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A1: LD Strategy is an online or face-to-face strategy consultancy owned and managed by Laurence Dann, who has more than twenty years experience as a strategy consultant. Where LD Strategy is different, is that each client will always be dealing directly and confidentially with Laurence himself, working to enable clients to learn to create strategy themselves and apply their strategy skills by ‘doing it.’ Tough-questions are asked to engage clients in thinking strategically. The team learns to plan and work together intelligently, using a structured approach, enabling the whole company to work towards common goals. These skills improve over time by concentration, consistency and cooperation.
A2: An individual or team who are serious about changing their strategy by wanting to learn how to do it themselves. Obviously clients need the budget to change, but the most important aspects of strategy are - enquiring minds and a willingness to work hard together, till the job is done. The ideal client is one that understands and applies these ingredients to their determination to succeed.
A3: What is needed is common sense mostly. Also, an ability to communicate, make decisions and think creatively. Strategy is a tool that once learnt how to use, requires no formal qualifications at all. ld strategy inherently trains strategy skills by asking tough-questions and by applying analytical tools to ‘real life.’ People from many walks of life and educational backgrounds do well for themselves using strategy tools.
A4: This is an excellent question that is simply answered. If you or your team is not willing or able to apply your mind(s) or don’t have the resources to change what you do - it’s unlikely that you are ready and probably won’t succeed. Download the strategy readiness survey to get more detailed information about whether your firm is ready for strategy or not.

Strategy experience is not required for a strategy process. What is required is a basic knowledge of your job and your industry. Also, an ability to capture your thoughts in writing after reading simple instructions and to ask the questions you don’t know the answers to. You also need discipline to do what is required on time.

A5: Laurence Dann has been consulting for more than twenty years in strategy in Africa and in the UK. He is the founder and owner of Gro2 Ltd, a company that is in the business of ‘growing business’ by starting businesses with entrepreneurs and helping them to grow the firm. ld strategy as a business is successfully following its own strategy in the United Kingdom, as a brand of Gro2 Ltd.
A6: LD Strategy is in fact Laurence Dann, who has qualifications in business management and marketing and more importantly, has consulted on more than one hundred firms in the past twenty years as a strategy consultant. Prior to consulting he was a National Marketing and earlier, a Regional Sales Manager in corporate companies. He has also been an owner manager of two marketing companies. He is passionate about enabling business growth through sharing strategy skills with clients.
A7: You best contact Laurence directly - preferably via email or phone to discuss your position and assess your strategy requirements. Obviously, each business has a different environment, both inside and outside the business - so requirements differ. There is no ‘one size fits all’ with strategy. What there are, are tools that may be applied to achieve results that suit your business.
A8: Strategy Conversations are best used before a strategy is implemented or when an impasse is reached. Strategy Workshops are best for people or teams unfamiliar with strategy but would benefit from learning the scope of what is required. Strategy Roll-out is for those who have a strategy and need assistance with implementing it. Strategy Reports are for those who need some independent analysis to make strategic decisions.

A9: Well, both methods work and may be cost efficient and effective for different reasons. Some firms prefer to get their team to meet face-to-face without distractions, while others prefer to work independently online. You would have to decide which would work for you.

Online, there are obvious cost savings in that participants may continue with their working day, fitting in strategy sessions in bite size chunks. No work deadlines are interrupted and online is seemingly often closer to ‘real life’ - the way modern firms operate. Organising participants diaries online is an easier task when geography is not a consideration. No travelling is required, just a reliable and secure internet connection.

Online, there is no time wasting and assistance is provided at reasonable cost. Clients work at their own pace, while having access to flexible online communication.

A10: Laurence Dann is and always will be the only strategy consultant clients deal with when contracting LD Strategy.

A11: You won’t know until you have applied the tried and tested strategy tools, insights and thinking involved in creating and implementing strategies. Remember, if you provide poor information and distracted, poorly skilled people, then the task will be more onerous. That’s why an informal chat with Laurence and the strategy readiness survey are recommended before you make your decision.

In fact, the most important reason why strategy fails is not the strategy itself, but in the way its implemented (or not implemented.) Since strategy with ld strategy is ultimately the clients responsibility - results and value for money are primarily in your hands. There is no shortcut to learning valuable skills - obviously, the more you apply your mind, the better and quicker your results.

