Getting strategy right: It’s all about having the right strategic conversations

Getting strategy right with the right strategic conversations – Rexam case study

Many people believe that success hinges on having the right strategy. Others swear it’s all in the execution. Still others would say it’s a bit more elemental: it’s all about having the right strategic conversations.

That’s certainly how the CEO and leaders at Rexam would put it. They should know: having the right strategic conversations was instrumental in getting their company – one of the world’s leading global manufacturers of beverage cans, back on track.

What exactly does it mean to have the right strategic conversations? It’s the ability to focus management discussions on strategic priorities, without getting mired in short-term operational concerns. It’s about being able to address concerns candidly, rather than putting the best possible face on them (or worse, sweeping problems under the rug). It means being able to collaborate for the enterprise’s common good and long-term success, rather than competing for resources, unit against unit.

It’s all about having the right strategic conversations.

The ability to have the right strategic conversations was, in a very real sense, the key to restoring Rexam to fiscal health and setting it on a path to sustainable long-term performance – neither outcome a small feat in an increasingly volatile global economy.

When the UK-based company (2013 revenues: £4 billion) put itself on a major course correction in 2010, new CEO Graham Chipchase set about crystallising a new vision and strategy. He put in place the Balanced Scorecard and other governance mechanisms and practices to map, manage, and communicate the new strategic direction. But of all the new approaches, two measures were perhaps the most critical in advancing the company: the executive leadership team meetings and quarterly business reviews. These meetings served as the forums for Rexam’s strategic conversations – focused, purposeful, and candid discussions in which leaders assessed progress with the new strategy, discussed and debated how best to close up performance gaps, and tackled challenges, both chronic and new.

You can download the full version of this case study below. This resource was kindly provided by Kit Jackson, who from 2010 to 2011 served as a consultant to Rexam and then joined the company to lead its Office of Strategy Management. In that role (which she held from 2011 to 2014), she spearheaded the establishment of the Balanced Scorecard–based strategy management framework and discipline. She also facilitated executive leadership team and quarterly business review meetings.

Strategic conversations: Rexam case study

Strategic conversations: Rexam case study

New tools to foster consensus on strategic priorities, management mechanisms to instill discipline in strategy management, a major emphasis on transparency and open communications and more in the Rexam case study

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