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Strategy & Business Planning

Terms like ‘strategy’ and ‘competitive advantage’ are used frequently in corporate boardrooms, management literature, and MBA schools, but what do these terms really mean? Do I need to care?

We believe that if you are facing similar questions or challenges as presented below, that you should care, and we can help.

  • My leadership team is not aligned on what we should do next. How should we grow? Where should we grow?
  • How do I align where the organization needs to go in the long-term with what the divisions and functions focus on in the short-term?
  • Our business and industry is changing and the future is uncertain. How do I make decisions and lead confidently?
  • We have a strategic plan but we never seem to accomplish its goals. What should we do?
  • How can I make our company stand out from our competitors?
  • Our investors want to know how we will generate consistent and dependable results in both the short and long-term. How do I answer them?
  • We have a plan but never seem to be able to execute before the next list of ‘wildly important things’ is developed. How should we execute our strategic plan?

Strategy is about making choices, trade-offs; It’s about deliberately choosing to be different.

Michael Porter

Our Perspective

Stack’d Consulting’s Integration Approach Illustrated.

Our approach to Strategic Planning

Strategy and business planning really comes down to three simple questions:

  1. Why do we exist?
  2. What are we going to do?
  3. How are we going to do it?

Strategy at its core is decision making. If done well, an organization’s strategy will articulate a set of decisions of what an organization will, and will not do to achieve its goals.

We believe developing a great strategy occurs in four phases:


The thinking phase is focused on reconciling aspirations with realities. We ask key questions such as: Why do we exist? What do we want to look like in the future? We then assess the realities impacting the business; both internally and externally and identify what it will take to get there.

Decision Making

Given this reality check, the organization needs to evaluate and make decisions on what it will and will not do to achieve its goals.


A plan is then developed that specifies how and when the organization will execute its strategy. This involves hard choices regarding scarce resources (money and people), assigns clear accountability for execution, and defines how success will be measured.

Executing & Monitoring

Executing the plan means monitoring progress, continually assessing the business environment, and making course corrections. A great strategy is a living strategy, not a binder on a shelf.

Our Services

Our strategy and business planning services include:

Strategic Planning

Why do we exist? What are we aiming for? How will we get there? We help you make strategic choices and define a practical plan to achieve your long-term goals.

Portfolio Management

For an organization to receive maximum value from the limited resources it controls, requires judicious management of those resources across the breadth of the organization. Our Portfolio Management services can help your organization determine how to allocate resources (people, capital, and management attention) across competing priorities to generate the greatest value for your customers and stakeholders.

Business Planning

What do we need to accomplish in the short-term both from a strategic and operational perspective? How do we balance day-to-day activities with advancing the strategic plan? We help you create pragmatic business plans at a divisional and functional level that attend to operational realities while driving your strategy forward.

Performance Measurement Design & Implementation

How do we know if we are successful? We help you identify, design and implement a pragmatic means to measure progress as you execute your plans. Remember, what gets measured, gets done.

Our Results

Illustrative examples of our results with clients include:

  • Real Estate Investment Trust

    Our client, a new organization formed by a recent transaction combining two significant REITs in the Canadian market, needed to develop a 5-year Strategic Plan that reflected the unique capabilities and opportunities it faced, while ensuring it realized the expected shorter-term value from the transaction.

    Through a series of workshops with the senior leadership team, interspersed with reviews with its Board, our team helped our client clearly define its desired future state, the critical external and internal factors to achieve it, and a pragmatic path to get there.

    As a result, the Strategic Plan was approved by the Board and is actively being executed on by the organization, with markets reflecting measurable improvements to shareholder value. Our client continues to engage Stack’d annually to review the environment, assumptions, and progress to plan, to help ensure it remains relevant and effective.

  • Major Municipality

    Our client (pop. ~1M) needed to renew its 10-year strategic plan which outlined the long-term vision for the City. They engaged Stack’d to help refine its strategic planning methodology and develop a detailed project plan to guide the renewal of the strategic plan over the next 2-3 years.

    Our team collaborated with the client group to define and develop a new strategic planning framework that was ultimately endorsed by the steering committee composed of the City Manager and other senior City officials. We then developed a detailed project plan to help the City create their 10-Year Strategic Plan which was to include the City Vision, Strategic Goals and Desired Future State, Strategies, and Initiatives.

    The project plan successfully incorporated an approach to enable the City to break down long-standing silos within its departments as well as involve an extensive stakeholder engagement process to ensure the voice of the City’s citizens are heard. Our client went on to execute the project plan with a clear understanding of what was required to be done.

  • Alberta Not-For-Profit Chapters

    The Board of Directors from two Alberta regional chapters of a national not-for-profit organization wanted to assess whether or not the two chapters should merge or actively pursue more formalized means of collaboration. There was a belief that by merging or more formally collaborating, the two chapters could more efficiently operate by reducing duplication of efforts, provide more clarity to funders, and improve alignment on programs and events offered to their stakeholders.

