Strategy Dynamics for Leaders: Core Course

Using rigorous, quantified models for sustained business performance

NOTE: This course covers the Core Strategy Dynamics principles in 4 classes (more than 30 lessons)
The remaining 6 classes are still in development.

How will you grow profit, strongly and sustainably, into the future ?

You are under pressure to grow the profit your business generates.  

How can you meet demands from investors, or from HQ?

Maybe you see competitors growing faster than you, or have intelligence that they achieve better return on sales. So you consider setting targets for sales growth, or for higher gross margin, or for lower labour costs. And you trim budgets for marketing, R&D, and training.

But you need your team on board, so you go on an expensive strategy retreat, coming back with flip-charts of plans to hit those targets.  Perhaps you’ve hired expensive consultants, to add credibility and confidence to your plans. 

Or you aim for incremental profit growth from starting a new line of business or from taking some big initiative.

So with your team, you do those same kinds of things. You project sales growth targets for what that new business or initiative will deliver - entering a new market or acquiring another business, for example. And you agree targets for prices, margins, cost ratios.  

Your Finance team produce the business plan.

Of course, you have to produce financial numbers for your strategy, or for that big initiative. Whether that’s for external investors or for a corporate headquarters you report to.

So your Finance team take those plans you all agreed and produce the business plan - quarterly projections for your income statement, investment and cash flow. 

Why is it so hard to deliver those plans?

So often, those great profit results don’t materialise.

You don’t hit those sales targets, the pricing you hoped for is unachievable. And with lower sales, you miss those cost ratio targets.

So you go around cutting budgets, just to hit the next quarter’s profit target. You don’t want to get fired for missing that! But that means you can’t hit next quarter’s sales and profit targets either … or the next quarter’s.   

Where will sales growth come from, and how to get it?

Setting targets for sales growth doesn’t make them happen. Maybe competitors’ grow their sales faster because customers prefer their products, or because they spend more on marketing and sales, or because they retain more customers with better service, or …

And cost control isn’t a strategy.

It all looked good in the financial plan. Driving down labour costs and trimming budgets for marketing and training would surely deliver those profit targets? But those numbers bear no relation to the resourcing you need if you are to win and retain those customers who will deliver that sales growth - the products they want, adequate capacity to serve their needs, the support to keep them happy and coming back for more. And you failed to invest in key areas like employee development, customer satisfaction, and brand reputation. 

The financial plan is built on sand.

What is really wrong here is that the financial projections are not connected to the things that make the business actually work - the customers, staff, product range, capacity (physical or IT). And it’s certainly not connected to the softer things - customer satisfaction, reputation, staff skills and morale, service quality and so on.

You need a truly joined-up business model.

You need a model that helps you:

  • decide what to do, when, how much, across all parts of your business, at all times
  • capture how your business actually works
  • get confidence in your plans and the support of your team and investors

Presenting: The Strategy Dynamics For Leaders Course

Learn how to build stronger plans for your business with a digital twin of your business or challenge. Based on rock-solid strategy dynamics frameworks, you will have full confidence that your plans and decisions will achieve your performance targets.  

What you will learn

Use powerful research-backed frameworks: Built on rock-solid principles of how the business system actually works and develops over time, these frameworks rigorously match every element of the business and the relationships between them.

Exploit a “digital twin” of your business: The frameworks are supported by models that quantitatively match how your business, function, or issue has played out over time. And these models also show you how they will likely perform in the future.

Watch your decisions play out like a movie: Using a strategy dynamics model is like watching a movie. Since the model is always up-to-date, you can watch any changes you make to your strategy or decisions play out its impact on every other element of the business or issue, and on its performance.  

WE GENERATED THE BEST RESULT IN OUR HISTORY!

"We used Kim’s courses to map everything we did in marketing. Our mapped departments included market research, customer acquisition, and customer relationship management. Euler Hermes gained the best new business inquiry rates and conversion from marketing the company had ever seen! All this when the world was struck by a pandemic."

JON SWABY

Former Head of Market Management, Euler Hermes
(now managing Director, Salus Restaurants Ltd.)

You don't need other approaches

You may already have a KPI system or balanced scorecard to keep your business under control. This may include a traffic-light system to highlight metrics that are OK, worrying, or a badly off-target!

Problem is - in a dynamically connected system, a metric’s value could be good in some conditions, but bad in others. A low labour cost percentage, for example, is fine if customer service is OK, but definitely not-fine if customer service is bad.

And an indicator that is ‘good’ today could be heading towards being ‘bad’ very soon - or vice versa. You don’t just need to know what traffic lights are green or red now - you need to know which will be green or red next month, and the month after …  

You will soon learn that, with a strategy dynamics model of your business or issue, you don’t need any other KPI or scorecard system. Because, by definition, your living model includes every indicator of the health of the business. 

"I don't have time to learn a new approach"

Every minute you invest in learning to use Strategy Dynamics is hundreds of minutes (and money!) saved elsewhere. The strategy dynamics picture of your strategy emerges quickly and clearly. So you do not need those endless away-days and debates with your team about what you should or should not do. You - and they - can test scenarios and strategies together, and so get confident plans, fast.

