Corporate Strategy

What do you want from your strategic planning process?

Chances are your current planning process isn’t serving your organization any more. If it produces white binders of promises to come true in 5 years, we need to talk. Strategy must be "evergreen." By that we mean the process must refresh your strategy in step with the pace of change--once every three to five years isn’t enough.

In our view, strategy should connect your present strengths to your future vision. Focusing on fixing problems, pain points or what keeps you up at night produces narrow solutions that lead to more problems. When the organization’s stakeholders co-envision a desired future, they will own that future and make it come true. No "buy-in" required. We don’t just mean the C-Suite leaders, either. We prefer to cast a wide net around the whole of your organization and involve a comprehensive cross section of people collaborating in the design.

What does the future want and need from your organization? How well are all aspects of your organization aligned around a single future vision? Does your strategy help you say "no"?

Much of the time, the executive leadership team defines enterprise-wide strategy in an off-site meeting around a conference table with a few flip charts. The strategy is aimed three to five years into the future and includes a lot of emphasis on the budget. Despite best efforts, the first obstacle appears and the strategy loses muscle. Some blame the process. Others blame the numbers. Leaders may even blame each other.

Marble believes if you want a successful enterprise strategy, involve wide and deep representation of the enterprise in creating it. Learn more

Client Examples:

Marble founders helped the largest retailer in the world design its first enterprise strategy leading to a 600% increase in share price.

Marble helped a large family-owned, middle market packaging company create an enterprise strategy renewing the company for the 7th generation of owners and beyond.

Marble assisted a regional broadcasting company in the creation of its first strategy integrating and aligning all of its communications platforms.

How can past successes in growing your organization inform your future growth? What kind of growth will enable your organization to flourish? From where will growth come both today and tomorrow?

Your organization is moving towards one of two ends: the one you decide or the one decided for you. Marble will help you get clear on which direction you’re heading. Through our Strategic Actioning Session℠ process, we will guide you to explore the landscape of seen and unseen possibilities, try them on for size and choose your course of action. We will pose questions you may not think to ask and we will work with you to answer them. In the end, you’ll have a precise path forward and the momentum to make it happen. Learn more

Client Examples:

Marble assisted a mega-regional grocery retailer develop a new store concept to capture upscale "foodie" shoppers who demand more from a shopping experience.

Marble assisted a major convenience store and truck stop company to create a growth strategy resulting in double digit increases in revenue.

Marble assisted a national specialty financial services company to design and evaluate 10 new products and services doubling revenue and staving off emergent competition.

What is truly new in your marketplace? How do you shift from "innovation-as-R&D Department" thinking to making innovation a way of being? How is failure treated in your organization?

Innovative organizations are characterized by the ability to fearlessly explore and question even the most sacred organizational truths. Taking ideas to their extremes helps you see around corners where a possible solution lies. If you would like to shift toward a culture of innovation, we can bring outside insight to both respect and question accepted ways of thinking. Learn more

Client Examples:

Marble assisted a major city as it developed an innovation and technology design hub engaging corporate clients, start ups, technology talent and designers in commercially successful solutions design.

Marble assisted a major mid-west packaging company to establish additional innovation capability increasing product offerings, speeding up new product design, and improving time to market.

Marble assisted a 25-year old direct selling industry veteran in developing digital versions of its products--propelling them ahead of increasing competition.

If you took the same resources you have today and put them to work in a new company in the same industry, is this how you would deploy them? When was the last time you asked your organization "what have we stopped doing?" How much of your budget is tied to employee jobs rather than your market’s opportunities?

Organizations across industries often find themselves locked into tried and trusted patterns of work. With heads down, leaders each day produce what they came to produce. Meanwhile, the world outside shifts without notice and in what feels like sudden circumstance, budgets are suddenly bloated, new demands compete with old for precious resources and massive, fear-producing cost cuts are needed to "right size" the organization. Does this sound familiar to you?

If your organization is in the sweet spot of needing significant rebalancing of activity and outcome, Marble’s Low Cost Pursuit cost containment process will help. It honors an organization’s history and traditions while uncovering wasted resources, lost efficiencies, talent improvement opportunities, irrelevant programs and services, market positioning and competitive landscapes. Learn more

Client Examples:

For a $12B super-center retailer, Marble found $500M in annualized savings (margin, carrying costs, SG&A reduction)

Marble restructured the processes and systems for a major public/private medical university to enable the school to sustain state imposed budget cuts.

Marble found enough savings in only 90 days for a public community college to equal 30 times our fees.

Have you reunited the triple bottom line? Are you making money in your core business by "doing good"? To what social issue is your organization the answer?

