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Alethia takes a comprehensive approach as a business consultant in assessing the business and giving guidance to management.  We insure that the business strategy is sound, validated and clearly focused.

We work to align the strategy with several critical dimensions of the business.  A few of these include:

  • Mission, Vision, Values
  • Human Resources
  • Financial
  • Operations
  • Sales
  • Marketing
  • Customer
  • Corporate Structure

We believe that success can only be achieved if all of these dimensions are aligned and driving toward the same destination.  Most importantly, success is achieved through great execution.

There are several important components of corporate strategy that leaders of organizations focus on.  The main tasks of corporate strategy are:

  1. Allocation of resources
  2. Organizational design
  3. Portfolio management
  4. Strategic trade-offs

Allocation of Resources

The allocation of resources at a firm focuses mostly on two resources: people and capital.  In an effort to maximize the value of the entire firm, leaders must determine how to allocate these resources to the various businesses or business units to make the whole greater than the sum of the parts.

Key factors related to allocation of resources are:

  • People
    • Identifying core competencies and ensuring they are well distributed across the firm
    • Moving leaders to the places they are needed most and add the most value (changes over time-based on priorities)
    • Ensuring an appropriate supply of talent is available to all businesses
  • Capital
    • Allocating capital across businesses so it earns the highest risk-adjusted return
    • Analyzing external opportunities (mergers and acquisitions) and allocating capital between internal (projects) and external opportunities

Organization Design

Organization design involves ensuring the firm has the necessary corporate structure and related systems in place to create the maximum amount of value.  Factors that leaders must consider are, the role of the corporate head office (centralized vs decentralized approach and the reporting structure of individuals and business units (vertical hierarchy, matrix reporting, etc.).

Key factors related to allocation of resources are:

  • Head office (centralized vs decentralized)
    • Determining how much autonomy to give business units
    • Deciding whether decisions are made top down or bottom up
    • Influence on the strategy of business units
  • Organizational structure (reporting)
    • Determine how large initiatives and commitments will be divided into smaller projects
    • Integrating business units and business functions such that there are no redundancies
    • Allowing for the balance between risk and return to exist by separating responsibilities
    • Developing centers of excellence
    • Determining the appropriate delegation of authority
    • Setting governance structures
    • Setting reporting structures (military / top down, matrix reporting

Portfolio Management

Portfolio management looks at the way business units complement each other, their correlations, and decides where the firm will “play” (i.e. what businesses it will or won’t enter).

Corporate Strategy related to portfolio management includes:

  • Deciding what business to be in or to be out of
  • Determining the extent of vertical integration the firm should have
  • Managing risk through diversification and reducing the correlation of results across businesses
  • Creating strategic options by seeding new opportunities that could be heavily invested in if appropriate
  • Monitor the competitive landscape and ensure the portfolio is well balanced relative to trends in the market

Strategic Trade-offs

One of the most challenging aspects of corporate strategy is balancing the trade-offs between risk and return across the firm.  It’s important to have a holistic view of all the businesses combined and ensure that the desired levels are risk management and return generation are being pursued.

Below are the main factors to consider for strategic trade-offs:

  • Managing risk
    • Firm-wide risk is largely depending on the strategies it chooses to pursue
    • True product differentiation, for example, is a very high-risk strategy that could result in a market leadership position, or total ruin
    • Many companies adopt a copycat strategy by looking at what other risk takers have done and modifying it slightly
    • It’s important to be fully aware of strategies and associated risks across the firm
    • Some areas might require true differentiation (or cost leadership) but other areas might be better suited to copy-cat strategies that rely on incremental improvements
    • The degree of autonomy business units have is important in managing this risk
  • Generating returns
    • Higher risk strategies create the possibility of higher rates of return. The examples above of true product differentiation or cost leadership could provide the most return in the long run if they are well executed
    • Swinging for the fences will lead to more home runs, and more strikeouts so it’s important to have the appropriate number of options in the portfolio. These options can later turn into big bets as the strategy develops
  • Incentives
    • Incentive structures will play a big role in how much risk and how much return managers seek
    • It may be necessary to separate the responsibilities of risk management and return generation so that each can be pursued to the desired level
    • It may further help to manage multiple overlapping timelines, ranging from short-term risk/return to long-term risk/return and ensuring there is appropriate dispersion.