When you finish the Strategy Dynamics for Leaders course, you will learn how to make better plans. Your decisions will have a high degree of  certainty. In under two months, you will be able to make stronger plans that are more likely to achieve your desired performance results. 

"I am not going to build computer models"

No you are not! As a senior leader, you need to know how to use models, just like you use the tables and charts from your business spreadsheets. You have accountants, analysts and consultants to build those spreadsheets for you. And they can learn just as easily to build your living models too - starting with adapting the models we provide in this course. Don't worry - every hour they spend on that learning will save them many more hours of other work.  (See our course on Dynamic Business Modeling).

Here's an outline of everything you’ll learn in the course

We offer two enrolment options:

The Essentials plan

Learn the key principles, highlighted below
Understand and explore a complete business model
Fully refundable on upgrade to the full course

The Full course plan

Learn all the principles and frameworks
Get the full matching slide set, for quick reference
Explore more models for a range of plans and issues
Keep these models and adapt them for your own use

Class 1: Specifying your desired performance outcomes

The critical focus on improving performance over time - and the 3 key questions to answer about that performance.

Time-based objectives for 4 diverse cases.

Performance challenges for a full-scale corporate case - Beyond Meat Inc.*

Common errors in setting strategic objectives.

The financial value of a business - of its strategy or any initiative.

* (By end-2022, this company was no longer sustaining its early promise, but how its business system works and why it struggled, are highly instructive.)

Class 2: How resources drive performance

The generic "strategic architecture" - how most business systems work. 

How "resources" - rigorously defined and quantified - drive performance. 

How resources drive performance for the case examples. 

Common variations on the generic strategic architecture 

Standard strategic resources for most business types, and some special cases.

The standard relationships between customers and sales; staff, capacity and costs (useful frameworks on their own)

Class 3: How customers, staff, products, and capacity are built and sustained

How the “flows”  driving changes to customers, staff, and other resources are the critical strategy levers

How flows of customers, staff and other resources change performance for the case examples

Where resources come from, and go to, and why this matters.

How decisions control resource-flows - directly or indirectly.

The "value curve" of product or service benefits that win and retain customers over time.

How delays complicate the growth of resources and business development.

Variations needed for durable products and one-time services. 

The importance of separating out customer segments and staff groups.

Class 4: How resources work as a system, driving performance.

How interdependence between resources drives development and performance of the business's "strategic architecture".

How existing resources drive changes to other resources - sales staff win customers; too few service staff drives customer losses ...

The structure and performance of the case examples.

How external forces, such as competition and socio-economic factors, affect performance by impacting resource-flows (e.g. competitors' prices or economic recession affect customer growth).

How feedback arises between resources in the system, and may accelerate growth, or hold it back.

Handling relationships in the system that are not arithmetical (e.g. diminishing returns to rising advertising spend; how staff turnover responds to rising workload)

Course wrap-up.

Review and next steps, including powerful extensions to the core business architecture.

Using these models in both Sun Microsystems and Microsoft, the results speak for themselves. It is a key tool for senior managers.

John Kapson

Now: Sr. Director, Analytics & Data Science, Toyota Motors N America

This class fundamentally changed how I think about our company’s future, so I will use what I have learned for the challenges we face.

Mark Holman

Manager Regional Coordination, PJM Interconnection

These business models provided just what we need to explore scenarios for competition in the global tax-technology sector and test our strategies.

Kevin Boettcher

Director, Emerging Business; Vertex, Inc

What's inside?

Text lessons

... explain key principles 

... link to matching videos and slide-PDFs

... link to models for you to explore and keep

... offer Discussions for Q&A

Explanatory videos

... explain more about the key principles 

... give more examples

... explain how to use the models

PDF slides

... match the video explanations

... give live links to models to explore at match each step

... provide a useful quick-reference for later

Working models

... with control panels to explore strategies 

... demonstrate how principles work in practice

... with clear underlying models

... are yours to keep and can be adapted to your own cases

BONUS - your questions answered

This is a self-study course, with an open Discussion thread.

For a limited time, Kim Warren will answer any questions, and point  you to additional resources, if relevant.

 The Strategy Dynamics Bonus Bundle

You will learn how other businesses have used Strategy Dynamics to build stronger plans and make better decisions. The bonus bundle gives you more, to help you apply the method to your business.

Strategy Dynamics Worksheets: You can gain considerable value from simply working with the structures we explain each class, as they apply to your own plans and challenges. So we provide fully editable Worksheet slides at the end of each class. Ask support staff to put your own information into those Worksheets. Then and explore with your team how your future may play out - test assumptions and alternative strategies

Models to keep and adapt: You don't just get to explore our models - you get to keep them. Share them with your team and get support staff to adapt them for your plans and challenges. 

