you have a particular management, planning, marketing, and/or
sales related question? We'll be glad to answer it for you if
we can. Just e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
or call us Toll Free at 1.800.397.0010 and we'll respond within
24-48 hours or less.
your role much like that of a doctor? We call you when a department
or the whole company is experiencing some kind of pain. You
come in, we tell you where it hurts, you take a look, prescribe
a solution, send us a bill and leave.
true that most clients call us in reaction to a pain they are
experiencing. However, we do encourage preventative medicine
through strategic planning, but top management is usually too
busy working in their businesses to find time to work on it.
One major difference between Altfeld, Inc. and a doctor is that
doctors use a method of diagnosis and prescription. We utilize
a process of discovery and dialogue.
job is to help our clients find answers to their questions and
solutions to their problems. The second major difference is
that we don't just help alleviate the pain and disappear. We
stick around to help with the implementation and to make certain
that the next time you feel a similar pain you can fix it on
your own without us.
You should not rely upon any consultant to do your thinking.
You hire a consultant, attorney or accountant to help you to
sharpen your thinking not control it. The consultant's role
is to augment your thought process through discovery, engagement
and dialogue. The consultant's role should never be to take
control away from you or anyone else in your business.
can't I do my own strategic planning? Why do I need to hire
an outside consultant to do it?
the very same reasons you should not attempt self-diagnosis
when you need a doctor. Yes, you know your body better than
anyone else, but you also know that you are going to be completely
subjective and will be in a state of denial. The same holds
true for your business. You know and understand it better than
anyone, but you are going to remain subjective and in a state
of denial when it comes to facing your realities. Strategic
planning is all about discovery. It is all about uncovering
the truths, the harsh realities and the heart of the matter.
It is all about discerning your realities, achieving full disclosure
and discovering genuine solutions. You cannot do that as the
owner and you cannot trust your people to be as honest and forthright
as you will need them to be. Anyone working for you is not going
to ask the tough questions. They are not going to be willing
to challenge, provoke and question things with their job on
the line. There are those who liken strategic planning to having
open heart surgery while you are running a marathon. Because
the business cannot stop running while you go through the strategic
planning and implementation, you are working On your business
as you continue to work In your business.
is it then that a strategic planning consultant brings to the
are actually two types of strategic planning consultants. There
are content consultants who, with an army of young MBA's fresh
out of graduate school, invade your business, tear into it from
the inside out for about six months and hand you plan. Then
there are process consultants who, through a series of systematic,
challenging and thought provoking questions leads you through
an engaging, structured, objective, and formal process. The
result of which is a plan that you and your people have created.
People only truly support what they have helped create. If the
consultant comes in, hands you a plan and says here is what
you need to do and leaves, chances are you are going to get
little if any buy-in. This is especially scary when you consider
that when the consultant leaves, he or she leaves the client
with the consequences. What the consultant needs to bring to
the table is his or her expertise to ask the right questions
in the correct order to assist you in the creation of your plan.
Which is another reason why a business should not attempt to
do the strategic planning by themselves. Not only do they have
to remain completely objective, but they also need to follow
a structured, formal process that can lead them to the creation
of their plan.
I only call on a strategic planning consultant when the company
The best way for any of us to remain healthy is by having periodic
check ups. The same holds true for your business. Preventative
medicine has proven to be a life saving practice. Early diagnosis
and prevention have saved many human beings and businesses from
long term illness and death. Do not wait until your business
is in dire straits to do strategic planning. As the world,technology,
the industries and markets you serve, and your customers change,
so must your business. It is far better to be out front and
prepared than to be caught off guard.
I just go on-line or use a software program to do my strategic
of these advice sites and software programs attempt to mimic
the experience of sitting down with a human adviser, using conversational
interviews to create your strategic profile and plan. When you
have completed all of the questions, they basically crunch your
answers and begin making suggestions and recommendations. The
biggest issue with these on-line "advice-o-mats" and
software programs is that they do not have the sensitivity and
true insight you get with a one on one session. It loses the
feel for the business, the owner and the people. There never
really is a "connection" made between the planner
and the client. To quote Scott Cook, co-founder and chairman
of Intuit regarding on-line financial planning, "People
on the Internet just want hot stock tips. When they get serious
about planning, they hire a human."
is implementation always so difficult?
