The Art of Strategy

Examining how strategies are created, implemented, and executed is a relatively recent practice, we believe that strategic transformation has evolved and is heading to a new era, we at CCS By focusing on a company’s greatest strengths, thinking big, and making tough choices, we help clients surpass the competition.

  • Business strategy.
  • Customer strategy.
  • Operations strategy.
  • Organization strategy.
  • Product and service innovation.
  • Technology strategy.
Gain sustainable advantage using our capabilities-driven strategy

We know why strategies fail: They fail when companies do not give sufficient attention and weight to their differentiating capabilities and how these capabilities should fit together to form a mutually reinforcing system. Because this blind spot is so common in corporate strategy, the rewards are all the more immense for companies that manage to align their key capabilities.
At Cambridge Consulting Services, we work with our clients to develop a coherent, capabilities-driven strategy that aligns at every level. Only a coherent company — one that pursues a clear strategic direction, builds a system of differentiating capabilities consistent with that direction, and sells products and services that thrive within that system — can reliably and sustainably outpace competitors.

There are few bad businesses, but many bad strategies. Cambridge Consulting brings you 50+ years of experience, across all geographies and industry sectors, to help you build lasting capabilities into your team and help your organization mobilize for change. We offer creative solutions that have helped thousands of companies develop and execute winning strategies that create more value in their business. We work collaboratively with you, so you can:

  • Achieve consistent, long-term growth, a feat only one in nine companies manages to pull off. Develop a corporate strategy that produces sustainable value, one that enables you to reach full potential in your core business, expand into adjacencies using a repeatable model, and successfully expand into emerging markets.
  • Make key decisions on where to play and how to win by developing a business unit strategy that takes a specific business to its full potential.
  • Develop digital strategies that deliver on the promise of your core strategy, with a unique approach that combines near-term, high-impact initiatives with a bold vision for how your company will compete as digital reshapes your industry.
  • Leverage the power of proven tools and techniques that enable you to execute your strategy with nimble experimentation and quick-hit problem resolution that recapture the responsiveness your company enjoyed in its early days. Our structured approach to innovation enables you to merge the talents of your commercially focused and creative team members to spur the innovations that fuel your strategy.
  • We help clients improve the effectiveness of the board of directors through counseling, capability building, and developing new insights.
  • It’s no mystery; an effective board of directors has a better understanding of where their company creates value, the potential risks, and their strategy.
  • These boards evaluate resource allocation, embrace robust feedback, and debate alternative strategies. They also assess trends and uncertainties and discuss where value will be created with the CEO. Unengaged boards, on the other hand, can destroy value by focusing exclusively on fiduciary activities or overemphasizing short-term financial results.
  • We help clients improve the collaboration between management and the board by, for example, facilitating strategic discussions or CEO succession plans.
Effective boards
  • Our latest research shows that effective boards find the right balance between providing strategic direction and ensuring effective oversight. But we also know that most boards still fall short.
  • We lead group and one-on-one discussions with board members and chairpersons to improve the knowledge of the board and help directors build a long-term mind-set.
Build a forward-looking board
  • Many boards spend significantly more time on fiduciary activities than on value-enhancing discussions. Our recent research has shown that effective boards interact more often with their management teams and engage in continuous-improvement activities such as regular feedback and performance discussions.
  • We support our clients with their regular board-effectiveness discussions by analyzing how they spend their time, how they work together, and how they perceive board performance overall. The results are measured against a large global sample.
Provide a forum for board exchange
  • Many of today’s boards struggle to master the critical governance challenges stemming from regulatory, industry, and macroeconomic trends.
  • We provide a number of platforms for chairs and board directors to have a candid dialogue with peers, benefit from one another’s experience, and hear from experts, both in client-specific or multi-client formats.
  • Establish an effective board and governance structure.
  • New regulatory requirements, particularly in the banking sector, drive increased sub-sidiarization of multinational organizations. We have developed a unique approach for creating an integrated group and subsidiary governance framework. We support our clients to define consistent principles that guide the composition of boards, balance group and subsidiary board responsibilities, and align meeting schedules.
  • Our new Business approach to strategy offers a bolder path to making big moves. Our Research in strategy and macroeconomics combines cutting-edge tools and the experience of management Gurus.
  • We bring privileged knowledge into these data, enabling our clients to calibrate the odds of their success and put their money where the strategy is.
  • We help clients improve performance by designing portfolios—supported by resource reallocation, integrated business-unit strategies, and planning processes—that position them for success.
  • To build a balanced portfolio and reignite growth, companies must finely calibrate their current mix of assets, capabilities, and processes. We combine expertise in resource allocation, performance improvement, M&A, and divestitures to strengthen companies and build sustainable value. Our rigorous methodology and proprietary tools help our clients plan and execute bold, agile, and decisive portfolio moves.
  • Our research over 70 years suggests that growth is overwhelmingly determined by the markets in which companies choose to compete. This is why identifying the right trends and making the big moves to capitalize on them is critical to success. Yet many companies passively manage their portfolios through a yearly, largely financial review of a single overarching budget and miss segment-level opportunities within the existing portfolio of businesses and beyond.
  • We support clients to improve performance across their existing portfolio and pinpoint opportunities for growth in new business areas. We also help identify areas where they might need to cut back or divest.
  • Our breadth of expertise, proprietary tools, and experience make us uniquely suited to advise clients on which fine-grained combination of business segments and markets will create the most value.
  • We’ve found that highly successful companies are consistent and dynamic resource reallocators. These companies continually grow by investing in existing businesses, developing or acquiring new businesses, and exiting unprofitable ones. They are more resilient in the face of increasing change, more likely to stay independent, and create more value, particularly in turbulent economic times.
  • Yet most companies are slow to move resources between businesses. Every year they stick to the same processes for strategy development, capital planning, talent management, and budgeting, and every year the outcome is only marginally different from that of the year before, and the year before that. To paraphrase Albert Einstein, they do the same thing over and over again but expect different results.
  • We help clients design more effective strategic-planning and budgeting processes so that they can overcome the inertia that stalls growth and prevents active reallocation of resources. We have developed proven tools and techniques to help executives shake up the status quo and overcome the processes and behavioral barriers that stand in the way of dynamic portfolio renewal.
  • Companies often struggle with their strategic-management and planning processes. It can be challenging to reconcile the pressure for short-term returns with long-term strategic goals, and it’s difficult to build the capabilities needed to execute strategies. We help companies strengthen their strategy-development processes, make better decisions, and then act on them. We can assist clients with solutions to specific issues or design a whole new approach to strategic management and planning.
  • We know winning strategies are built on more than optimistic timetables; they are based on bold, unbiased decisions. Building processes that draw upon behavioral strategy reduces the impact of cognitive biases—excessive optimism, groupthink, and loss aversion—that can affect critical decisions made by even the most experienced managers in the best companies.
  • We also help clients determine who should be managing the strategic-planning process. Although CEOs remain ultimately responsible for strategic decisions, in many organizations they are turning more and more to a chief strategy officer (CSO) to craft and implement successful strategies. We can provide guidance on issues unique to CSOs, including the array of functions that CSOs perform, processes for successful strategic planning, and advice on working with the executive team and board.
  • We understand that corporate-strategy teams play a variety of roles in divergent contexts with differing challenges. To support teams, we develop bespoke solutions tailored to a company’s culture, organizational structure, team responsibilities, and processes.
  • We help clients develop strategy for the digital age and identify the opportunities and threats digital transformation will bring to their industries.
  • We help clients reinvent for the digital age. From smartphone makers to miners, we work with digital natives and nondigital players alike to accelerate their transformation by building structures for speed and stability, changing their cultures to cultivate experimentation, and identifying and engaging the best digital talent. We help hard code digital into the DNA of businesses to produce seamless customer experiences, streamlined services, and innovative new business models.
  • This is how we do it:
    • Digital discovery
      • With decades of strategy experience and data-driven insights, we accompany clients on a journey to understand the opportunities and threats digital transformation will bring to their industries. We anticipate which digital competitors and technologies could enter their industries, analyze how these competitors might change the game, and plot a course to defend and seize new business opportunities.
    • Digital transformation
      • Armed with this knowledge, we work with clients to complete a process of reinvention from the inside out. We help clients transform themselves for the digital age by aligning their company’s structure and processes with a future where automation and machine learning will remake industries and reshape the workforce. We assist by attracting, engaging, and putting strategies in place to retain the best digital people. And we work with clients to ensure they have the capabilities—the systems, tools, digital skills, and technology—to realize their strategic vision.

