Co-creating strategy for mid sized nutraceuticals company

CEO transitions are tricky for any business. But when the departing CEO was founder, had built it from scratch into a $100m business and, for all intents and purposes, is the face of the company – then this transition was always going to be delicate. Despite its success the organisation had plateaued. Serac brought an injection of new thinking and helped develop a sense of direction to bridge the organisation through into a new era with new leadership. People who had been there for a lifetime needed to believe again, particularly with the founder moving on, and newcomers needed to know there was a future worth staying for.

With its growth challenges, this relatively small organisation was strapped for cash but in need of a quick result. In response we streamlined our transformation techniques to help them come up with a company strategy that not only made sense but had the core of the organisation behind it.

Key to this was the new management team, and their relationship with the new CEO. As the team started to work together on the day to day business challenges, the strategy project proved to be a useful focus for them to thrash out what the future needed to look like. To fuel these discussions we ran diagnostic interviews at different levels in the company and with key customers to understand what was really special about this organisation and what was getting in the way. The approach also helped those in the organisation feel that the new CEO was really listening and willing to learn about the unique challenges facing the business – key US market under performing, large parts of the product set becoming commoditised, silo’ed thinking in different countries, production inefficiencies, poor process and systems discipline, confused new product pipeline, lack of trust….to name a few.

But at the heart of the business was a great concept, a niche offering, real technical expertise and passion. What it needed was to realign, refocus and for people to get their mojo back!

We used our creative techniques to do 2 fundamental things in parallel. We worked with the top 50 leaders to uncover a new sense of purpose and developed a directional strategy for the company that they all believed in. Our work was to bring the processes and facilitation to help the leaders co-create their answers – not some clever piece of work done by external consultants – but something born of the leadership team.

And it worked...

The organisation has turned around, it has had its best performing 18 months for years and a huge part of this the CEO puts down to “just implementing the strategy”. “Doing what we said we would do, streamlining where we needed to and focusing on what we are special at”.

Because this was built by the leadership, they have real belief in it. We had genuine moments of breakthrough in uncovering the purpose and crystalizing the strategy that were really special and this has fuelled them to give this special company a really dynamic future.

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