Home >> Global / English >> About ECSA

About ECSA

 

Since our founding in 1995, we have provided intellectual guidance to a large number of organizations in the private sector and in government to help them realize their potential to create stakeholder value.

Today we focus on assisting companies adjust to the new economic reality emerging from the global economic and financial crisis: customer attitudes and behaviors vis-à-vis their suppliers are undergoing a fundamental reset, which will ultimately affect all industries; higher volatility is now a way of life and will remain so in the foreseeable future; it has become much more difficult, across industries, to keep returns satisfactory relative to the costs of capital. Most firms face the challenge to create value through management innovation.

Our advice is always guided by the simple principle of maximizing value for the organization and its stakeholders, thereby focusing on four elements: (1) efficiency and (2) effectiveness of current operations, (3) innovation, and (4) fair distribution of costs and benefits among stakeholders. We systematically use these four criteria when we bring ideas, concepts and insight from experience to the table, to help senior management respond to key challenges and to improve the quality of their decision-making.

Visioning


The international market place confers extraordinary reputational capital to some organizations, whereas others do not benefit from such status. In many cases, visionary leadership (or the lack thereof) is the key to explaining this difference.

Visionary leadership in action is visible to all: The organization exhibits a strong track record of achieving its stated goals; the market and competitors respect the organization’s top management and its way of doing things; customers are loyal the organization and happy to create repeat business. With strong visionary leadership, managers at all levels can explain the organization’s strategy, they know where they fit in the organization and what outputs are expected from them.  Each employee is inspired to innovate so as to better serve customers and to outperform the competition, now and in the future.

But great visioning is difficult to achieve. It means clarity of purpose, absence of biases when making difficult choices, a strong focus on building teams and understanding the value of embracing functional and experiential diversity inside the organization.

ECSA supports senior managers to think boldly for their organization. ECSA provides thought leadership to enhance visioning capacity, to eliminate organizational barriers and to craft routines to support long term strategic planning and disciplined execution. The value added of ECSA’s approach includes support for:

  • A cohesive senior management team that shares a unified vision for the organization and its future
  • Unbiased decision-making to select optimal solutions
  • Unambiguous roles and accountabilities for deliverables
  • A performance-driven culture to enable achieving superior performance
  • A workforce motivated to implementing the vision

 

Strategic Management


Does strategic management matter?

ECSA supports organizations crafting the best strategies possible, so that senior management can steer the organization’s energy towards a well-chosen set of market opportunities and sources of competitive advantage; these strategies should reflect deep insight into what drives value for the organization and its stakeholders; strategic management is about making the whole worth more than its parts.

Successful organizations understand that the process of crafting a strategy is just as important to subsequent disciplined execution as the strategy itself. Here, executive team engagement and rapid response to changing environmental circumstances is critical.

We help organizations to re-craft their strategies in a fundamental, rather than an incremental manner. The value added of ECSA’s approach includes support for:

  • Improved strategy insight on where the industry is going, from better information on what stakeholders in the market really value
  • Organizational focus and alignment on the markets to serve and the main sources of competitive advantage to nurture
  • More flexible and rapid acting upon those strategic opportunities and threats that can create the highest value for the organization and its stakeholders
  • Faster and more effective responses to changes in the competitive environment from the elimination of internal barriers to good strategies, such as an excessive short-term focus, dysfunctional incrementalism and unfortunate blindspots created by the organizational structure

 

Disciplined Execution

Once an organization has formulated the right strategy, the question arises as to what it will take to deliver superior performance to its stakeholders.

Disciplined execution is the key to superior performance. Having a great strategy is not enough; rather, a culture of accountability is critical, with a single-mindedness focused on the relentless pursuit of desired results.

