WHETHER CONDUCTING DUE DILIGENCE FOR POTENTIAL INVESTORS OR ADVISING ON STRATEGY FOR THE C-SUITE, ESCALATE SOLUTIONS AUDITS THE OPERATIONS OF ORGANIZATIONS THROUGH A MORE HOLISTIC, FUTURIST LENS
Agile frameworks aren’t a new concept, although one might think so given its massive prioritization in the covid environment. The truth is, companies that weren’t focused on digital transformation, adaptability, scale, scope, reach and speed prior to the current global crisis were already on an uphill (perhaps ill-fated) path. For many organizations, the coronavirus crisis simply amplified and accelerated already-existent weaknesses stemming from traditional infrastructures and mindsets. Leaders of many organizations are painfully realizing this may be their final chance to pivot toward the intersection of strategy and technology.
To be relevant, strategic plans, due diligence and operational audits need to evaluate more than traditional metrics like revenues, margins, cash flow, costs, market competition and return on investment. Those measures are still critically relevant, of course, but they aren’t nearly enough. The analysis of a business also has to weigh more intangible, agile practices that can be the tipping point between success and failure in the long-term.
Below are 10 of the organizational mindset questions Escalate Solutions raises during every advisory engagement, along with some of the “must have” and “red flag” answers that capture our attention:
#1: WHAT ARE THE FOUNDATIONS OF THE CORPORATE CULTURE, MISSION, VISION & VALUES?
Digital Transformation | Automation | Technology
People | Customers
Short-Term Objectives Posing as Culture, Mission, Vision, Values
Competition-Driven or Industry-Centric Goals
“To be the Best at…”
#2: HOW AND WHERE DOES DECISION MAKING OCCUR?
Decentralized Management | Empowerment “At the Edge”
Iterative | Asks the Right Questions
Digitally Literate C-Suite
Centralized | Micro-Management
Silos | Departments | Divisions
Operational Decisions in the Board Room | “C-Suite Repeat”
#3: HOW ARE TEAMS STRUCTURED?
Multi-Disciplined | Cross-Functional
Small | Manageable
Inquisitive | Open to Help & Mentoring | Flexible
Structured Only by Department or Function
Large | Overly Complex Processes
#4: WHAT IS THE TYPICAL TIMELINE FOR THE IDENTIFICATION & EXECUTION OF OBJECTIVES?
Balance Scorecard Adoption
Daily & Weekly Tasks | Speed | Sprints
Test | Iterations | Fail Fast
Non-Specific Goals or Outcomes
Planning Without Stakeholder Alignment, Execution or Optimization
#5: WHAT IS THE ORGANIZATION’S VALUE PROPOSITION?
Differentiated | Continuously Evolving
Personal | Customized | Convenient | Secure | Private | Responsive
Brand Reinforcement | Promise | Expectation | Experiences
Informational | Illuminating | Inspirational | Inciting
Anticipatory | Research-Based | AI & ML Amplified
Driven Only by Competition or Marketplace
Lagging | Following | Retroactive
Fixed | Dated
#6: ARE CONNECTIVE STRATEGIES ESTABLISHED & IDENTIFIED?
Aware of Customer Journey | Responsive to Pain Points
User Focused | Empathy-Driven
Three-Tiered Communication Sophistication – Internal | Customers | Ecosystems
Social Media & Digital Savvy
Limited Communication Channels | Ignoring Feedback
Lack of Automated Programs or Systems
#7: HOW ARE RESILIENCY & OPERATIONAL EXCELLENCE PROMOTED?
Making Work “Work” | Business Continuity | Automation
Open-Minded Labor Structures – 1099 Economy | Pools | Trench vs Peak Benchmarks
Quality | Efficiency
Liability-Averse | Cybersecurity
Processes | Procedures | Infrastructure | Priorities | Objectives
Fails to Anticipate Challenges
Closed to New Ideas
Lack of Training | Minimal Investment in Technology & People
#8: HOW ARE PRODUCTS, SERVICES & DELIVERY CHANNELS INNOVATED?
Products – Efficiency | Volume | Supply Chain | Logistics
Services – UX | CX
Revenue | Profit | Technology-Enabled
Delivery Methods – B2B | B2C | Container & Microservices Mentality
Replication of Competition (Only)
Minimal Adaptation to User Needs
“That’s How We Have Always Done It” Mentality
Minimal Ecosystem Collaboration
#9: HOW DOES THE ORGANIZATION PRIORITIZE COLLABORATION, ECOSYSTEMS & COMMUNITY?
Social Capitalism | Difference Making
Influence | Reputation | Outreach | Relationships | Connectivity
Ecosystems Over Verticals
Collaboration Over Competition
Isolated | Independent | Industry Myopic
Minimal Scale, Scope & Reach
#10: HOW IS THE FUTURE OF WORK DEFINED?
Tele-Everything | E-Commerce
Distance Adaptability | Flexibility | WFH
Wellness | Safety
Training | Learning | Education | UpSkilling | ReSkilling | Apprenticeships
Requires Physical Touch
Trapped in Traditional Processes | Rigid Frameworks
Unable to Rapidly Scale Up or Down
– – – – –
Hopefully, these sample questions demonstrate how differently we approach our advisory services at Escalate Solutions. We are committed to helping our clients evolve from “best practices” to “next practices”, which requires a more agile, forward-thinking mentality. We are all operating in a VUCA (vulnerability, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity) environment, which means asking the questions are more important than ever. If any of these concepts – especially the “red flags” – strike a chord with the challenges facing your business, please contact us.