Purpose in reorientation:
Strategy consulting for a Start-up
Strategic reorientation and harsh cuts Consulting case of a start-up in the context of Neuwaldegg’s strategy consulting.
Repositioning and consilidation
After years of rapid growth and dynamic development of web-based trading platforms, a start-up is forced to refocus and strategically reposition itself. The rapid growth into various national markets requires too much investment and the shareholders are therefore demanding the streamlining of the portfolio and consolidation of the organisation and business areas. With a heavy heart, the partially new management team decides to make harsh cuts and adjust their course: withdrawal from markets, refocusing activities and growth plans as well as staff cuts, most of whom were only hired in recent months.
Maintaining drive and providing orientation
After implementing the consolidation and downsizing measures, the intention is to prevent lasting damage to the spirit and energy with which the organisation and employees develop. The drive is to be maintained, because there is still a new world to shape and conquer, even if the focus is narrower and the size of the steps and goals less ambitious. At the same time, it is important to provide orientation and long-term direction within the organisation and management team: What are we working for? What drives us? What do we bring into the world?
Reteaming und purpose re‑quest
Once the consolidation and downsizing measures have been implemented, we spend two days with the partially reformed management team working on the current situation and a longer-term perspective. In the first part of the workshop though, we have to create the basis to make this possible first: the hurt and tensions that arose during the crisis-laden upheaval and downsizing phase are still massively affecting the management team. Reteaming is required. We provide space for reflection and to digest the process and events of the last few months. Situations and behaviour that have damaged mutual trust are addressed. In a retrospective, we examine the highs and lows of the recent past and provide an opportunity to express hurt, offence and disappointments. Things get emotional and controversial in a clear the air session. But with time, mutual understanding and compassion also develops. The space for new solidarity and trust expands. On this basis, we develop a common vision of the company in transition in the next session: What is part of the old identity? What should we let go – put into the museum or finally throw into the bin? What should be transferred to the new identity and put on display? And what has to be newly created or more strongly developed in it? This shared vision creates new energy and forms the basis for the management team’s further work on the second day of the workshop. Using the hedgehog model, it develops the initial orientation in detail: this is where passion, expertise and economic opportunities come together. With this new basis, what seemed to be a long way off the day before is all of a sudden achieved: the team distils the company’s WHY, HOW and WHAT in several steps. A purpose that creates orientation and generates drive for the company’s next development phase. And clear guidelines for the organisation’s strategic and organisational development. Everyone can feel it: their spirit is back!
With new purpose and drive out of the valley of tears
Turnaround management and purpose work – how do they go together? Working with this young and well-known growth company has shown us that the need for purpose and drive often increases significantly during crises. Once the most difficult restructuring measures have been implemented, it is necessary and helpful for management teams and subsequently the rest of the organisation to pause and take time for a pit stop: to work through the experiences and emotional upheaval in the recent past. To create or strengthen a shared vision of the transition from the old to the new. And to provide drive and orientation again with the help of a purpose quest.