I believe that the business strategy landscape has changed over the last few years. Strategy and sustainability now go hand in hand, and to integrate sustainability in a business model - either from a corporate or an investor perspective - is a new, uncertain and complex challenge.
As such, the typical ‘T’ shape development of strategy consultants, which consists of one or two years’ general experience and then a ‘deep-dive’ into a specific area of expertise, is not enough to train individuals that will lead sustainability integration.
So, when it comes to solving these complex problems, how is the KKS Advisors approach different to everyone else's? This is one of the most frequent questions I am asked, and one of the hardest ones to answer, because not only does it force me to think hard about how we have successfully done things in the past, but also how we can try to differentiate our business in the future.
We believe that three key elements are necessary for the new generation of strategy consultants, and we bring these elements together in 'The KKS Way' and apply it in every engagement that we are involved in.
1. Experience in business strategy development and implementation
Extensive experience in doing the work is the foundation, and at the same time probably one of the most common elements one can find across consulting firms. Most teams have individuals with some sort of experience and / or relevant background.
2. Cutting-edge academic research
This is where things start to become more difficult. Research is important if you want to empower your clients with thought-leadership and genuinely new thinking. No one wants another boilerplate solution - where is the competitive advantage in doing that? To bring this element into our engagements, we don’t just collaborate with leading academics and research institutes, we make them part of our team.
3. Systems perspective of sustainable business models
Now this is the part where it gets really challenging. We have seen several consulting firms advising companies and their executives on how to build a sustainable strategy, but have no idea what drives a stock price, or what a quarterly earnings call is. I would highly question the ‘sustainability’ of these strategies.
At the same time, we have also seen advisory firms working with investors, that have never talked to a CEO, a CFO or a Chief Sustainability Officer, to understand the operational difficulties and resource allocation decisions of implementing a new strategy. This is probably one of the major gaps in how consulting and advisory firms have developed their capabilities and trained their people. This is where we believe we can bring real value, and as a result we have prioritized this element to ensure that we are creating well-rounded advisors with a systems perspective.
Our team brings these three elements together. We work with companies in developing sustainable strategies, we work with investors to help them integrate sustainability issues in their decision-making and improve their engagement practices, and we work with NGOs and foundations to help them understand and measure their impact. We provide better advice because we truly understand how the people you are trying to influence think and operate.
If you feel sustainability is new, uncertain and complex for you, contact us to find out how we can help.