ECSA helps organizations transform great strategies into superior performance. The value added of ECSA’s approach includes support for:

  • Clear alignment on what the strategy is – and is not – to keep the organization focused on key goals
  • Grounded causes – effects analysis to give senior management an in-depth understanding of the future performance that can reasonably be achieved with the strategy
  • Focused resource allocation to ensure resource alignment with the strategy and deployment towards the highest-value creation
  • Delivery priorities that clarify which actions are the most critical towards achieving the strategy’s desired goals
  • Disciplined performance monitoring that enables management to identify problems early and engage in corrective action to keep the strategy on track
  • A high-performance culture with clear accountability assignments for achieving results throughout organizational functions, and appropriate rewards for performance delivery

 

Organic Growth

ECSA’s view is that organic growth is a prerequisite for superior performance over the long term, but this is difficult to sustain profitably.

Organizations that succeed in this area start by developing deep customer and broader stakeholder insight and use this as the basis for targeting scalable niches for profitable growth. They then set priorities to act upon these scalable growth opportunities, mobilize the organization behind these priorities and eliminate barriers to growth.

ECSA’s experience identifies two keys to sustained, organic growth. First, success in creating stakeholder value reflects the competence to understand what stakeholders, especially the customers, value and are willing to pay for (or support), and what types of organizational action they will respond to most positively. Second, stakeholder value must translate into value for the organization; this means first and foremost understanding the linkages between customer value and net income (or net benefits) for the organization. As a result of ECSA combining these two criteria, namely a dual focus on stakeholder value and organization value, management is better able to select the most promising sources of profitable growth.

The value added of ECSA’s approach includes support for:

  • Improved insight into stakeholder preferences with more integrative information on stakeholder behaviors and economic choice drivers, and the implications thereof for organizational growth
  • Identifying the organizational benefits of growth in existing and new customer groups and markets
  • More effective resource allocation in organic growth across customers, product lines and geographic markets
  • Organizational structures and systems geared toward driving growth and capable of overcoming internal and external barriers

 

Productivity

ECSA’s perspective is that the most consistently cost-effective organizations are not those that start cutting costs in crisis situations, but those that consistently drive productivity increases as a modus operandi in their ongoing operations.

ECSA’s observation is that high-performance organizations systematically and structurally attempt to identify and challenge ‘bad costs’ across their product and market portfolio. These organizations engage in the consistent reallocation of resources from bad costs towards ‘good costs’ that improve stakeholder value, and especially the customer’s experience.

High-performance organizations view the challenge of finding new and better ways to operate as the most important driver for better investments and higher growth than their rivals. These organizations also perceive productivity and relentless attention to satisfying stakeholder needs as the business of every single employee.

ECSA helps organizations to rethink the allocation of individuals, financial resources and managerial attention towards the optimal fuelling of growth. The value added of ECSA’s approach includes support for:

  • Improved insight into organizational productivity
  • Structural focus on eliminating waste, and legitimizing continuous cost reductions
  • Better bottom-line performance as a result of cost reductions that do not affect growth
  • Increased volume of resources available for allocation in growth areas without negative effects on short-term performance

 

Risk Management

ECSA’s view is that measuring risk associated with product lines, geographic markets and growth options will generate a more complete perspective on organizational performance than measuring returns only. Management has full control of a number of operational risks but other ones are more difficult to control (e.g., effects of exchange rate changes on input prices and prices of foreign rivals’ products and services).  Actively identifying and managing risks is one of senior management’s main tasks in its pursuit of sustainable value creation.

The value added of ECSA’s approach includes support for:

  • Focusing senior management’s attention on systematically identifying controllable and non-controllable risks
  • Aligning the organization’s leadership around a common vision on what constitutes acceptable versus unacceptable risk
  • Providing tools such as stakeholder based, multi-criteria analysis (S-MCA) to gain comprehensive information and insight into where risks are created and how they could potentially destroy value across stakeholder groups, product lines and geographic markets
  • Developing risk mitigating strategies for performance improvement through a variety of input-level risk shifting mechanisms (e.g., by using alternative technology providers) and output-level pass-through measures and routines (e.g., by servicing various, completely independent customer groups that operate according to different business cycles in different markets)