Press release: Henley Africa’s playbook for strategy
7 December 2021, Johannesburg, South Africa. SO MANY strategies look great on paper but then get lost in translation when it comes to implementation. Companies have never been able to afford this, but now they can afford it even less as they deal with a post-pandemic world.
The good news is that there’s a way to fix that. There might have been no playbook for dealing with COVID 19, but now thanks to a white paper produced by Henley Business School Africa there’s a playbook on making a company’s strategy a lived reality for everyone who works there. The core is effective decision-making right through the company.
Henley Africa executive fellow Malcolm Ferguson, https://www.linkedin.com/in/malcolmferguson/?miniProfileUrn=urn%3Ali%3Afs_miniProfile%3AACoAAAANP24BSgRdorBAUZ40bxfVQ4xR4gBnmtg who wrote the white paper, explain: “I’d spent years doing leadership development across corporate South Africa listening to listening to managers complain about the challenges of corporate leadership.
“As I began reflecting on my experiences, I realised there were common themes underpinning them.”
To solve those, Ferguson developed a four-legged approach; based on clarity, accountability, focus and energy, which he dubbed the CAFE framework; to enable business leaders to get their entire team to “make astute decisions in real time on a playing field that is continuously changing”.
Ferguson took three years refining the model during his interaction with his corporate clients, before spending three months writing it up as a Henley Africa white paper after being inspired by Henley Africa research head, Professor Danie Petzer.
“White papers are not formal research like an academic journal article. They are grounded in research obviously, but what they are about is presenting an idea that you believe has a contribution to make to the existing body of knowledge,” he says.
“The best strategy in the world doesn’t necessarily empower me to make the best decision under pressure.”
What Ferguson’s white paper does is explain how to construct a dynamic and visual playbook that will allow anyone in the company to understand how to act and react in different circumstances.
“You get the CEO who sits in on a planning meeting and just has to ask one question that gets everyone thinking. You get entrepreneurs who are just natural business people., Some people call it acumen, but it’s actually just because they understand what the thing is about. The purpose of the playbook is to create a framework to hack into that intuition every time.”
Strategy, as he explains in his white paper, is much like the old physical street maps of the recent past. They don’t show congestion on the road or road conditions. They often don’t reflect new roads, but yet they are still expected to deliver the results.
Ferguson’s https://www.strategyactivator.com/ playbook addresses these problems as well as perhaps the biggest failing of all strategic documents: a lack of buy in from staff lower down. Clarity is critical; about the purpose of the company, the principles that bind its leaders together and the promise made to clients. Accountability is underpinned by courage, curiosity and acumen, while focus is about looking out the windscreen of the car rather than fixating on what’s in the rear-view mirror. Finally, it’s all about energy; inspiring everyone to show up and put their shoulder to the wheel when you need them.
“By developing, implementing, and maintaining a unique playbook for your organisation, you can empower employees to think for themselves and make good decisions, rather than constantly hovering over their shoulders to check they are thinking like you,” he says.
“By using the framework, you can stop fretting over poor decision-making, a lack of ownership, and misguided priorities. Instead, you provide the context for everyone in the company to contribute meaningfully and accomplish something remarkable together, knowing that the result will delight your shareholders.”
Dean and director Jon Foster-Pedley of Henley Africa https://www.linkedin.com/in/jon-foster-pedley-b83805/?miniProfileUrn=urn%3Ali%3Afs_miniProfile%3AACoAAAAeiFMBQahotPYSR_r0oEzudYRl6QSq2lE says “This white paper is one of an increasing number of thought leadership pieces Henley Africa will produce as we strengthen our research focus. African business needs tools, insights and frameworks specifically adapted to our own environment.”
- If you would like a copy of the From Strategy to Playbook white paper, contact Malcolm Ferguson at malcolmF@henleysa.ac.za or Professor Danie Petzer at DanieP@Henleysa.ac.za. Henley Business School Africa is a leading global business school with campuses in Europe, Asia and Africa. It holds elite quadruple international accreditation; has the number 1 business school alumni network in the world for potential to network (Economist 2017); and is the number 1 African-accredited and -campused business school in the world for executive education (FT 2018, 2020), as well as the number 1 MBA business school in South Africa as rated by corporate SA (PMR.Africa 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021).
Issued by Henley Africa:-
PR and Communications Manager