We help companies to build their businesses by identifying granular growth opportunities and to improve their performance through innovation in products, services, processes, and business models.

  • Growth
    • Growth is vital for funding new investments, attracting great talent, and acquiring assets. It is also a critical driver of overall company performance.
    • Our research consistently shows that looking for growth broadly in dynamic or mature industries can be misguided or even downright wrong. Many so-called growth industries, such as high tech, include segments that are not growing at all. And industries that most consider mature, such as consumer goods, often have segments that are growing rapidly. Similarly, even geographies that are perceived as “emerging” typically have some sectors that are already mature, while other sectors are still in the “land grab” phase.
    • We help our clients develop a more detailed perspective on trends, future growth rates, and market structures. By looking across all the possible directions of growth—growing the core, expanding geographically, diversifying into adjacencies, and taking opportunities that arise from value-chain disruptions and integrations—we help companies choose where to compete, and we support them as they execute their growth strategies.
    • We look at four levers when working with clients to define how to capture the growth opportunities they have identified:
      • Marketing and sales, including operational excellence.
      • M&A and divestitures.
      • innovation.
      • resource allocation.
  • Innovation
    • Innovation is critical to growth, particularly as the speed of business cycles continues to increase. Most companies understand the importance of innovation but fall short when it comes to execution.
    • We define innovation as creativity plus delivery, helping our clients transform their innovation performance by focusing on four requirements for innovating at scale: strategy, pipeline of ideas, execution, and organization.
  • A clear strategy
    • We support clients as they develop a clear innovation strategy that meets their business-growth targets and strategic objectives. We do this by helping clients understand the gap between actual and aspirational performance that innovation needs to fill, then set financial targets related to innovation, the metrics required to measure performance, and the strategic areas on which to focus investments.
  • A strong pipeline of profitable innovation
    • Innovation depends in part on a company’s ability to get better, more profitable ideas into its pipeline. We help clients identify the areas of their business that are ripe for innovation and mine those areas for ideas. We then support them in rapid prototyping and business-case development to build those ideas quickly into profitable businesses. We also help clients reap the benefits of “open innovation,” positioning them to look beyond their own boundaries to gain access to ideas, knowledge, and technology that add to the value of their own resources.
  • Smart, fast, and consistent execution
    • We have a variety of exclusive approaches for helping clients get higher returns from their investments in research through better execution. Using proprietary benchmarks along with in-depth diagnostic tools and capability-building methodologies, we support clients in improving and sustaining the productivity of their R&D functions. We also help clients build the types of repeatable, error-free, scalable processes that are necessary for both incremental and breakthrough innovation.
  • A capable, mobilized organization
    • To create an environment that promotes innovation, we help clients motivate talent by organizing people in the right roles and then arming them with the tools to be successful. We help clients design an organizational structure to execute their specific R&D strategy, addressing issues such as talent management and development, culture change, global collaboration, performance management, external collaboration models, and the role of R&D leadership.