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What’s behind under-performing listed companies?
Breaking Covid-19 / Corona-virus pandemic news, how to lead
Innocent Dutiro – Global Advisors Associate Partner
Why I joined Global Advisors
My career to date has been devoted to solving problems and delivering value to enterprises that I have worked with both as a consultant and executive. Consulting gives me an opportunity to problem-solve and help clients achieve lasting results. It is one of my first loves. I have been fortunate to enjoy many different roles in a variety of locations – as an engineer in the United Kingdom and South Africa, as an executive in the consumer goods industry, as a divisional CEO of a large life insurer across 15 countries in Africa and Asia, and as CEO of a JSE-listed workplace-solutions company.
Partner-level consulting roles at Deloitte, Gemini Consulting and Bain & Company have punctuated my career and exposed me to a wide range of client industries and problems.
I am particularly excited by the Global Advisors proposition to clients and the values, ethics and culture that the team has built. I believe in the relevance of our approach to quantified strategy through to delivered results – in an increasingly uncertain world. Quantifying the financial impact of strategic decisions helps leaders focus on sustained value creation.
I look forward to my role in building on a strong 14-year legacy and helping grow the business across South African, African and global clients.
Decreased uncertainty, improved decisions
Global Advisors is a leader in defining quantified strategies, decreasing uncertainty, improving decisions and achieving measureable results.
We specialise in providing highly-analytical data-driven recommendations in the face of significant uncertainty.
We utilise advanced predictive analytics to build robust strategies and enable our clients to make calculated decisions.
We support implementation of adaptive capability and capacity.
By Innocent Dutiro
Innocent is an associate partner at Global Advisors and based in Johannesburg, South Africa
Research (Allen and Zook) tells us that sustained profitable growth and the methods for capturing it are much less about the choice of hot market than about the how and why of strategy and the business model translating it into action. The ongoing Coronavirus crisis is likely to put these beliefs to severe test. It is likely that the survivors and winners that emerge on the other side of the crisis will be businesses that have pursued repeatable business models.
These businesses’ approach to strategy focus less on a rigid plan to pursue growth markets and more on developing a general direction built around deep and uniquely strong capabilities that constantly learn, continuously improve, test, and adjust in manageable increments to the changing market. Repeatable business models enable organizations to distinguish between transient crises and game-changing developments while enabling them to take action that ensures their sustained prosperity. All without compromising on the beliefs that underpin the culture of the organization.
This might sound counterintuitive; how does a repeatable business model help you deal with a “black swan” event such as the COVID-19 pandemic? To answer this question, it is important to understand the three principles that underpin repeatability.
Principle 1: A strong, well-differentiated core
Differentiation drives competitive advantage and relative profitability among businesses. The basis for differentiation must deliver enhanced profitability by either delivering superior service to your core customers or offering cost economics that help you to out-invest your competitors. The unique assets, deep competencies and capabilities that make this differentiation possible and that are translated into behaviours and product features, define the “core of the core” of the business.
Principle 2: Clear non-negotiables
Non-negotiables are the company’s core values and key criteria used to make trade-offs in decision making. These improve the focus and simplicity of strategy by translating it into practical behavioural rules and prohibitions. This reduces the distance from management to the frontline (and back). Employee loyalty and commitment is driven primarily by a strong belief in the values of the management team and the organisation’s strategy. A clearly understood strategy is evidenced through:
- Widespread understanding of the strategy at all levels within the organization.
- Seeing the world the same way throughout the organization.
- A shared vocabulary and priorities.
Principle 3: Systems for closed-loop learning
Self-conscious methods to perceive and adapt to change alongside well-developed systems to learn and drive continuous improvement are hallmarks of successful repeatable business models.
A second form of closed-loop learning is more relevant to a crisis such as the coronavirus as it relates to those less frequent situations when fundamental change in the marketplace (like technology, competition, customer need and behaviour) threatens a key element of the repeatable business model itself. A company’s ability to adapt or have a sufficient sense of urgency in response to a potentially mortal threat is key to survival and continued prosperity.
