Change and Transformation
“The Beacon Group’s program proved to be a transformational experience for our staff, and has created a new, more open culture of creativity and collaboration that has given The Globe and Mail a marked and measurable competitive advantage.”
— Phillip Crawley
“The Beacon Group was able to handle our 360 reviews across 9 offices in a manner that brought significant value to our partners, the firm and ultimately our clients.”
— Judson Whiteside
“The human capital programs provided by The Beacon Group are best in class.”
— Tye Burt
“The Beacon Group approaches very serious and difficult topics in an accessible and insightful way.”
— Eric Siegel
“The Beacon Group’s thought provoking curriculum utilizes best practice tools and interactive media for evaluation, assessment and overall learning. It has helped us raise the bar on our calibre of talent.”
— Ernst Lieb
“The Beacon Group delivered cutting edge perspectives on many human capital topics that were tailored and customized to our company in a way that we could not have obtained at more generic, cookie-cutter advising shops.”
— Doug Lord
“The Beacon Group acted as a strategic partner and was instrumental in helping us raise the bar on candid dialogue and team performance.”
— Robert Courteau
“We engaged The Beacon Group when we needed to bring two cultures together after our first major international acquisition: the evidence of their success lies in both the subsequent growth in our business and our presence in more than twelve countries on five continents.”
— Rupert Duchesne
“The Beacon Group excels in facilitating open & candid dialogue that has fostered superior team performance.”
— Mary Ellen Carlyle
“Top-level thought leadership, combined with practical, cost-effective solutions—that’s the real value the Beacon Group team brings to bear on Foresters talent challenges.”
— Suanne Nielsen
“Doug Williamson and his team were of invaluable assistance in helping our organization navigate through a completely new strategic planning process and emerge with a three year plan resoundingly endorsed by our Board. Doug’s global perspectives and ability to drive consensus was an integral part of our success.”
— Don Forgeron
“The Global HR & Communications senior team engaged the Beacon Group in shepherding us through a unique strategic planning process that involved an outside-in view of our current and future workforce and how this aligns to our business strategy. Thanks to Doug and his team it was a thought provoking process that sharpened our strategic thinking and, in the end, made our strategy stronger.”
— Sylvia Chrominska
“The Beacon Group’s customized and personalized approach fit our needs perfectly. From the initial self-discovery phase all the way to recommending solutions, the work they have done has been consistently world-class. They combine strong analytics with a wealth of real world experience. They are focused, targeted and are experts at taking theoretic concepts and making them real. We look forward to working with Doug and his team as we continue to elevate our business and improve our internal performance.”
— Don Romano
In the hyperactive and challenging world in which we all live, it is becoming harder and harder for business leaders to find time to read, reflect and gain insight from the many valuable sources at our disposal.
In "Provocative Propositions", The Beacon Group attempts to fill that void by offering our opinion, often rather pointed, on a wide array of issues we believe are relevant to leading a modern organization.
The articles are catalogued into 12 categories so you can quickly and easily find a topic of particular interest. We then offer three easy steps under the heading "In Our Opinion" to help business leaders take action on the key themes.
Simply click on the category and read away.
Benefits of Boldness
You don't want safe. Really, you don't.
"Our company is facing significant market challenges. It isn't a good time to take a risk with new ideas and strategies, because we can't afford to make mistakes in this environment".
How many times have you heard a manager or executive shoot down an idea with this statement?
It's the same excuse in good times?
"Our company has been printing cash for the past few years. Why would we throw that away by taking risks with new ideas and strategies? We shouldn't try to fix things that aren't broken."
Bernd Schmitt from his book "Big Think Strategy" he explains this is the essence of Small Thinking.
The fact is most companies think small. It's all about the bottom line, the next quarter and Wall Street expectations.
The problem is this kind of thinking puts you behind the curve. It means that your company is always responding to the advances of others.
The outcome is a lack of vision, uninspired products and an incoherent strategy... if you can even call it a strategy in the first place.
The solution is to get your coworkers thinking about big and bold ideas. Foster an environment where this becomes as normal as a trip to the water cooler. Get them to draw unusual connections across industries and products.
How do you think?
Do you see the links? Probably not, because there aren't any. That's the point.
This isn't how your company thinks. We're all familiar with silos, sectors, product categories, and the list goes on and on. Think outside of your box at your own peril.
There's no room for...
And yet it's these kinds of links that are the basis of Big Think Strategy.
Killing the sacred cow
Have you ever noticed that each industry has its prevailing conventions. There are certain ways of doing things, certain assumptions about the customers and of course ideas that are just "impossible".
It's impossible to deliver packages overnight...
Fed Ex killed that sacred cow. They flew packages daily through a hub in Memphis. Turns out people were actually willing to pay for the speed and convenience.
People will never buy a computer without seeing and feeling it at a store...
Dell killed that sacred cow. They sold computers online, getting rid of retail square footage and minimizing inventory overhead. Turns out people were more than willing to trade the "touchy and feely" store experience for lower prices and customization.
Big think is about killing your sacred cows. You'd be surprised what customers are willing to pay for.
Big Think Culture
When CEO Jeffrey Immelt arrived at GE, the company was a well-oiled profit machine. There wasn't much he needed to do. Yet he decided to make a leap from Small Think to Big Think. He required his direct reports to come up with three "Imagination Breakthroughs" a year that produce at least $100 million in growth. The ideas are reviewed and evaluated by a committee panel.
Google lets its employees use 20% of their time to work on personal projects. 20% of their time has resulted in 50% of Google's ideas, including AdSense and Google News.
Similarly, Apple isn't scared to kill its own product lines prematurely to replace them with newer products. It's about maintaining innovation.
In Our Opinion
The Beacon Group's Keys to producing Big Think Strategy
Big Think strategy isn't about incremental steps or small improvements in your product line. We're talking about revolutionizing product categories and drawing new links between industries.
Here are a few suggestions to get this process going in your company...
Look at other industries - Get your co-workers to draw a list of most admired companies in other sectors. What do they do to get ahead of their game? What are the key points of their strategy? This should be a regular brainstorming session. Don't box yourself in one sector.
Sacred Cows - We talked a bit about sacred cows in various industries. Which ones exist in your industry? Draw a list and see which strategies you can implement to meet them.
Customers - Take those sacred cows to the customer. Are they willing to pay for a product that transcends those needs? Customers can be great for telling you how to improve your products through their feedback. But that's just incremental... Find out what they really want to do, but are unable to.
Execution - It's not enough to have a good idea. The whole plan has to fit within a marketing, product and customer service strategy. Then you need a leader with passion to execute, otherwise the idea will get truncated before it leaves port. This is the tricky part for any organization.