Strategy needs purpose:
Strategy consulting for a media company
A media company uses purpose for consolidation and reorientation. Consulting case in the context of Neuwaldegg’s strategy consulting.
A German media company in the middle of a change process. The shareholders’ profit expectations and the difficult situation in the industry with declining turnover and falling sales figures, have prompted the management to pursue a consistent austerity course. Personnel has been downsized, services have been outsourced, areas have been restructured and processes have been standardised at both locations – the aim: cost efficiency and increased productivity.
At the same time, a strategy process was launched, but management quickly suspended it and is now turning to us: “We lack purpose!” To create a focus on the future and on new business models now, a clear FOR WHAT PURPOSE – “Why do we exist? What do we want to bring into the world?” is required. A strategy can be derived from this, making it easier for employees to understand why the savings are needed.
Approaching purpose from all perspectives
Our remit is to support the company on its path to refining this purpose. In order to not undermine the austerity course, the management would also like to be quickly empowered in the topic of “purpose operationalisation” so that they can take the next steps on their own. We invite a group of 18 people, with equal numbers of management and staff from the teams. The teams nominate which of them will be attending beforehand. Preparatory tasks are carried out in small groups that mix both the hierarchy and the locations to the max. As much as possible should be prepared beforehand to involve teams and participants in advance on the one hand, and to make efficient use of the time spent working with us on the other. The preparatory tasks are sent by us to the teams and specify the working time (2 hours) and the result format precisely. Otherwise we run the risk that the experts in words and pictures will approach the research tasks almost scientifically.
For the joint quest, the teams come with theme posters that help us dig deep straight away. We bring the history, the brand, the market situation, the customer perspectives, the shareholder expectations, the future scenarios and the employees’ pictures together and work our way to the purpose step by step using the WHY process. The discussion is intense and precise. The result is a clear purpose and a proud and exhausted group.
Quickly empowering the organisation to continue without us
The next step is to connect all employees at the locations to the purpose. Using a DIY design from us, participants in the quest organise these connection workshops on location, which give their colleagues the chance to experience the process and therefore build their own relationship to the purpose. What is surprising for everyone: “Unbelievable – we came up with the same essence as you in the workshop without knowing anything beforehand!”
The next step is the operationalisation workshops for the areas and teams to translate the orientation into action. The structure, programmes, projects, etc. are challenged and developed.
Rapid results and a far-reaching impact
The purpose proves to be the missing piece of the puzzle in the process. It underpins the change with meaning and serves as a visible horizon for the strategy. The two locations become closer. The teams start to take on more personal responsibility and distributed authority. Decisions are made faster and a change in working methods and self-image is initiated in a sustainable manner.