Too often change gets treated as though it can be simply installed,
managed and engineered. The key to implementation is bringing
your people together, interdependently, and thinking in terms
of "we" versus "you and I". People only support what they help
create. Get them involved and allow them to participate and
they will go out of their way to ensure successful implementation.
Your people are not really against change. They are against
change being inflicted or imposed upon them. Give them a voice
and let them be heard. After all, none of us is as smart as
all of us together.
Needs to Be Involved in the Planning?
everyone throughout the entire company. Since planning establishes
a clear direction for both management and employees to follow,
it is imperative that everyone gets involved. The key to success
(or failure) of the plan lies with the CEO or owner and the
executive management team. If the plan does not get support
from the top, there is no way the bottom is going to commit
Would I Use Strategic Planning?
Strategic Planning/Thinking to take an introspective, honest
look at your company. To determine what business you are really
in and whether it is the right business to be in. To identify
where you want to take the company and what you will have to
do to get it there. To identify who you are as a company.
are the company's true values and what is its culture. Strategic
thinking is a means for the leadership of the company to extract
itself from the subjective state of crisis management and take
a step back to objectively assess where the company is now and
where it needs to be. It allows the company's "brain trust"
to take a time out. To breath long enough to create a desired
future state, identify ways to make it happen (a strategic plan),
determine who will make them happen by when, and anticipate
the consequences (good or bad) of your decisions through "what
Do Most Companies Get Out of It?
thinking permits the top management of the company to look at
the enterprise as a whole and the inter-relationships of the
parts. As a result of strategic planning, a company realizes
the futility of independent, vertical departments with each
fighting to protect its own fiefdom. Rather, it becomes an eye
opener for department heads to realize how much more effective
they can be and how much more can be accomplished through horizontal
interdependence. That by working interdependently with each
department instead of independently of one another, they really
can achieve the common goals that were established in the overall
strategic plan. It is a coordination of the inter-related parts
of the organization making the whole greater than the sum of
its parts. By then implementing atop-down/bottom-up alignment
of objectives, the entire company can understand what you are
trying to accomplish, resulting in their involvement and buy-in.
The result of which is usually a more productive workforce,
increased operating efficiencies, greater retention of your
more profitable customers, and a consistent revenue stream.
are some more hard core results I can expect to achieve with
Focus, Direction and Understanding. Everyone pulling on the
same rope in the same direction. A company with involved, informed
and inspired employees who understand how they contribute to
the goals of the company. What is expected of them, how they
will fit into the company's culture and how far they can or
cannot go in their actions and the decisions they make. Lower
employee turn-over, happier, more loyal customers and stockholders,
and a continuous stream of revenue.
Kind of Commitment Are We Looking At?
company can rely on taking care of today to ensure a bright
tomorrow. It's a sure ticket to extinction. Considering the
longest most companies survive is 40 years, one gets a real
appreciation for those 100+ year old companies that are still
around today. Companies such as General Electric which has reinvented
itself and changed its culture time and time again as a result
of continuous improvement and strategic planning. The length
of commitment is up to you. Should your overall plan be "build
to flip" then that is your plan. Should you decide you
are in it for the long haul and expect to be around for awhile,
then your commitment needs to be longer. The caveat is that
once you have done strategic planning, your commitment is not
so much to the plan, as it is to the planning process. Plans
fail and things change to cause them to fail, or force them
to be changed. The planning process never fails. Abandoning
it however, will have its consequences. The key to success for
any company is to inform, involve and inspire its people which
is what strategic planning and alignment of objectives is all
about. With the genie out of the bottle, it is near impossible
to get it back in.
