Corey is a trusted executive advisor who combines deep subject matter expertise in strategy, innovation and leadership development with extensive experience working with diverse client organizations. He literally co-wrote the book on how to solve complex organizational problems.
He advises senior leaders and their teams on challenges associated with strategic transformation, including strategic planning, business model innovation, corporate venturing programs, and strategic alliances. He also advises HR and L&D executives on the design, development and delivery of leadership development programs.
Corey uses a facilitative approach to consulting. He partners with clients to co-create solutions. He brings a rigorous, research-based methodology, described in his book Cracked It!, to his engagements. He works closely with members of each client organization, often in intensive, interactive workshops, to leverage their knowledge and expertise in developing solutions.
With his unique blend of deep, research-based expertise, extensive client experience, rigorous methodology, and facilitative approach built on decades of experience in leading executive training and development workshops, Corey’s solutions drive measurable business results.
Popular Topics of Engagement
Despite its popularity, there is widespread dissatisfaction with strategic planning.
Many organizations view it as a tiresome routine that is overly formulaic, political, myopic and disconnected from daily operations. Planning is often budget-driven, internally focused and backwards looking. Faced with increasingly dynamic environments and uncertain futures, the typical planning process is unlikely to produce the strategic foresight needed for long-term value creation.
There is a better way. Combining extensive research on strategic planning with decades of teaching and consulting, Corey has developed a set of design principles and a five-phase process that minimizes the challenges of traditional strategic planning to help organizations successfully navigate an uncertain future.
The most effective strategic planning efforts adhere to four core design principles:
Corey’s approach to strategic planning consists of five phases: Scan, Understand, Ideate, Decide, and Act. Organizations that compete in rapidly changing environments will need to cycle through this process more frequently to ensure their strategy is aligned with external conditions.
Corey consults with senior leadership teams in for-profit, non-profit and governmental organizations to help them design, launch and execute their strategic planning efforts. He frequently facilitates strategy offsites as part of these broader strategic planning engagements.
Strategy offsites are an integral part of effective strategic planning.
They’re often the only opportunity organizational leaders have for in-depth strategy conversations without distractions from daily operations. Effective offsites (also known as strategic retreats or strategy workshops) can lead to breakthrough strategic insights, help align executives on important strategic issues, and strengthen a company’s strategic position and performance.
Like strategic planning, strategic offsites are widely used, but often have little impact. The unique nature of strategy discussions requires special planning and skilled facilitation to ensure that meaningful and constructive conversations happen.
Corey’s approach to designing and facilitating strategy offsites combines best practice from research with extensive experience.
Strategy Offsite Best Practices
Research shows that the most effective offsites include the following features:
Corey partners with clients to understand their challenges and context. He uses this insight to carefully design and plan offsites that pursue the right objectives and engage the right people using the right data, tools and frameworks. This pre-work ensures that Corey facilitates the right strategy conversations to help clients achieve their desired outcomes. Recent offsite clients include Bank of America, Microsoft, Royal Bank of Scotland and Total.
Beyond his use of best practices and his subject matter expertise, Corey’s true strength is his ability to engage and challenge his clients to elicit and synthesize their best thinking about the strategic challenges they face. His approach to facilitation is an artful blend of different skillsets – equal parts keynote speaker, consultant, educator, and executive coach.
In the long run, only the innovators survive.
Innovation is crucial. Surveys of senior leaders consistently identify innovation as one of the top priorities of organizations around the world. It’s easy to understand why. Decades of research shows that organizations that consistently innovate outperform and outlast those that don’t.
But innovation is also hard. The same surveys that show innovation is a top priority also show that most organizations believe they aren’t very good at it.
Organizations face numerous pitfalls in pursuing innovation. They’re often preoccupied with maximizing short-term returns from existing offerings and business models. Accordingly, they often lack the appropriate culture, structures, systems, processes, tools, and talent to promote creative risk-taking with new offerings and business models.
To avoid these pitfalls and innovate effectively, organizations need an innovation strategy that articulates:
- What success will look like in terms of the creation of new offerings, new business models, and/or new businesses.
- How to create an organizational context, consisting of a compatible culture and structure, that enables innovation.
- The necessary processes and tools to promote the agile development and validation of ideas for new offerings, business models and businesses, including their commercialization and scaling.
Building on decades of research, teaching and consulting on corporate innovation and growth strategy, Corey has developed methodologies and tools to advise organizations on:
- Innovation strategy
- Business model development and innovation
- Corporate venturing
While commercializing new products and services is critical, business model innovation can have a more pronounced and lasting impact on profit margins and industry leadership.
As the pace of competitive change increases and the durability of business models decline, business model innovation has become vital. Done well, it can drive breakout growth, reinvigorate a declining core business, or defend against industry disruption.
Business model innovation is focused on improving an organization’s ability to create, deliver and capture value. It involves making simultaneous and complementary changes to the demand-side of the model – such as the choice of target customers, offering characteristics, channels and revenue model – and to the supply-side in terms of the resources, capabilities, processes, partners and cost model needed to deliver the new approach to value creation.
While business model innovation has become increasingly important, research shows it’s often stymied by past commitments and future uncertainty. Established models become taken-for-granted beliefs and create cognitive inertia in the face of changing competitive environments. Legacy core capabilities and processes become core rigidities because exploiting the sources of past success seems safer than searching for and experimenting with new ways to compete.
