The report will be based on the case "The strategic review process at Egon Zehnder International (A)", a company at a turning point in its history.
The case will raise important questions about the need (and difficulty) to achieve coherence or adjustment between the new demands of the environment, the strategy and the current organizational levers to carry it out. Beyond sustainability, the case highlights staff involvement as key dimension of strategy. This is relevant in an increasing number of industries, as intangible assets become more relevant in a knowledge economy. It deals with triggering and assuming a strategic process, critical in corporate strategy. It can cover digitalization impact in strategy and implementation. And finally, the dynamics of this business are very familiar and easy to grasp.
Work should not be limited to what is simply descriptive. The concepts and references learned during the course will be valued, but also the originality of thought, the integrative thinking and the criteria based on personal experience.
There are no restrictions on report length, but clarity will be valued (both in language and in the tools used). It is also at the student's choice the weight that you want to give to the different sections, because the assessment will be global. The report should follow these four sections because they cover the main concepts for this course (competitive advantage and alignment at different levels and stages). The bullets included in them are just suggestions and you are quite free to modify the contents.
- In what environment does the firm currently compete? Please use tools and concepts from the course to analyze industry and EZI competitive position in it.
- Include the changes that suggest that EZI is at a turning point. How might competitors threaten the firm? You may add general trends not mentioned in the case if you believe that they can be relevant.
- Imagine that the company performs a foresight exercise that includes scenarios. Which would be the critical uncertainties? Which are the most relevant trends? Which events could accelerate their decline? Which would be the point of no return?
- Briefly define the strategy (the "winning formula") of EZI until now, if possible in a single sentence, in that industry.
- Identify and describe EZIs sources of competitive advantage/s. How would you classify their competitive advantage? What distinguishes EZI from other executive search firms?
- Value the effectiveness of the strategy in terms of economic performance and sustainability
- What do you think of Meiland's answer (p13) that "the strategy is not relevant in professional services firms"?
- The case provides many details that make Egon Zehnder’s organization distinctive among their rivals until now. Please select a number of these details (or organizational design decisions), and for each one of them indicate why it makes sense to do things this way (taking into account their strategy or core competences). Which is the strategic importance of values? You can classify each decision within the S of the 7S model of McKinsey that better corresponds with.
- Try to find some parallel with some of the ways to implement strategy seen in any of the previous cases of this course. You can recognize similarities in focus, particular decisions or in the whole system of companies.
Now imagine these different situations:
- First take the place of Fernandez de Araoz and O'Brien in April 2000, presenting the idea of strategic review to the EZI Executive What would be your (reasoned) answer to the final questions of the case? That is, who should carry out the review? What should be the mandate of the team in charge of the strategic review? Which stages will have that project?
- Now imagine that the Executive Committee prefers to get some external assessment. Take the place of a strategy consultant that is brought to talk to them. Which two or three broad strategic options would you define? Include in them value proposition, consistent growth alternatives, customer philosophy, knowledge strategy, alliances, organization, levers… How would you suggest the Executive Committee to decide among those options?
- Imagine this: When starting this process, suddenly the dotcom bubble causes a collapse of executive recruitment All executive search companies suffer large impacts in revenue, some reduce their workforce to 50%. EZI also faces immediate cuts. Would it be possible to remain faithful to values? What steps would you take to survive short but maintaining EZI’s potential?
Introduction to Egon Zehnder International
Egon Zehnder International firm was found in 19964 by Zehnder who was a Harvard business school student .the firm has experienced several translation processes since the time it was introduced. The organization focusses on specific leadership needs of various companies (Wellalage et al 2011).
Elgon zander organization has been facing various competition from the upcoming organization on the executive research program. Being an old organization so many problems that have been observed by various leaders have been used by upcoming companies to pollute the growth of the Egon Zehnder organization (Vogel 2014).
Egon Zehnder has faced various changes this has described its turning point. The leadership at the organization has highly influenced its turning point. Most of the CEO rather than reflecting on the quality that the company that has been assisting other companies in their leaderships advisory, board advisory, and executive assessment process the CEO has been reflecting on financial growth. This factor has made many companies which have been in partnership with the Egon Zehnder to find assistance from the new upcoming firm on executive research. Another factor that has also defined the turning point of the EZI organization is the affection of the financial status of either decline in financial status has affected the effective running of the task undertaken by the EZI hence affecting the quality of the process. Degradation of the number of the customer to the EZI organization is another factor that has defined its turning point. This has major affected the financial level of the organization (Campbell & Burton 2013).
Deduction on the number of the employees has also proved the turning point of the EZL organization. A growing company is expected to increase the number of its employees but this has been opposite in the EZI organization. Corruption in the organization has defined its turning point. Some of the leaders have been corrupt hence affecting the daily running of the organization (Neville 2011).
If the EZI organization conducts a foresight exercise on the basis of its progress the most of its uncertainties are resulted by poor leadership in the organization.to decline the acceleration of such uncertainties the firm needs to lay down strict strategies and rules once a poor leadership is noticed in the organization. If such action is not taken this can lead to the downfall of the EZI firm.
The board of the Egon Zehnder is expected to satisfy and fulfill the strategy and the compliance role as it has been made easier for the directors to give strategy short shrift in the heightened regulatory face requirements and the guidelines of the investors.to make this in counter, the CEOs give strategy a permanent place on the agenda.in the experience of the dinner guests, it has pressed on the ability to keep aligned with the strategy of the company.
