Stonehenge, Farms and Icebergs: Developing Successful Growth Strategies

November 25th 2013

I am rarely found up at 6am on a Saturday unless I am on my way back from some lively event but this Saturday I headed off to Paddington Farm for a strategy awayday. It was a glorious clear morning with a romantic frost over the Salisbury plains. Passing Stonehenge made me wonder whether our prehistoric strategists realised 3500 years ago that they were building the most important prehistoric monument in the whole of Britain.
The point of a strategy is to plan the action needed to ensure we meet our mission statement in a way that secures us economically.  It is a day to remind us all about the core business ( in this case educational farm holidays for people who are in need ) and what we can do to sustain and develop it.  It is quite broad in that we try to avoid drilling into how we will achieve the strategy.  We have to stick to asking ourselves over and over is this the right direction of travel.  Will this help us achieve our aim? Are we fit for purpose?

The day was a good preparation for the LEYF strategic awayday which is planned for next week. Unlike Saturday where the day involved discussing about farm buildings, silage, long horned Wiltshire sheep and cider our homework for the LEYF strategy day was to read ‘Our Iceberg Is Melting’ by John Kotter; a charming interpretation of how to manage change through the eyes of 6 penguins.  It’s got the philosophy of Happy Feet combined with the March of the Penguins without the music.

Change and the successful management of change is what the LEYF strategy is all about.  If we do not manage change well and build a business model with values and integrity at the heart we will end up in trouble. Look at the Cooperative Bank.  Long before Reverend Flowers brought it into the limelight, the bank was in trouble. It had used its most valuable asset, its ethical status to leverage its growth but that was not enough to secure its sustainability. Now its reputation is under threat and its restoration will be even harder as it has lost the goodwill of many customers who had begun to recognise its poor business performance .

So what has that got to do with LEYF?  Well, we are looking to grow. Our strategy is to try and enable more of London’s children to attend LEYF nurseries, especially those living in poorer London neighbourhoods. We want nurseries that will enable poorer parents to train to work or to work locally.  We want nurseries which can support our apprentices.  We want nurseries in places which will benefit from our multi-generational work.  We need more nurseries to help us do that.

Are you interested in working with us?  Would your strategy align with ours? Could we become partners?… Get in touch.