In creating a strategy, a team benefits from the knowledge and insights shared between them. The structure of the strategy process is simplified and logical. Teams work in their own time at their own pace, ‘learning by doing’ which in itself, is valuable.

A12: Products are structured, fairly simple to use, with careful explanations as to what needs to be done. They are powerful in enabling the strategy process. Where possible, products are hopefully as ‘jargon free’ as possible. If any explanation appears to not be in simple English language, then please say so at all times. It doesn’t help anyone if misunderstandings occur. LD Strategy and clients results are linked and it is essential that all involved in strategy creation or implementation understand what is required. It goes without saying that no question is ever too simple or too stupid.

A13: Strategy is a skill that can be learnt fairly easily. Initially, Laurence will give advice either verbally or in writing. Yet the goal is always for the client to gain an understanding of the underlying logic of the steps that one needs to be proficient in using strategy. So clients will be expected to think and create their own answers, questions and solutions over time. For instance, in the Strategy Roll-out, participants will be asked to present their own plan on what they are going to do when - after detailed guidance has been provided.

Above all, the team will be pointed in a direction by means of strategic questions, statements and insights. The primary objective will be to help the client do the strategy work required. At no time will ld strategy take on the client’s responsibilities or give any instructions. Value is gained from consultations and electronic communication between the collaborators as to choosing appropriate methods, feasibility, direction, leadership, quality standards and productivity. Collaborators are expected to research, retrieve and collate data. The process with ld strategy’s assistance, will help them to analyse the information options and make decisions.

A14: Control of the direction of your firm will always be the preserve and responsibility of the management team. Strategy is in fact a tool that enhances management, which inherently and always includes control of company direction and results of team performance. There is minimal wastage of time and money. People normally become inspired and empowered about their objectives with the knowledge they acquire and the insights they hear and contribute towards. Collaborators may request advice from LD Strategy at any time.

A15: Strategy is a direction, result or event that you choose to create to achieve a strategic objective. There is little that is more important than the way you succeed in achieving your goals. Strategy does this in the best possible manner. Often we see goals set, plans made and lists of tactics shared amongst diligent and productive people. However, without a well crafted strategy, even the most well intentioned activities run the risk of fruitless and frustrating results. Strategy is a process of structured and flexible steps that doesn’t allow half baked attempts to appear when the end result matters.

Our internal and external environments change relentlessly. We need a strategy process or a framework to allow us to be flexible while retaining our overall direction and focus. Strategy has evolved from the military and is a credible and well used means to achieve desired results in challenging conditions.

A16: The implementation of a strategy is often the most difficult aspect of strategy as it involves real work. Work that is routine and requires commitment, discipline and the right attitude by all involved. LD Strategy specialises in helping clients with the creation and implementation of their strategy. Help then is at hand to see your efforts through to the end - which is the most important aspect, that of achieving your strategic objectives.

The strategy processes may be repeated using the same toolkits. The content and data would be updated continuously. While many process costs will remain, the team’s familiarity with the process provides valuable experience for constant improvement and better strategy results.

A17: Experience with strategy is not required to be successful. What your team needs to do is listen, learn and do what is needed to apply tried and tested strategy tools. Your team or you may learn to create your strategy online or face-to-face in your own time, at your own pace. Each online module has basic comments and instructions built in.

Clients will also receive further documentation and online support from the consultant, as and when required as progress is made. In addition, the consultant will submit advisory notices from time to time to help guide the you in the right direction.

A18: Firstly, the team appoints a leader while ld strategy remains an advisor. The goal is for the team to be empowered to do the strategy work and take responsibility for its deliverables, deadlines, successes and failures. The consultant will be able to see the team’s progress from observing their reports. Secondly, the ld strategy will provide strategic recommendations from time to time to guide the team towards a valid direction.

Each strategy tool has homework, exercises and results to produce. These will be presented in appropriate formats such as word documents, spreadsheets, presentations or verbally. Delivery deadlines are agreed and shared in an online calendar. Reminders can be automated, but at the end of the day the best results will come when the client is motivated to keep on track, not through excessive hand holding by ld strategy.

A19: LD Strategy products are modular, where possible. This way, clients pay upfront only for what they want and need at any one time. When you have successfully completed a module, only then do you decide if you need to order another. You are not locked into a huge and complicated strategy process that is difficult to get out of if you change your mind or if your circumstances change. A significant amount of consulting preparation time goes into each customised module so regrettably, once a module payment is made, it is not refundable.

