Strategy & Change Support

Get expert support for strategy development and change initiatives

All modules tailored to your context

UGM Strategy & Change Services

Leading Strategy Module

For anyone involved in strategy development

Change Leadership Module

For people running change programs

Facilitating strategy planning

Expert facilitation for strategy development

Facilitating change events

Expert facilitation – change planning / review

Strategy Support

BUSINESS SUCCESS IN COMPLEX CONTEXTS

The future isn’t what it used to be

COVID-19 has gripped and shaken the global economy to its core. But, as many business writers are pointing out, this disruption isn’t unique. In the last few years, there have been terrorist attacks, bloody conflicts, disease outbreaks, bushfires, other unprecedented weather events, as well as a global financial crisis, data breaches and trade wars. The list of disruptions goes on and the future is likely similarly disrupted.Business as usual’ won’t cut it.

In 1937 English writer Robert Graves made the claim, “The future is not what it used to be!” As so often happens with multiple astute observers of events, French poet and essayist Paul Valery wrote similarly, “the future, like everything else, is no longer quite what is used to be”. He went on, noting “…the rules of the game are changed at every throw, No calculation of probabilities is possible…”.

Both Graves and Valery recognised long ago with the more recent but increasingly accepted notion that we live and do business in a VUCA world – one which is volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous. Even back in 1937 Valery, whether intentional or not, was underscoring how traditional linear approaches to the world are severely limited. In fact, his indirect claim that probability theory is rendered useless is an approach others have independently pursued more recently. Of great significance is that this challenges the value of big data, and even more so in conditions of uncertainty.

Rational linear approaches, which have dominated management practice since its inception, have flagged or failed in the face of the VUCA landscape. Slowly, there is realisation that different. less linear approaches are essential. Prediction of the future is at best fraught, unless that prediction foreshadows VUCA. Far more powerful now is, in the first instance, resilience. Resilience offers some hope of survival in adverse, changeable conditions. But, to thrive, resilience needs to be coupled with new behaviours, skills, mindsets, approaches, frameworks and tools suited to VUCA contexts.

Prediction of the future is at best fraught, unless that prediction foreshadows VUCA. Far more powerful now is, in the first instance, resilience. Resilience offers some hope of survival in adverse, changeable conditions. But, to thrive, resilience needs to be coupled with new behaviours, skills, mindsets, approaches, frameworks and tools suited to VUCA contexts.

Source: UGM and other commentators

what are clients looking for?

Business Success in Complex Contexts

No business (or organisation) is immune to the VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous) context of today’s world. To succeed, any actions taken will need to fit the unique context of the particular business.

Here’s what clients value in UGM strategy DEVELOPMENT and change support

it works!

Don’t Just Take Our Word For It

Leading Strategy – Module

This program is suited to:

  • Executives wanting to become crystal clear on what it means to ‘be strategic’ as a senior leader.
  • Middle managers who are assuming increasing responsibility for strategic direction and influencing in their organisation.
  • Executives needing tangible tools and strategies to step into new roles and answer ‘stretch interview’ questions effectively.
  • Leaders required to oversee a successful change program in a complex environment.

Program Benefits

  • A proven, highly practical and evidence-based program that enhances strategic thinking and strategic planning capability.
  • A range of practical tools and tips to support strategic thinking and strategic planning, both individually and with colleagues.
  • An opportunity to develop and practise tools and techniques during the workshop. People often deploy their skills within minutes of the module ending.
  • A strong focus on managing in complex contexts, which is extremely timely for the volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous contexts of business life today.

Indicative mini-modules (all interactive)

Understand what strategy is

Understand what strategy is and how to use practical tools to achieve high quality strategic outcomes. Be able to distinguish between a strategic and an operational approach.

Examine aspects of strategic contexts and behaviours

Examine five key elements of strategic contexts and six essential skills of strategic leaders. Consider how these can strengthen and direct your own strategic approach.

Gain and use a powerful set of strategic tools

Use a range of practical tools and frameworks to complete a series of strategically-oriented exercises with colleagues.

Explore specific aspects of strategic planning

Explore a range of strategy planning tools that will guide future strategic planning efforts and also serve you well in executive or board level interviews.