Building on his research, teaching and consulting on corporate growth and innovation, Corey has developed a structured approach to business model innovation. His Anticipate, Challenge, Experiment and Scale (ACES) approach can help clients overcome the pitfalls on the road to developing and successfully implementing new approaches to value creation and capture.
Corey has led teams of executives through this process in nearly 100 business model innovation workshops as part of consulting engagements and executive development programs for client organizations from around the world. Dozens of executive teams have used the approach to create new business models for their companies or make significant revisions to existing business models.
Corporate venturing is a vital aspect of a company’s innovation strategy and growth agenda.
Established firms are increasingly building internal ventures and partnering with external startups to accelerate innovation and growth. Corporate venturing allows companies to explore new technologies, new business models, new markets and new ways of working without the same commitment as R&D or M&A.
Venturing is more than corporate venture capital – established companies making minority equity investments in promising startups. Today, the landscape of corporate venturing includes internal venturing programs such as corporate accelerators, incubators and innovation labs.
Although venturing has become a popular and important tool for corporate innovation and growth, research shows most programs fail to add value and are quickly and quietly shuttered.
Venturing programs regularly fail because they’re poorly designed. They often suffer from poor alignment and cultural conflicts with other organizational units, insufficient commitment of financial resources and top management support, unclear and changing objectives, inappropriate performance metrics and incentives, and weak processes for sourcing, selecting, developing, scaling and exiting new ventures.
Drawing on his extensive experience researching, teaching and consulting on corporate venturing, Corey has developed an organizational design approach that helps clients avoid the pitfalls of venturing and realize their innovation and growth objectives.
Given the variety of venturing approaches possible, companies need to know which tool to use when, and how. Corey works with client organizations to develop a corporate venturing strategy and organization that fits the company, its competitive environment and its growth and innovation aspirations. He does this by posing a series of important design questions concerning the tasks the venturing program will perform, the competencies venturing personnel will need, and the formal organizational structure (including decision rights, performance metrics, rewards, processes and reporting relationships) and culture necessary to organize and coordinate the tasks and people to achieve the program’s objectives. These questions include:
- What role should corporate venturing play in realizing the company’s growth objectives?
- What objectives should the venturing program pursue?
- Which venturing approach (incubator, accelerator, innovation lab, corporate venture capital unit) should be used?
Venturing Organization Design
- Where, geographically and organizationally, will the program be located?
- To whom will the program report?
- How much financial capital will be needed for the program, where will it come from and how will it be allocated to the venturing program?
- What resources, beyond financial capital, will the unit need?
- How will the performance of the program be measured?
- What company resources not controlled by the program will it need to use and how will it effectively access these resources?
- What resources outside of the company (e.g., co-investments) will the program need and how will it access them?
- How should the venturing program be aligned and integrated with other innovation vehicles, including R&D, M&A and strategic alliances?
Venturing Program Operations
- What expertise is needed and from where will it be sourced (within or beyond company)?
- How will the performance of venture program personnel be measured and rewarded?
- What cultural values will the unit need to motivate and coordinate the activities of its people?
- How much autonomy will the venturing program need?
- Where will the flow of ideas/ventures come from?
- What process will be used to evaluate and fund ideas/ventures?
- Who will make investment decisions?
- How, by whom and how frequently will venture performance be evaluated?
- How and by whom will decisions be made to harvest ventures (e.g., shut down, spin-in or off, scale up?)
Answering these questions will help your organization overcome the pitfalls of venturing and shape a winning strategy for success.
Corey supports clients across the range of corporate venturing issues – from identifying the rationale for the program, its purpose and the best vehicle to pursue it, to designing the venturing organization, launching operating it.
Corey has orchestrated and led dozens of workshops on the design of corporate venturing programs as part of consulting engagements and executive development programs for client organizations from around the world.
Leadership development is one of the most pressing issues facing organizations today.
The need for leadership development has never been more important. For organizations to succeed in today’s dynamic and uncertain environments, they need a new breed of leaders, with skills and organizational capabilities different from those that helped them succeed in the past.
Effective leadership development has been shown to help attract and retain talent, drive strategy execution, increase an organization’s ability to navigate change and improve financial performance.
Despite its strategic importance, research shows that more than half of senior leaders believe their talent development efforts don’t adequately build the critical leadership skills and organizational capabilities they need.
Leadership development programs often suffer from a design gap, where the competencies developed are not the critical competencies the organization needs, and a transfer gap, where programs are overly reliant on classroom learning and provide insufficient opportunities for applying what is learned to the workplace.
Building on his extensive experience in designing, directing and delivering executive development programs and research into adult learning and design thinking, Corey has developed a five-stage approach to creating leadership development programs that overcomes the design and transfer gaps common to many programs.
Corey has designed and directed dozens of customized, multi-module and multi-cohort leadership development programs for participants ranging from high potentials to C-suite executives. He has worked with organizations ranging in size from hundreds to over a hundred thousand employees. Clients include Cogeco, King Faisal Hospital and Research Center, Moment Factory, PixMob, PSP Investments, Societe Generale, TELUS, and WSP. He led the HEC Paris-Atos GOLD Talent Development Program, which received the EFMD Excellence in Practice Award for best custom talent development program.