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Chapter 2: Resilience & Recovery - Navigators Triangle

Christopher Clark . June 18, 2020

A series of star constellations called “The Summer Triangle” can be seen in the Northern latitudes, which is where you and your company live. The Summer Triangle was also called the Navigators Triangle before GPS technology replaced the manual work. These constellations guided people on a mission without defining their specific steps. They helped calculate the path and helped travelers stay true to their path even when natural forces disrupted the journey.


The Board of Directors should serve as a critical navigational aid, your Summer Triangle, if you will, for you and your management team. The way through for BOD members will require a commitment to continuous learning. As CEO, you might consider providing a multi-pronged summertime reading and learning program for all of your Directors. The source and delivery of content would be culled from a combination of third-party experts, customers, investment bankers and select employees. This summertime learning package would focus on the following four areas:

  1. A Point-of-View about the Disrupted Marketplace

    1. Market size impacts

    2. Demand shifts

    3. Competitor reactions and emergence

      -
  2. Customer Preferences

    1. Beliefs about needs and timing

    2. Changes in value expectations 

    3. Product delivery experience and consumption models

      -
  3. Company Operations

    1. Employee welfare

    2. Diversity

    3. Work modes (channels of output)

      -
  4. Sustainable Value Creation in 2021

    1. The fact pattern of retention results

    2. Product and service contribution margins

    3. Profitable differentiated growth requirements

Your efforts should bring the Board along, ensure they are well-grounded in the details of the business, and are sharp for the adjusted strategy discussions and recommendations forthcoming in October and November for the 2021 plan. This process can be simple, with much of it outsourced. Below are some suggestions:

  • You might create a compendium of rich reading materials for the month of July. Content can be sourced from industry analysts, investment bankers, public north star proxies, competitor press releases and endorsed visionaries of the space.

  • You could facilitate a 90-minute discussion about these readings with the BOD in August, with preliminary questions passed to the CEO.

  • You might arrange an hour for the BOD to talk with three customers, led by the CEO or CRO. If you are a B2C model, I would use a transcript of chats and fresh customer surveys about experience and price elasticity.

  • You could invite BOD members to an analyst briefing session.

  • You could create a roundtable with your independent director that focuses on employees’ points-of-view.

  • Finally, you might run a gaming exercise to play out three-year opportunities and risk scenarios while rotating teams.

This package will take 10 hours to prepare and 10 hours of Board time over the next 10 weeks. I am sure that some of this navigation happens as a matter of course or via Board meeting follow-up. However, organizing a deliberate, continuous learning program to inform your Board will prove mutually beneficial six and 12 months from now.

 

We will return in two weeks. Feel free to connect anytime.

 

Sincerely,

Edison Partners

 

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