Leading Change – Module

This program is suited to:

  • Executives who are looking to gain a broader understanding of change, from a strategic perspective through to more granular aspects of implementation.
  • Mid-level managers accountable for change projects, or with some responsibility for supporting change outcomes.
  • Team leaders of change projects who would benefit from a deeper understanding of change, including associated behaviours, skills and mindsets that contribute to successful change outcomes.

Program Benefits

  • A proven, highly practical and evidence-based program that enhances change leadership and change management capabilities.
  • Practical frameworks and range of tools and tips to successfully plan, implement and monitor change initiatives.
  • A ‘safe’ opportunity to develop and practise tools and techniques during the workshop. People often deploy their skills within minutes of the module ending!
  • An expanded network of like-minded colleagues who could be useful change-allies into the future.

Indicative mini-modules (highly interactive)

Identify ways to approach change in a volatile world

Identify ways in which to approach change in a volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous (VUCA) context, recognising that traditional methods are not sufficient and sometimes not even applicable.

ESee how a ‘change agile’ approach can add value

Examine aspects of change agility and understand why it is fast becoming the preferred way to approach change in a VUCA context.

Explore how you might use an experimental approach

Explore an experimental approach to change, including using safe-to-fail probes that help achieve breakthroughs in complex contexts.

Consider important ‘change’ questions

Consider how you might respond to a question about change management/leadership in a job interview for any role that likely has change as a core accountability.


Strategy Development – Facilitation

When might you want strategy facilitation?

  • The senior team and/or strategy group is developing the next strategic plan for the organisation.
  • The senior team and/or strategy group is reviewing performance on the current strategic plan, with a view to making adjustments that allow the organisation to capture value from emergent factors, perhaps not significant when the original plan was cast.
  • A group is running a strategic analysis on the drivers of value in the business, with a view to ensuring mechanisms are in place to support the drivers.

Strategy Facilitation Benefits

  • Allow your business leaders to contribute and collaborate fully during your strategy development event, using UGM’s experienced facilitators to manage the flow of the event.
  • In partnership with UGM’s experienced team, design a strategy session that zero’s in on the specific needs of your business and its context.
  • Participate in a process that uses evidence-based frameworks and tools to support collaborative thinking and problem solving.
  • Benefit from ‘engaged’ facilitation, where expert and experienced facilitators are able to genuinely challenge thinking and assertions, including sensitively tackling any ‘elephants in the rooms’.

Change Support – Facilitation

When might you want change facilitation?

  • The senior team is interested in ensuring they lead by example and, when it comes to change, they’re across leading edge, evidence-based thinking on what works.
  • A team responsible for leading a change project wants to have all members participating in a change planning or review workshop, so choose to have external facilitation to free everyone up to focus completely on the change project.
  • A change team recognises the value of diversity of thinking, so invites an external party to provide a fresh perspective during change planning or review event.

Change Facilitation Benefits

  • Access fresh perspectives on change or aspects of change via UGM’s experienced workshop facilitators.
  • Allow all members of the change workshop to be fully engaged in the focus of the change, rather than having to manage the smooth flow of the workshop.
  • Benefit from UGM’s array of tools and frameworks, both in the design of the change workshop and also as in-the-moment responsiveness to emergent issues that arise during a change workshop.
  • Enjoy expert ‘engaged facilitation’, which is appropriately challenging of perspectives, rather than simply scribing at the whiteboard!

Strategy and Change briefings from the UGM archive

WE HAVE Answers

Ask Us Anything About Strategy or Change

Strategy is how you get from where you are now to where you want to be, with real competitive advantage. In the case of a public sector or not for profit organisation, the focus in on maximising Social Return on Investment.

Strategic thinking is the term that describes the specific suite of thinking skills that will help you: decide where you are now; decide where you’d like to be; decide how you’ll best get there.

The willingness and capability to explore, move quickly, and then adapt when needed to engage in future possibilities (Arena 2018). Essentially, it’s how business can survive and thrive in turbulent times. (EIU 2000)

VUCA is an acronym for contexts that are volatile, uncertain, complex and uncertain. Term attributed to the US military circa 1950’s. Essentially, it describes contexts that arise due to complexity – they can be volatile, uncertain and ambiguous. The acronym CUVA would better highlight the role of complexity, but it’s nowhere near as powerful an acronym as VUCA!

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