The purpose and values of Strategic Analysis Services BV – a story about telling truth to power.
Our purpose defines who we are:
We define, deliver and facilitate world-class Competitive Intelligence and Strategies Design
to organizations striving for outperformance
in a volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous world.
Our ABCDE values are non-negotiable:
Applying state-of-the-art methodologies
Being ethical and compliant in data collection
Caring for proposition quality
Driving for customer-value creation
Ensuring objectivity, truthfulness, completeness, timeliness and accuracy of all our outputs
Our narrative – a drive to serve those that play to win
In my past 27 years working in business and now interacting with business I have come across two distinct groups of business leaders. Put black and white, there are those that play to manage and those that play to win. The former group puts the self central. As leader or leaders, they have obtained a position of power. Maintaining that position is the ultimate driver of all they do, no matter the cost to the organization or its stakeholders. When they design and execute their organization’s strategies, these are leader-centric. These leaders look for applauding yes-women and yes-men on their team. Inevitably this leadership style has consequences. Sooner rather than later a company culture emerges where even expressing constructive but deviating opinions borders on betrayal. Trust disappears and so do independent minds. Strategies such leaders design and execute tend to be based on inside-out thinking, putting the firm and its leaders at central stage and ignoring or at best selectively taking the world around the firm into account for identifying opportunities and threats. The results these leaders generate may not necessarily be bad straight away, but their organizations rarely outperform.
In contrast, leaders that play to win for and with their organizations, come to work every day willing to be fired when they can’t pursue what is objectively best for their organizations. They are obsessed to continuously update their understanding of their customers and consumers. They want to know how and where to best position themselves versus their competitors. They look to pre-empt and where possible positively influence changes in the regulatory framework their organizations are facing. They seek to understand what changes their key suppliers enact, as to prevent their organizations from unhealthy developments in the selling power of their upstream value chain partners. Most of all, they are relentlessly eager to capitalize on all insights and capabilities of the talents they recruited in their organization. They ensure all brains in their organization work fully committed towards achieving the same goals. This matters to them every day. It guides every decision they take. In short, these leaders embrace an inclusive outside-in view.
Having worked in in-house corporate strategy, innovation and related competitive intelligence roles for over twenty years, I have served many leaders and their teams. Some exhibited behaviour close to the one extreme described above, others where close to the other. Many showed a bit of both. In my experience, the leaders that purely play to manage can generally not easily tolerate truth to be told to them. They should not work with me. The reason is that I increasingly discovered that telling truth to power is one of my core values. Thus, there would not be a click. My values are not open to discussion.
Hence, in starting my own consultancy practice I now look for customers that embrace an outside-in view. My preferred customers are always open to the truth. Even when it is inconvenient. Moreover, running my own company gives me the opportunity even more than in the past to work with students – even when I acknowledge that FrieslandCampina in the past has been generous to me in this respect. I now thus contribute to the training of the next generation of business leaders. I hope that my students in their future careers will remember some of the passion with which I encourage them to always work with an outside-in perspective. That is, when they really want to play to win!
Want to learn more about Erik?