The risk arising from not developing a valid strategy is much greater than the cost of the strategy process itself. said, it is hard to justify failure when the strategy tools are tested and presented for use in a simple, user friendly way. As said earlier, it is most likely that poor results are as a result of poor client implementation, loss of interest or apathy. Suitable commitment, discipline and the right attitude is an appropriate insurance.

That said, there are a few teams that are inherently incompetent to start with. They are simply unable to follow a basic methodology in their own time and at their own pace. Strategy failures do exist, but they are admittedly rare.

A20: You are responsible for managing your business and information is one of the key areas to making assumptions and decisions. If the quality of your information provided is poor or incorrect, the quality of your data results is likely to be adversely affected. The good news is that you will have learnt strategy skills and will be able to correct errors and omissions in future drafts.

A21: You may apply your strategy skills elsewhere, by creating a new strategy and implementing it successfully - allowing more opportunities to reach many more of your strategic objectives. This expands your horizons.

A22: Predicting pressures and deadlines isn’t an exact science. Ideally, clients need to anticipate most periods of overload and prepare accordingly. However, sometimes circumstances beyond our control, calls for communication and contingencies to be agreed. The online method is well suited to cater for changes.

You would need to prioritise and learn to manage your deadlines like all other professionals. Fortunately, ld strategy products are designed to be flexible and easy to work with when resources are under pressure.

A23: The biggest secret is to set realistic deadlines and work together to manage everyone’s results. This way, you will build trust, loyalty and a powerful team.

To get the best results, attention must be paid to the quality of the source data captured and the assumptions made, which together affects the critical decision making information available.

A24: Replace them or delegate their responsibilities. Ensure that all your strategically sensitive information is protected.

A25: ld strategy is a strategy specialist, not a specialist in operating a business in a specialist industry. This begs the question, would a dentist specialise in only working on the teeth of builders, footballers and accountants? I think not. Your job is to know your industry or business, ld strategy needs to know strategy. This way we are able to apply the best skills at hand and importantly, to retain objective opinion.

A26: You may create and implement your own ‘DIY’ strategy, just as you may build your own house, maintain your car or grow your own food. The concept is certainly not impossible, yet certainly not advisable without some professional input. There are books to help you do almost anything these days. CAUTION: Advice for those in areas of high risk should get a professional to do most of the analytical work.

Strategy needs revisiting regularly and this can prove expensive if you have to hire help each time. Strategy isn’t complicated or difficult to do if your guidance, information and controls are professionally compiled. The value of ld strategy lies in the professional sounding board provided. Twenty years of consulting face-to-face with individuals and companies is shared with clients. This is a valuable resource. A strategy handbook doesn’t provide customised solutions to unique problems.

A team working through a handbook while markets, goalposts and resources are changing - creates a complex situation. The greatest risk is the cost of restarting a strategy appropriately. Compare it with having to restart the building of a house after first removing an incomplete house and its foundations. Strategy requires good architecture, strong foundations, appropriate walls and roof.

Using incorrect data or assumptions, could result in getting errors in results. It is likely that ld strategy will assist in detecting errors and omissions. This is not a warranty and highlights the need for those responsible for primary data to be responsible for its accuracy. Where possible, ld strategy is vigilant to assist managers with their requirement to verify data to avoid decisions being made on erroneous data.

A27: Clients, individuals or companies alike, best contact LD Strategy by email or fill in the Ask ld form and detail your position and requirements. This is best after the product notes, terms and strategy readiness survey are read and understood. Alternatively, a Skype or Gtalk call is second best so that notes may be typed as the conversation unfolds. Finally, a call to a mobile is a good ‘last resort’ to make an arrangement to communicate about what is suitable for you. From this chat, a suitable LD Strategy product is selected and ordered or if appropriate, an alternative is suggested.

A28: Pricing to access strategy tools starts at a couple of hundred pounds, the insights from which can make a significant difference to a small firm. Cutting costs on strategy tools is not advisable. Its the old problem of not wanting to spend money on something where the benefits are unclear - this doesn’t mean that finding out about the value of strategy is not worthwhile. After managers are informed of the merits of strategy, they mostly invest in strategy to some degree.