The Need That We Address

Our research into more than 2,500 major corporate failures from the past 25 years found that almost half stemmed from ill-conceived strategies. Contrary to conventional wisdom, even flawless execution could not have saved the strategies.  Our research also showed that these planning errors tend to fall into repeating patterns, that they can be identified ahead of time and that the errors can be avoided.

We help organizations apply the lessons derived from our research, thereby dodging problems and reshaping strategies in ways that greatly increase the chances of success. We make you a more effective executive.

Mission

We are an alliance of critical thinkers dedicated to helping business leaders improve the robustness of their strategies and increase the odds of success.

  • Our objectivity stems from having no financial or other vested interest in the strategies being assessed. We have neither helped design the strategies nor will we participate in their implementation.
  • Our expertise is based on decades of experience grappling with issues similar to those we now help our clients address. We have tackled issues from a range of organizational, industry and functional perspectives.
  • We have collectively built an immense body of research on how to approach innovation, encompassing both what works and what does not. This includes the unique research associated with Billion-Dollar Lessons, which explores the lessons to be learned from more than 750 of the largest business failures of the last 25 years.

We’re experts at fostering innovation. We also know where problems might lurk—and how to avoid them.

The Devil’s Advocate

Philosophically, our approach is akin to the “devil’s advocate” that the Catholic church used for centuries to safeguard canonization, by which the church declared someone to be a saint. In the Middle Ages, the church began appointing a person to gather all possible evidence that would challenge the idea that someone should be canonized. While the name “devil’s advocate” is a bit challenging, two things should be noted. First, the formal name of the office was promotor fidel, or “promoter of the faith.” In other words, the idea was to build the church, not to be punitive. Second, the office was effective. Since Pope John Paul II abolished the office in the early 1980s, the rate of canonization has increased by a factor of more than 20, amid reports that church officials have ignored compelling, unflattering evidence.

Our approach is built around constructive, independent reviews, like the Catholic church’s devil’s advocate process. Here are some excerpts from the audio edition of Billion-Dollar Lessons describing how the devil’s advocate process can be applied to business:

Why Bad Strategies Happen to Good People
Audio MP3
The Devil’s Advocate
Audio MP3
The Safety Net
Audio MP3