Do I Need It?
there evidence of confusion about purpose?
your people have problems defining who the customer is, which
products, services and technologies are most important, and
where your greatest opportunities and threats lie?
your employees complain about insufficient challenge or say
they are no longer having fun? Are they pessimistic about
Is the company losing legitimacy, market share, or seeing
its reputation challenged?
the company seem out of tune with trends in the industries
it serves or its environment?
Are there signs of a decline in pride within the company?
Is there little or no risk being taken on the part of your
there an absence of a shared sense of progress or momentum?
Is there a hyperactive grapevine within the company?
you know where your business is going and what it will look
like when it gets there? Do your people?
you too busy working "in" your business to work
you convinced that by taking care of today you're assured
of being around tomorrow?
there vertical independence and "tower" building
within your company?
everyone pulling on the same rope in the same direction?
all of your people customer focused?
discipline of strategic planning forces a company to anticipate
and solve its near term future problems today. It causes you
to focus and start thinking about your long range tomorrow's.
The future will always be an invisible place until you start
thinking about it. If your company is in it for the short term
and wants to sell out while profits are high and sales are good,
that is the best time to do that. As an owner or CEO, it's always
your job to maintain your company at peak performance and position
it for sale, no matter if your selling it or not. The problem
is staying at the top.
example, of all the Fortune 500 companies listed in 1980, 46%,
or 230 are gone. The point being that no company can rely on
taking care of today to ensure a bright tomorrow. It's a sure
ticket to extinction. The best time to ask for a loan is when
you don't need the money. The best time to try something new,
to take risks, to move in a different direction is in good times,
not bad, and certainly not when you are desperate.
Do I Know You Have the Right Answers?
we have no right answers. You do! We merely ask the right questions
to get you to the right answers.
Often Should We Do This?
recommend annually. It's important that the plan be reviewed,
revised and/or rewritten as necessary.
Will Strategic Planning Do For My Company?
Identify, Improve, Enhance
Decision Making Capability
Morale & Motivation
Efficiency & Productivity
Relieve or Eliminate
of Internal & External Conflicts
Develop or Install
First of all, Altfeld, Inc. specializes in $2 to $50 Million
dollar business to business companies. Our expertise lies in
working with manufacturers, distributors and service providers.
We are not the right choice for business to consumer or business
to commerce companies and those companies with revenues much
larger than $50 million. As to why us versus somebody else,
there are four things that make us distinct. The first is our
guarantee. Should the client's chief representative not find
our strategic planning event stimulating, thought provoking,
productive, and/or informative at any time after two hours,
one day, or a day and a half into the two-day session, we will
promptly refund their entire deposit plus pay them an additional
$300.00 for their time.
second is that we don't just do the strategic planning and leave
the client on its own to fend for themselves. We really like
to go deeper than that. We want to get involved and work with
all three segments of the company to ensure the implementation
of the planning process and the overall success of the plan.
For example, should some of the smaller companies not yet have
a full time marketing manager, we offer to fulfill that role
for them on an outsourced basis until they grow to the point
of needing a full time person. Should they need help with their
marketing and/or sales planning, we can assist them there, too.
We also provide public relations and advertising services.
third leg up is that Jim Altfeld is one of the few strategic
planning consultants with actual marketing, industrial sales
and advertising experience working for small, medium, large
and extra large companies. And the fourth is that he grew up
in a small, boot strap, family owned manufacturing company that
has helped him to empathize and commiserate with most of the
owners he's met and gets to work with.
Do We Have to Do To Prepare for a Planning Session?
We recommend you read two books, Zap! and Heroz by Dr. Byham
prior to the session, but it is not mandatory.
Will It Be Held?
at an offsite location away from phones, interruptions and the
Is It Done?
on a Friday and Saturday. Anytime that is convenient, but away
from the phones and interruptions.
Long Does a Planning Session Take?
actual planning session takes up to three full days.
Much Does It Cost?
fee for either the two or three day event is $3841.47 plus expenses.
to the Top