Organizational design

Is a step-by-step methodology which identifies dysfunctional aspects of work flow, procedures, structures and systems, realigns them to fit current business realities/goals and then develops plans to implement the new changes. The process focuses on improving both the technical and people side of the business.

For most companies, the design process leads to a more effective organization design, significantly improved results (profitability, customer service, internal operations), and employees who are empowered and committed to the business. The hallmark of the design process is a comprehensive and holistic approach to organizational improvement that touches all aspects of organizational life, so you can achieve:

  • Excellent customer service
  • Increased profitability
  • Reduced operating costs
  • Improved efficiency and cycle time
  • A culture of committed and engaged employees
  • A clear strategy for managing and growing your business

By design we’re talking about the integration of people with core business processes, technology and systems. A well-designed organization ensures that the form of the organization matches its purpose or strategy, meets the challenges posed by business realities and significantly increases the likelihood that the collective efforts of people will be successful.

As companies grow and the challenges in the external environment become more complex, businesses processes, structures and systems that once worked become barriers to efficiency, customer service, employee morale and financial profitability. Organizations that don’t periodically renew themselves suffer from such symptoms as:

  • Inefficient workflow with breakdowns and non value-added steps
  • Redundancies in effort (“we don’t have time to do things right, but do have time to do them over”)
  • Fragmented work with little regard for good of the whole (Production ships bad parts to meet their quotas)
  • Lack of knowledge and focus on the customer
  • Silo mentality and turf battles
  • Lack of ownership (“It’s not my job”)
  • Cover up and blame rather than identifying and solving problems
  • Delays in decision-making
  • People don’t have information or authority to solve problems when and where they occur
  • Management, rather than the front line, is responsible for solving problems when things go wrong
  • It takes a long time to get something done
  • Systems are ill-defined or reinforce wrong behaviors
  • Mistrust between workers and management

METHODOLOGY

Although adaptable to the size, complexity and needs of any organization, the design process consists of the following steps.

Charter the design process

As senior leaders, you come together to discuss current business results, organizational health, environmental demands, etc. and the need to embark on such a process. You establish a charter for the design process that includes a “case for change,” desired outcomes, scope, allocation of resources, time deadlines, participation, communications strategy, and other parameters that will guide the project.

(At times, senior teams may go through either a strategic planning process or an executive team development process prior to beginning a redesign initiative, depending on how clear they are about their strategy and how well they work together as a team.)

Assess the current state of the business

You don’t want to begin making changes until you have a good understanding of the current organization. Using the Alethia model, we facilitate a comprehensive assessment of your organization to understand how it functions, its strengths and weaknesses, and alignment to your core ideology and business strategy. The assessment process is astounding in the clarity it brings an organization’s leaders and members, not only regarding how the organization currently works but how the various parts are interrelated, its overall state of health and, most importantly, what needs to be done to make improvements.

Design the new organization

The senior team (and/or others who have been invited to participate in the process), look to the future and develop a complete set of design recommendations for the “ideal future.” At a high level, the steps in this process include the following:

  • Defining your basic organizing principle. (Will you organize primarily around functions, processes, customer-types, technologies, geographies, etc.?)
  • Streamlining core business processes—those that result in revenue and/or deliverable’s to customers.
  • Documenting and standardizing procedures.
  • Organizing people around core processes. Identifying headcount necessary to do core work.
  • Defining tasks, functions, and skills. What are the performance metrics for each function/team? How are they evaluated and held accountable?
  • Determining facility, layout and equipment needs of various teams and departments throughout the organization.
  • Identifying support resources (finance, sales, HR, etc.), mission, staffing, etc. and where should these should be located.
  • Defining the management structure that provides strategic, coordinating and operational support.
  • Improving coordinating and development systems (hiring, training, compensation, information-sharing, goal-setting, etc.).

At some point the design process morphs into transition planning as critical implementation dates are set and specific, concrete action plans created to implement the new design. And a key part of this step includes communicating progress to other members of the organization. A communications plan is developed that educates people in what is happening. Education brings awareness, and everyone’s inclusion brings the beginning of commitment.