While it's fine to give money to worthy causes, it's a much more sustainable strategy to choose a social issue that your company can solve at a profit. Companies around the globe are realizing that not only is it ok to make money from addressing social issues, they realize if money can be made, help will continue and even expand. By partnering with NGOs who are already knowledgeable and on the ground, companies find willing partners and new markets and delivery channels they don’t have to forge on their own. The examples are sources of some very innovative thinking, resulting in new products, services, markets and revenues. Learn more

Client Examples:

Marble helped a major financial services provider create accessible financial service products for a totally underserved population.

Marble created and implemented a disability benchmarking system for two Fortune 20 companies to benchmark their performance on disability-related regulation.

Marble developed framework and parameters for a Fortune 150 employee services firm to implement Global Reporting Initiative standards.

What do you need most in your organization and who already has it? What is your goal for choosing an acquisition or merger candidate? How are you telling your story in the merger marketplace?

If you find your organization is ready for an infusion of talent and new ideas, merging with or acquiring another entity may be the fastest way forward. The trick is, how do you make your merger or acquisition successful? Even though there are countless transactions announced annually, it’s common that the post-merger entities underperform the due diligence scenarios used to combine them. Marble will field a team of merger professionals to advise and guide with external perspective and dispassionate interest. Learn more

Client Examples:

Marble assisted four stand-alone complementary companies to combine into one absence management powerhouse to the benefit of all stakeholders.

Marble assisted three faith-based schools sharing physical space to begin to work together on behalf of their students, despite religious differences.

Is there financial pressure on your shoulders? Is your board pressuring you to do something that feels drastic? How much time do you have to know whether or not minor adjustments will work?

Sometimes it’s necessary to conduct the organizational version of spring-cleaning. Top to bottom, major change is needed. It’s not a task to which most look forward, no matter when it needs doing. Some leaders get a head start on change and build it into the fabric of the organization so that it’s more incremental. Unfortunately, many organizations put it off so long that they are in a crisis before they handle the situation properly. But a crisis is your ally and we never like to let a good crisis go to waste. Learn more

Client Examples:

Marble helped a West Coast medical school successfully restructure to stave off financial pressures of state budget cuts.

Marble helped a $12B retailer restructure to prepare for massive competition from its biggest competitor who moved in to our client’s home turf.

Marble assisted a major Midwest museum to restructure, better addressing critical infrastructure issues in combination with rapid growth in new attractions.

When was the last time you developed something completely new? How many ideas from your customers or your employees are sitting in desk drawers right now? What "weak signals" are early indicators of opportunity for you that competitors can’t see yet?

Seldom is anything really new, but if necessity is the mother of invention, there's no time like the present. While it's still important to keep watch internally, no longer does an organization have to dream up an idea of its own. With the expansion of frame breaking phenomena into every day business models like crowd-sourcing and hack-a-thons, ideas and talent are available for hire. The trick is to curate the available supply and demand and find the ideas that are yours alone to bring to market. Marble helps organizations find, make sense of and develop the ideas that will yield new markets, revenue and ultimately, profit. Learn more

Client Examples:

Marble assisted in the formation of a ground-breaking design, innovation and technology cluster in a major metropolitan market.

Marble created and launched a portfolio of new products for a national, privately owned financial services firm, doubling its revenue.

Marble helped an HBCU institution of higher education to identify and launch new programs to meet the demands of the changing student population.

How effective is your social media marketing strategy? What do you do with the data from your mentions on blogs, Twitter feeds, Pinterest and FaceBook? How have you made customer contact with your brand consistent at all touch points?

We all know the formula for marketing success: the right product, in the right place, at the right time, for the right price. How you define "right" however is the difference between profit and loss. Organizations who are asleep at the marketing switch risk "Likes" from all over the world. Never has it been more important to be clear about your marketing spend and never have there been so many seemingly enticing choices to spend it. Learn more

Client Examples:

Marble designed and implemented a marketing strategy for a major building products association, improving legislative successes and increasing membership.

Marble assisted a global soft drinks giant in the design of a marketing strategy for its convenience store distribution channel.

Marble assisted a global confectioner in creating its European marketing and distribution strategy.

How do you plan to spin off the division you just sold? What is the impact to your organization during the transition out of one of your most promising business lines? What will it take to close your doors well?

If the time comes for a department, division, divestiture or entire organization to cease existence, there are multiple potential horizons to consider. If you have the luxury to plan your sunset, all horizons are possible. Usually, other forces are at work, however and sunsetting comes hard. Either way, consider that the employees, the physical assets, the relationships, the partners, the vendors, the customers, the community etc. all will need a robust exit strategy. Simultaneously. Learn

Client Examples:

Marble assisted an international foundation in designing and implementing a sunsetting strategy and plan to carry out its single-generation charter.

Marble assisted a private university in identifying and closing academic programs which have outlived their usefulness so that resources could be redeployed to new programs students want.