A multi-office planning firm engaged us to help formulate a strategic plan. This planning was not the first such effort by the firm. While past efforts had varying degrees of success, the principals felt that generic strategic plans lacked adequate understanding of the fundamental nature of firms in the design disciplines. We collected information about the firm that helped us understand the firm, the specific issues and opportunities facing the firm, the professional aspirations of the firm's principals and other key players, and the successes and shortcomings of previous strategic planning efforts.
We then engaged in two strategic planning efforts that helped the principals define vision and goals, identify opportunities leveraging current strengths, limitations that needed to be addressed, and various aspects of the culture and leadership, most notably having to do with the appetite for risk. Growth proved to be an overarching goal, but the risk adversity of many within the governance group increased the degree of challenge in identifying and agreeing on the strategy to achieve it.
With our help, the Strategic Planning Group identified and discussed various strategies — incremental growth based on broadening the services provided to existing clients, key hires with market presence in new geographies, market-oriented international relationships, mergers, and acquisitions.
The firm's strong recent profitability allowed it to consider opportunities that would otherwise have been out of reach, and their strategic planning effort concluded with the firm targeting incremental growth in its domestic arenas and faster growth in targeted international geographies. The firm moved quickly in both aspects, both with our help. It developed and implemented a more focused marketing program to expand its services within its existing domestic client base. It recruited a planner with strong marketing skills and a strong geographic presence in the Middle East and Asia, and it reinforced its overseas strengths further by relocating some talent already in the firm who wanted to be part of the new office.
Still warranting attention will be how the firm's leaders and senior managers will support, monitor, and manage the expanded operations. Those with such responsibilities moved quickly to delegate some of their existing responsibilities to give them the necessary time and learning opportunity to take on their expanded commitments.