Implement the design

Now the task is to make the design live. People are organized into natural work groups which receive training in the new design, team skills and start-up team building. New work roles are learned and new relationships within and without the unit are established. Equipment and facilities are rearranged. Reward systems, performance systems, information sharing, decision-making and management systems are changed and adjusted. Some of this can be accomplished quickly. Some may require more detail and be implemented over a longer period of time.

Organization Development is an effort that is:

  • Planned
  • Organization-wide
  • Managed from the top

It increases organization effectiveness and health through planned interventions in the organization’s “processes,” using behavioral-science knowledge.

It is not a surprise that the unit of analysis for OD practitioners is organization, which means that in OD we focus on developing an organizations capabilities through alignment of strategy, structure, management processes, people, and rewards and metrics.

Our corporate workshops are custom-tailored to meet the issues you have. Some of the more popular workshops include those that address:

  • Emotional Intelligence
  • DISC/Motivators/EiQ2/Hartman Value Profile/Learning Styles Assessments and Debriefs
  • Neuro Leadership
  • Servant Leadership
  • Resilient Leadership
  • Coaching for Managers
  • Decision Making
  • Conflict Resolution
  • Negotiation Strategies
  • Working as a Team
  • Communication Strategies
  • Mission/Vision/Standards
  • Goal Setting
  • Building Trust
  • Change Management

Your group will learn how to:

  • Promote Creative & Adaptive Problem Solving
  • Overcome Blocks to Creativity and Organizational Innovation
  • Foster Better Communication
  • Build Trust and Support in Teams
  • Accelerate and Improve Individual and Group Decision Making
  • Enhance Focus & Concentration
  • Manage Change More Effectively
  • Manage Conflict Expertly
  • Communicate More Effectively In Crisis

Executive retreats are often referred to as the “most important meeting of the year.   They are far more important than the rounds of golf, team-building exercises, and nice meals that often are a part of retreats.

Executive retreats can be challenging.  This is where the rubber meets the road. Decisions made at a retreat can have a dramatic impact on revenue, profitability and overall business success.

Each one of our retreats offer executives the ability to experience their AUTHENTIC self.

Through these retreats:

  • Trust is developed and deepened
  • Relationships are strengthened
  • Communication is improved
  • Clarity is gained
  • Executives are refreshed, refocused & renewed

While we are using these amazing formats to elicit emotions from the executives, we are also connecting them through their shared core values.  Through the authentic behavior exercises, the executives are able to fully examine and share core values, finding common ground they never knew existed amongst the group.

At the end of each retreat, we bind the individuals with their own agreements to themselves and each other.  This final act will help the executives hold themselves accountable following the retreat.  We also provide additional and on-going coaching with individuals and as a group to sustain the momentum moving forward.

For many companies, communicating regularly with employees is essential for keeping them informed of developments, such as new products, sales incentives, personnel issues, and other changes.

We are often called upon to help senior management better communicate with staff and employees in a non-threatening manner.

Speaking engagements include:

  • Keynote
  • Training
  • Corporate Communications
  • Special Events/Subjects

Whatever your needs, let us be the conduit you’re looking for.

Mergers and acquisitions consulting, also known as M&A consulting, as well as investment banking consulting are other services we provide on a limited basis.  Mr. Warren has over 20 years of experience in financial services, M&A and investment banking, which he utilizes with a limited number of clients to aid in business expansion, strategic planning and other corporate goals depending on each clients needs.

In our M&A consulting role, our main goal is to improve efficiency and achieve growth by purchasing, selling, combining or helping to restructuring organizations.

Some of the areas that are thoroughly examined in the process are:

  • Strategic Positioning
  • Financial Resources
  • Operations Management
  • Human Capital
  • Integration
  • Deal Structure
  • Corporate Structure

We have the ability to connect the best strategic partners together depending on the situation through a vast amount of resources.   Mr. Warren has relationships with several broker-dealers, investment banks, financial analysts, accountants, attorneys, individual and institutional investors, as well as family offices both nationally and internationally.