    Stack’d was engaged to develop an approach to help facilitate the evaluation of the two strategic alternatives by working with a special Committee, comprising of members of the two respective Board of Directors and the two CEOs of the provincial chapters. The Stack’d team worked closely with the Committee in a series of workshops to further define how each alternative could potentially work so that the Committee could better evaluate the alternatives based on a set of desired outcomes. The Committee made the recommendation to pursue more formalized means of collaboration between the two provincial chapters. An additional outcome of this engagement was that through the process, the two CEOs established a more positive working relationship and a greater understanding of each other, which they expect to be immensely beneficial in their efforts to increase collaboration moving forward.

  • Post-Secondary Institution

    The newly appointed President and CEO for a respected post-secondary institution wanted to develop an earned-revenue strategy to reduce the institution’s reliance on grant funding.

    Stack’d conducted an assessment of the organization’s multiple earned-revenue businesses, including performing both primary and secondary research related to corporate training and continuing education. Through a series of workshops with senior leaders and stakeholders from across the institution, a new earned-revenue strategy and operating model was developed.

    The institution is currently in the process of implementing the new earned-revenue business model, resulting in new business units, organizational structure, improved operational processes, and a more market-centric product offering.

  • Heavy Equipment Dealer

    The Senior Executive team of a multi-billion dollar heavy equipment dealer wanted to develop a five year strategic plan to drive future growth and protect their leadership position in the market.

    Through a series of workshops with the Senior Executive and 75 of the organization’s top leaders, a five year strategic plan was developed that included clearly defined strategies, initiatives and performance measures.

    The execution of the strategic plan has resulted in a sharper focus for the organization which has contributed to improved operating and financial performance.

  • Canadian Construction Company

    The Board of Directors and Senior Executive team of a multi-billion dollar Canadian Construction firm wanted to develop a 5 year strategic plan, along with individually aligned business plans for their industry focused divisions.

    Through a facilitated approach, Stack’d worked with a subset of the organization’s top 30 leaders to analyze internal and external market factors, and develop a growth strategy to support both market diversification and vertical integration for specific business units.

    The resulting strategic plan was endorsed by the Board of Directors and Senior Executive. In addition, the Senior Executive team gave kudos to the Stack’d team stating “their involvement, dedication and deliverables were of best in class quality. We delivered a 10 month project in 5 months and we couldn't have done it without Stack'd”.

  • Industrial Equipment Dealer

    A $1 billion industrial equipment dealer initially engaged Stack’d to assess its strategic direction after a period of rapid growth through acquisitions. The engagement evolved to develop a five year strategic plan in support of the succession of a new CEO.

    Through a series of structured facilitations, a five year strategy was developed with the Senior Executive. Subsequently, in a facilitated leadership retreat with the organization’s top 60 leaders, an implementation plan was developed that identified the key strategic initiatives required to execute the strategic plan.

    The client is currently in year-one of implementing the strategic plan and have engaged Stack’d to manage their strategic program management office, oversee the plan’s execution and drive accountability across the organization.

  • Electric Utility Service Provider

    In a challenging economic climate our client was experiencing a period of flat revenues. With the mandate to grow, the leadership team was faced with a number of strategic questions, including:

    • How will we grow in the future?
    • What markets, geographies, services provide the best opportunities for growth?
    • Do we grow organically or through acquisition or both?
    • What types of acquisitions might be a fit for consideration?
    • How will we take market share from our competitors?
    • What will it take to succeed? 
    • What do we need to invest in?

    To address these questions, our client engaged Stack’d to lead a strategic planning process in collaboration with the executive team. Through a series of workshops combined with supporting market research and analysis, Stack’d helped enable the client to define a new 5-year strategic plan to double their business. 

    The client is now in the process of implementing the strategic plan.

  • Oil Field Services Organization

    The founder of an Oil Field Services organization engaged Stack’d to help develop a strategic plan to both guide what they should do to grow, and to attract potential buyers to support the founders exit strategy.

    Stack’d collaborated with the founder to analyze the historical strengths and weaknesses of the organization and identify potential areas to grow the business. An overall strategic plan was developed that identified growth areas and the investments required to mature the business.

    The strategic plan was then successfully executed and the business sold within 12 months of the engagement.

  • Government Innovation Body

    Stack’d was engaged by a provincial innovation body to assist the leadership team in the development of a five year strategic plan for the organization, including defining their role in improving the Province’s innovation system.

    Through multiple sessions with 15 of the organization’s top leaders, a five year strategic plan was developed. Stack’d was then engaged to help manage the strategic program management office and participate in the execution of six strategic initiatives. These initiatives included improving internal operations as well as developing Industry-based innovation grand challenges that could be solved through basic research, applied research and commercialization.

    Based on the resulting strategic plan, the organization has implemented a new operating model, organizational structure, an approach to prioritizing innovation system investments, and have advanced the execution of the innovation grand challenges.