Challenges Faced by Egon Zehnder International
Also, the forward-thinking boards have been aiding in developing the future executive committee members. This has assisted the organization to not only deal with the current issues but also trying to predict and giving the solution to some future tasks. The boards that involve attendees have employed several strategies which include engaging high potentials presentation to the mentors' act and also hosting lunches for the rising executives. This will reform and energize the progress of the organization hence managing and absorbing the pressure generated by their competitors. Some of the female directors have used those initiatives in cultivating their talent which has positively influenced the growth of the organization (Neville 2011).
The board members have also joined hand for a common goal of giving support to their CEOs as the external face of the company. This has motivated them in bringing growth to the EZI organization rather than corrupting the growth in the organization.it has also reduced the pressure on the chief executive while sending a message of active support for him/her (Neville 2011).
The emergence of cybersecurity strategy has been initiated as an oversight and guidance on some emerging technical issues. This has reduced and sealed the privacy of the organization from their competitors.
Looking at the competitive advantages of the EZI organization, generally, such a competition from the emerging firms has made the EZI reform and concentrates on the quality of the executive research but not on the quantity. EZI’s customers will benefit from the quality of leadership that this firm will develop in the company. Extending the benefits to the economic growth, a high growth rate will be experienced as the growth of the companies highly depends on the quality and vision of the leadership running the company (Bryson et al 2010).
The strategy implemented by this organization will have a great and vibrant positive impact to the economy. The company has a good and visualized leadership symbolizes the kind of the leadership there will rise to the customers relying on them. Taking an example of the strategy of the teamwork and togetherness that is symbolized by this organization, if this is carried to the companies that affect the economy directly a stabilized economy is going to be developed which will withstand the hard times (Herrmann et al 2011).
The Egon Zehnder firm has been distinguishable in its task implementation and celebrity from various upcoming firms. One the factor that has led to this is the time of the establishment. Having served many and most known companies the EZI has captured and made its establishment and many parts of the world. Some of the upcoming it appears so difficult in fading the supremacy of this organization due to lack of trust all because of the difference in the service provision duration. Another factor that have made this firm distinctive is because of the resources and capital (Fernández-Aráoz et al 2011).
Analysis of the Strategic Review Process at Egon Zehnder International
McKinsey 7S framework is said to be a management model which was initiated by business consultants known as Robert Waterman and Tom Peters as shown below
The model is implemented in an organization analysis tools used in assessing and monitoring the changes in the organization involving internal situation.
By looking into the hard and the soft elements in the model developed it is clear that the EZI organization has implemented a big part of the model in restructuring the organization. Taking look at the strategy part the organization has really perfected on this so as to enhance its competitive advantage. Also on the part of the staff, leaders from different departments have been united (Segal-Horn & McGee 2012).
Fernandez de Araoz and O'Brien insisted on the hiring without firing strategy. The strategy has both positive and negative impact on the organization. Taking my arguments on the positive side of this strategy, in the way the strategy reduced competition and pressure from the upcoming organization. This is because when you fire the employees the competitors use these people to learn the weakness of the organization and they perfect on them in order to overtake the organization (Fernández-Aráoz et al 2011).
Such a strategy of hiring without firing need to be accompanied with other supportive strategies such as; when an employee is found to have conducted against to expectation he/she should be made to pay a certain penalty which is gauged on the degree of misconduct. During the initial hiring process, all the employee should be clearly made to understand these rules. Also, the company should approach the government to set some regulation that once the employee commits a crime and leaves the company should not be allowed to join a related firm (Poister et al 2010).
When implementing such a strategy they may lead to the downfall of the companies that rely on EZI firm. This result in a major negative impact to the organization .To avoid this, a team should be developed that deals with the prediction of futures impacts before a strategy is implemented. The EZI should set aside a certain amount of money which may be used in re-developing their customers when such is experienced. This improves trust to the companies that rely on them ((Beaverstock 2012).
Fernández-Aráoz, C., Groysberg, B., & Nohria, N. (2011). How to hang on to your high potentials. Harvard Business Review, 89(10), 76-83.
Wellalage, N. H., Locke, S., & Scrimgeour, F. (2012). Does one size fit all? An empirical investigation of board structure on family firms’ financial performance. Afro-Asian Journal of Finance and Accounting, 3(2), 182-194.
Herrmann, K., Komm, A., & Smit, S. (2011). Do you have the right leaders for your growth strategies. Organization Practice.
Neville, M. (2011). The role of boards in small and medium sized firms. Corporate Governance: The international journal of business in society, 11(5), 527-540.
Bryson, J. M., Berry, F. S., & Yang, K. (2010). The state of public strategic management research: A selective literature review and set of future directions. The American Review of Public Administration, 40(5), 495-521.
Poister, T. H., Pitts, D. W., & Hamilton Edwards, L. (2010). Strategic management research in the public sector: A review, synthesis, and future directions. The American Review of Public Administration, 40(5), 522-545.
Beaverstock, J. V. (2012). Highly skilled international labour migration and world cities: Expatriates, executives and entrepreneurs. International handbook of globalization and world cities, 240-250.
Campbell, N., & Burton, F. (2013). Japanese Multinationals (RLE International Business): Strategies and Management in the Global Kaisha. Routledge..
Segal-Horn, S., & McGee, J. (2012). Strategies to cope with retailer buying power. Retail and Marketing Channels (RLE Retailing and Distribution), 6, 24.
Vogel, H. L. (2014). Entertainment industry economics: A guide for financial analysis. Cambridge University Press.
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