The various steps that governments are taking to contain and eradicate the virus have the potential of building habits that consumers might choose to adopt on a more permanent basis even after the pandemic. These include working from home, remote meetings, reduced commuting, greater use of online services and more cashless transactions. Businesses thus need to be prepared to adjust and adapt their strategies and business models to meet the demand created by the new behaviours. Firms with a clearly defined set of non-negotiables will find it easier to mobilize their employees towards the necessary change.
While business is currently focused on taking measures to safeguard their staff, serve their customers and preserve cash to ensure liquidity during the period of low demand and/or production, attention should also be turning to steps necessary to adapt strategies to enable competitiveness in the new normal after the pandemic.
Aatish Bhatia – in collaboration with Minute Physics – did an amazing job of visualizing the Covid 19 data. His logarithmaic juxtaposition of total versus new cases shows when the virus growth begins to slow.
- Logarithmic plotting of new vs total cases shows when infection rates (as measured) slow
- When plotted in this way, exponential growth is represented as a straight line that slopes upwards
- The x-axis of this graph is not time, but is instead the total number of cases or deaths
- Notice that almost all countries follow a very similar path of exponential growth
You can choose the numbers to plot at Covid trends
By Emma Brudner
Brutal honesty isn’t always the right way to give feedback.
I’m a huge fan of the book Radical Candor by Kim Scott, which is about giving direct feedback. Clear, direct, and actionable feedback is crucial to helping people grow and develop into better employees and teammates–and makes your business stronger in the long run.
However, in the years since the book came out, I’ve noticed an uptick in the amount of folks using “radical candor” to say whatever is on their minds–no matter how unvarnished the opinion.
I’m all about being direct with colleagues and direct reports–but not when “candor” is used as an excuse to act like a jerk. So how can you practice true radical candor? Here are four ways to expertly toe the line.
1. You take the time to have a conversation
When giving difficult feedback, it can be tempting to do a “drive-by”–where one person says what’s on their mind and then ends the meeting before the other person can respond.
A conversation is an exchange, which means both people get to talk and be heard. If you have a piece of tough feedback to give, you owe it to the other person to answer any questions they have, help them process, or at minimum invite them to respond and listen. Running out of the room as soon as feedback leaves your lips shows that you only care about getting your point across–and failing to show the other person courtesy only undermines what you have to say.
2. You’ve considered the other person’s perspective
Anytime you’re giving (or receiving) a piece of feedback, it’s important to consider the other person’s point of view. Any feedback that neglects to take both sides into account will likely be ineffective. Taking time to consider (and ask) why someone behaves in a certain way might not change the feedback itself, but it will improve the tone of the conversation.
3. Your feedback contributes to the other person’s growth
Collaborating with others–especially those with different work styles–can be frustrating. But never take your frustration out on colleagues. One of the most insidious misuses of radical candor is when directness is a sham for consciously or unconsciously hurting someone to make yourself feel better. A nasty remark cloaked as feedback might feel satisfying in the moment, but will undoubtedly damage your relationship with that person. Before giving any piece of feedback, ask yourself if it’s meant to help the other person grow or if it’s just an emotional release for you.
4. You’ve demonstrated that you care
When managers challenge directly but fail to care personally, Scott puts them in an “obnoxious aggression” category. Feedback gets infinitely more effective when you’ve taken the time to get to know the other person’s dreams, motivations, and insecurities–that way, you can frame your feedback in terms of the things they care about and how it gets them closer to or farther away from their goals. And, of course, people are more likely to be receptive to your criticism if they know you’re coming from a place of caring.
If you haven’t demonstrated that you care about this person, Scott argues that you haven’t earned the right to give them tough feedback. Note that this doesn’t always have to be a long relationship-building process–simply (and sincerely) stating, “I care about your growth” goes a long way. Of course, remember that actions speak louder than words. I think you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn’t care about their co-workers, but unless that care is obvious, the best intentions aren’t worth much.
Finally, giving effective and direct feedback requires strong emotional intelligence. If you have a hard time understanding this concept, your radical candor might be coming across more negatively than you think. If you want to take stock of your emotional intelligence, check out this list of behaviors that denote high EQ.
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