Vision: Our vision is for WSG to be the most influential strategic consulting firm in Europe. Having founded a successful strategic consultancy in the 1980s, Paul Fifield and John Marti believe the time is right for a 21st century version of their original idea: the Winchester Strategy Group is that firm. WSG is an employee-owned consulting business where all the consultants are experienced and qualified professionals.
Approach: Speaking truth unto power has always been a central feature of our work. The Winchester Strategy Group's approach is based upon the simple premise that it is management's absolute right and duty to manage its own business. However, that does not mean that an impartial, objective voice cannot be heard. We believe that a consultant's role must be directed towards enabling business managers to make their own informed choices and reach their own conclusions.
Experience: We know how businesses actually work: we have all been managers and we are all experienced consultants. This experience is underpinned by our development, training and teaching at some of the world's best business schools. We ally that experience and training to years of researching what the customer might want next. This formidable combination is entirely directed towards helping business managers successfully navigate the difficult issues confronting them.
Transparency: We work on the basis of what you see is what you get. When someone from WSG agrees an assignment with a client, the client will see them again. We don't have polished professionals selling our services only to be replaced by bright, young, inexperienced consultants. We strongly believe that experience matters. In WSG whoever negotiates the work with the client will usually take the lead for that work and be responsible for the WSG team.
Scope: We know that many problems are 'solved' in isolation. Sometimes problems are indeed discrete. On other occasions the solution may lead to problems elsewhere in the organisation. Our view is that potential solutions must be thought through to identify where and what else in the organisation may be affected. This does not mean that the solution is abandoned or that a great deal of additional work is necessarily required. However, it is wise to be forewarned. We work hard with our clients to avoid unintended, undesired and unforeseen consequences.
Role: We enable managers to develop a clear understanding and ownership of their problems and therefore how to resolve them together. We do not believe that consultants should tell managers what to do. Our role is to gather and analyse the data to produce the evidence essential to facilitate understanding of the problem and the identification of potential solutions. The evidence base we generate provides a solid object to push against in order to get clients to face their problems. Only then, can we progress to finding actionable solutions. Our process provides clients with the reassurance that solutions exist and can be implemented.
Consultancy: The first task is to agree what the client needs to achieve. We are then in a position to carry out the necessary research and analysis to achieve a comprehensive understanding of the essential evidence. During this stage, we maintain regular dialogue, and encourage active engagement, between us and the client team. Having assembled the evidence into an information pack, our preferred approach is to present this to the client in advance of a joint workshop. This allows the client team time to become familiar with the evidence needed to develop actionable solutions. Sometimes, a series of workshops is required.
Executive Development: As with a consultancy project, our Executive Development programmes start with data collection and analysis. This information is used to prepare relevant material for Executive Development seminars and workshops. This means that clients receive the inputs associated with a development programme and in addition, have theoretical material set in the context of their own business. Our approach to Executive Development allows us to identify key pressure points in the business and integrate them into a bespoke programme.
Coaching and Mentoring: Being in a senior role in an organisation can be isolating and sometimes lonely, especially in times of change and uncertainty when many of the tried and tested techniques don’t seem to work. WSG can provide an independent sounding board and act as coaches or mentors to members of the senior team. When we coach or mentor a business leader, we aim to provide the executive with learning and development inputs at a strategic level to help them in their current and future business roles. Typically, coaching has more immediate goals and concentrates on specific development areas. In mentoring, our focus is more on the development of the individual and takes a longer term and more holistic view.
Out-Sourced Expertise: Many organisations prefer not to invest in their own specialist strategic resource, are not large enough to warrant a full-time dedicated strategy function, don’t want to do the work themselves, or simply require additional capacity. WSG can provide an outsourced ‘Strategy Department’ to help clients identify their position in the world, and how to plan and carry out the necessary strategic moves. This typically requires a thorough understanding of the client company and its ambitions, the external business environment as well as present and future customers. We would expect to work with clients over a mutually agreed and defined period.
Complex problems: simple solutions
Market: Customers are the market. No customers = no money = no business. But not everyone is a potential customer. The key is to identify those customers who have a need that the business can satisfy profitably. That means looking outside the business to understand the market today and to help generate a better understanding of how it might develop in the future.
Innovation: Business is facing a very turbulent period. Rapidly advancing technology, the fall-out from the banking crisis, big data and the advent of a new breed of consumer, is transforming the business environment. To survive and thrive, businesses must change and must innovate strategically. Innovation has never solely been about creativity and invention. These must be allied to business practices to deliver added value to customers. Our key message is, ‘disrupt before you are disrupted’.
Process: Our preferred approach is to develop solutions working in partnership with our clients rather than just for them. Throughout assignments we share our findings with our clients through regular reviews. We rarely produce conventional reports or presentations. Where appropriate, we develop solutions in joint workshops with our clients. This helps generate understanding and commitment, which is much more likely to result in effective, practical solutions for our clients. In turn, this makes successful implementation more likely.
Action: A brilliant solution without implementation simply remains a clever idea. By themselves, clever ideas are of little value: to make them worthwhile they need to be translated into actions designed to deliver the desired results. As consultants we aim to stimulate action, but it’s not our job to implement, although we are always prepared to support and advise clients when they venture into unfamiliar territory. The ‘best’ result for the client is the most stretching solution that can be effectively implemented.
Clients: At WSG we have rejected the superficial attractions of standard or formulaic techniques. Our response to each assignment is always individually crafted around the specific needs of the client company and its managers. This is essential as companies are not all the same. Amongst the almost two hundred companies we have worked with are representatives from a wide range of sectors. Many of these are large, well-known companies, while others are smaller organisations. All have something in common; they are seeking to reduce problems and improve their performance.
Paul has a track record of delivering multi-million pound product developments during a 20 year career as an engineer, manager and consultant in a number of sectors- Nuclear, Semiconductors, Mobile Telecoms, Electronics and Defence. He has lived and worked in Germany and the USA and his experience includes customer facing roles in China and South Korea.
He holds an MBA from Bath and speaks German.
+44 7775 715 269Paul Lyon- Executive Director
Following his degree, Paul joined the consumer industry as a Marketing Manager in Belgium & Luxembourg for Polycell. After his MBA, he moved into adult games. Since 1980 he been consulting for large and mid corporate companies to develop and implement Customer Strategy in sectors as diverse as agricultural chemicals, domestic appliances, economic development and utilities.
Paul is also a successful author. His 23rd book, “Marketing Strategy Masterclass” appeared in 2008.
In parallel with his consulting Paul has been a frequent contributor to executive development and MBA programmes. He is currently Visiting Professor at the College des Ingénieurs in Paris and the University of Southampton.
+44 7831 625 624Paul Fifield – Co-Founder Chairman
John spent ten years as a middle and senior manager in the manufacturing sector before moving into consulting with large and small firms. Wishing to develop a more effective approach to consulting, John established his own firm focused on helping clients worldwide resolve their strategic problems. His consulting experience has encompassed almost every part of the private sector and occasionally, parts of the public domain.
John is especially strong in motivating and leading cross-functional teams to deliver complex projects on time. He also acts as a coach and mentor for senior executives and as a chairman in company turnarounds.
+44 7971 287 809John Marti – Co-Founder Chairman