Sometimes strategy and business development work require a bit of external input. That’s why everyone has consultants around every now and then, to broaden the experience base and specialist insights from different businesses. But why do you so easily trust external strategy consultants when they claim they know your business better than you do? Yes, they are usually great at presenting what others have done and giving advice. Yes, they are usually smart people. But are they accountable for your success (or failure)? Do they really beat the collective intelligence of your own organization? Well, when it comes to accountability it will still be you, in the balance, trying to deliver on both growth and profitability. On many occasions, I have had executives tell me, “We just need these consultants to tell us what we already know, so the board is happy”. At other times, managers show me hundreds of PowerPoint slides, wondering what the heck to do with them. Is this a way to hedge against failure, saying, “We just did what the consultants told us to do”?

Don’t hedge against failure. Succeed instead. Trust your own organization to put together a strategic and tactical plan for a prosperous future.

I’m betting that you have an idea about what’s wrong and what needs to be improved. Perhaps insight into how things should be, but you don’t quite know how to get it done. But why is that so hard? Well, I think a large part of the truth lies in the way organizations work with business and operational development. This is very fragmented work, usually with low systemization. One reason for this is probably the fear of being constrained by any kind of corporate way of working or losing the agility and the ability to proactively change. And I agree that a competitive and ambitious organization needs to be agile and proactive, but that does not mean refraining from using a common digital tool and a common language when designing, testing and evolving into a next generation business. The benefits are so much greater when there is transparency and common understanding of the challenges residing within the organization. Through history, we have seen it many times, that if we let more people in on the problem, we will get a much better solution for many more people. There is less risk of sub-optimizing and therefore smarter collaborative approaches to larger and more complex problems. Your future success lies in mastering complexity better than your competition. Engaging your entire organization in the challenge is one way of achieving that. Having new digital capabilities at hand will help you enhance and test your new ideas and will allow for continuous transformation of human intelligence into knowledge that can be (re-)used by everyone. These digital capabilities enable smarter collaboration, relating to balancing different portfolios of business models, product & services, R&D, competence, customers, markets, competitors, suppliers, change initiatives, performance metrics, etc. A foundation for a continuously learning organization which can retain knowledge, information and data as we evolve. New technologies like a Digital Twin of your Organization. And of course, you should still use the services of smart consultants and add their knowledge and skills into your collective intelligence. But don’t let them drive your strategic agenda. Instead, why not do more of that fun and exciting work yourself?