to also continuously re-engage with its users.

Product Stickiness is often measured by taking the ratio of our Daily Active Users (DAU) to Monthly Active Users (MAU): i.e., DAU/MAU.  This metric calculates the percentage of our monthly users who engage with our product on a daily basis.

Product Usage

It is inevitable that not all features of a product will be utilized the same.  Some features are more heavily used, whereas others are not.  The only way to know what product features are important to users is by measuring how our product is being used.  Measuring user engagement across the product allows us to answer what features should we enhance, which ones to eliminate, and which features to promote to increase users awareness of the product functionality.

Product usage is measured by using 3 key metrics—Breadth: refers to the number of active users for a given client within the last 90 days.  Depth: Captures whether users are using key features that make the product sticky.  Frequency: e.g., number of logins across all devices within the last 90 days.

Feature Adoption

These KPIs seek to understand and set feature adoption goals.  Key question to clarify these KPIs is whether users are adopting the newly released features.  Feature adoption data of recent feature launches is critical to determine appropriate feature adoption goals.  It is important to look at feature adoption at both the user level and account level.  For instance, different customer groups with an account may exhibit different levels of adoption for different feature sets.

The key metric to measure feature adoption is the percentage of users using the feature.  This should be evaluated across multiple features on a timescale (typically for at least 30 days following the feature release).

Feature Retention

Feature retention KPIs reveal true adoption of features vs. the initial promotion-driven adoption.  Feature Adoption seeks to measure initial use of a feature, whereas Feature Retention seeks to measure the long-term, persistent usage of a feature.  Measuring feature retention helps us identify at-risk users who have started to disengage from the product after the initial promotion is over.  We can then take action to re-engage these users.

Feature retention can be measured across different customer segments, e.g., by pricing (Free vs. Paid), by organization size (Startups vs. Enterprises), by position (Analyst vs. Manager).

Interested in learning more about the other KPIs critical to manage and develop a Product Portfolio?  You can download an editable PowerPoint presentation on Product Management KPIs here on the Flevy documents marketplace.

Do You Find Value in This Framework?

You can download in-depth presentations on this and hundreds of similar business frameworks from the FlevyPro LibraryFlevyPro is trusted and utilized by 1000s of management consultants and corporate executives. Here’s what some have to say:

“My FlevyPro subscription provides me with the most popular frameworks and decks in demand in today’s market. They not only augment my existing consulting and coaching offerings and delivery, but also keep me abreast of the latest trends, inspire new products and service offerings for my practice, and educate me in a fraction of the time and money of other solutions. I strongly recommend FlevyPro to any consultant serious about success.”

– Bill Branson, Founder at Strategic Business Architects

“As a niche strategic consulting firm, Flevy and FlevyPro frameworks and documents are an on-going reference to help us structure our findings and recommendations to our clients as well as improve their clarity, strength, and visual power. For us, it is an invaluable resource to increase our impact and value.”

– David Coloma, Consulting Area Manager at Cynertia Consulting

“As a small business owner, the resource material available from FlevyPro has proven to be invaluable. The ability to search for material on demand based our project events and client requirements was great for me and proved very beneficial to my clients. Importantly, being able to easily edit and tailor the material for specific purposes helped us to make presentations, knowledge sharing, and toolkit development, which formed part of the overall program collateral. While FlevyPro contains resource material that any consultancy, project or delivery firm must have, it is an essential part of a small firm or independent consultant’s toolbox.”

– Michael Duff, Managing Director at Change Strategy (UK)