Your questions answered: Every lesson offers a Discussion option, in which you can offer comments and raise questions. If you have a question, it's very likely that others will be interested to know the answers too. Over the past two decades I, Kim Warren, have worked on literally hundreds of different cases, so will almost certainly have come across the same issues and figured out the answers. So I will personally answer any questions you may have.

FAQs

Will I have access to the models?

YES. You will have access to all the models as soon as you purchase the course. These include surprisingly powerful, common model structures that you can use yourself – how to grow sales from managing customer gains, losses and sales rates, for example.

And the models are yours to keep - they do not 'expire'.

Will I have to build models?

NO. As a senior leader, you need to use models, just like you use the tables and charts from your business spreadsheets. You have accountants, analysts and consultants who can learn to build these models for you - or adapt the models we provide. (See our course on Dynamic Business Modeling).

What is the format of the course?

The course is made up of short text lessons, explanatory videos, and ready-built models for you to explore scenarios and strategies. Work through the lessons at your own pace. The text is precise, and the videos are shot with me, Kim Warren, talking you through every principle, framework, example and model.

When will I get access to this course?

You will get complete access as soon as you purchase the course by making the payment. 

How long will I have access to this course?

Once you make the payment, you will have full lifetime access to this course.

What support do I get ? 

This is a self-study course. You learn by yourself, at your own pace. However, the course includes a Discussion thread on all classes. BONUS - for a limited time, we will answer any questions that you post, and if relevant point you to additional resources. 

Is there a money-back guarantee?

Never buy a course that does not offer a 100% guarantee. You get our “Digital Twin Guarantee”. So if you believe what you learn in this course is useless, we’ll be happy to give all your money back. No questions asked. Just send us an email within 15 days for a full refund. And I’ll make sure you get your refund with a smile. 

How can I learn more about Strategy Dynamics?

That’s great. If you’ve found this course useful, you will like to know that Strategy Dynamics can offer still more powerful insights and support to your strategies. Over coming weeks, we will be adding "Extensions" classes that add still more powerful tools to your tool-box - how to build a quality business, not just a bigger one; developing customers and staff through stages; mastering competition; making reliable policies, understanding and managing intangibles and capabilities.  

Strategy Dynamics is totally unique

Everyone talks about "business models". Investors demand to know what your business model is. Strategy consulting firms tout their credentials for helping you define a powerful business model. (They then advise you that - whatever your business model is - you need to pay them to help you change it!) You can fill a good-sized library with books advising you on how to understand your business model and improve it.

But none offer an actual, working model that actually replicates the whole of your business system, and quantifies how and why everything in that system changes over time. 

There are endless strategy courses. If you look for courses on strategy, you will find many that help you figure out your strategic "positioning" - what customers to serve, what products and services to create, and how in principle to do that. But those choices don’t change. With few exceptions, leading firms have stuck with their chosen position, often for decades. Successful firms don't keep changing their minds about what they do! 

You need a “digital twin”. But how your business system develops and performs does change - continually and substantially - along with the industry and competitive environment in which you operate. Strategy dynamics is the only rigorous, practical tool that can replicate that reality - offering a true digital twin of your business. and giving you the power to design your own future.  

(We too offer a course on "standard" strategy methods - but - half of the course explains how to convert your strategic positioning into a time-phased action plan that can be continually updated. See our course on Standard Strategy Methods)

Our Digital Twin Guarantee

What if this course isn’t the right one for you? For whatever reason, if you don’t like this course, you can get a full refund of the course fee. Just write to us anytime within fifteen days of making the purchase. We’ll give you a full refund. No questions asked. And that’s our “Digital Twin Guarantee.”

Get the Strategy Dynamics Core course now

Strategy dynamics ESSENTIALs

£350

The essential frameworks and simple examples
Discussion-list for all classes
BONUS: Your questions answered
Full refund on upgrade to the full core course

the full course

£950

As the Essentials course, plus ...

More important principles and common variations
More frameworks for different challenges
More working models to keep and use
'Control panel' examples to explore scenarios and strategies
Extensive slide-sets for quick reference
BONUS: Your further questions answered

Course Curriculum

Kim Warren

Kim is an experienced strategy professional, teacher and publisher of online courses and teaching resources on business modeling – fast becoming a main-stream capability for executives, consultants and business students. He also offers resources to help model non-business challenges, notably in health-care and international aid.

After senior corporate strategy roles, Kim joined London Business School, to teach on MBA and Executive programs. To overcome serious limitations with standard strategy methods, he developed the powerful strategy dynamics modelling method for designing and managing strategy for any organisation or challenge. Once a specialist skill, building these simulations is now easier, faster and more reliable than spreadsheet modeling. Such models mimic real-world behaviour and performance of businesses and other organisations with uncanny realism.

Kim is author of the prize-winning Competitive Strategy Dynamics (Wiley, 2002), a major strategy textbook Strategic Management Dynamics (Wiley, 2008), and summary e-book now widely used in MBA and executive teaching – Strategy Dynamics Essentials (Kindle, 2011). He is also co-founder of Strategy Dynamics Ltd, which publishes "serious games" and online courses exploiting the user-friendly modelling application, Silico.