NOVEMBER 2018 / NO. 2

Are you doing your AAR’s?

In 2016 we created in a Fortune Top-50 company the position of ‘Vice President of Future Disasters’ dealing with potential threats, risks, imagination which all might have a potential impact on the company.

— Joseph H.A.M. Rodenberg

In 2018 we created in a multinational company in the Far East the position of ‘Head of AARs’, with the aim to create the alert and intelligent organization. Since the 1970s, AARs are common practice at the Pentagon and some companies adapted this ‘phenomenon’.

— Joseph H.A.M. Rodenberg
Since the mid-1980s we are active in the implementation processes of strategic intelligence as well as with our international master class at numerous companies across the world. Combined with our publications of six books on strategic intelligence since the year 2000 and the execution of over 75 International Master Classes, we are proud to be recognized as one of the premier strategy & strategic intelligence firms in Europe. The creation of new positions nearby the boardroom such as ‘Vice President of Future Disasters’, ‘Head of AARs’, SEALS Teams and ‘Corporate Radar Rooms’ are for us the so-called “icings on the cake”.

What are AARs?

AARs originates from the Vietnam war in the 1960-1970s and are ‘After Action Reviews’. With successes or failures on decision making, you can ask yourself always Four Key Questions:
  1. What was suppose to happen with our decision?
  2. What actually happened with the decision taken?
  3. What were the differences and WHY?
  4. What can we learn from it?
Question number 3 is the most important one, because it gives the answers WHY the decision has been a success or a failure. There are companies across the world which use AARs continuously and have created 100 – 150 AARs on strategic decisions related to customers, markets, technology, competition/suppliers/contractors, purchasing and beyond. In addition, these AARs are easy accessible in the company’s strategic intelligence portal / platform.

Loss of Competitiveness

Sooner or later every company, big or small, faces a loss of competitiveness. Just think of leading companies in the fast moving consumer sector such as Nestle, Unilever, Danone, P&G, FrieslandCampina and so many more. Think of GE, IKEA, Dutch Accell-Group, Philips and Siemens.
  • GE: For decades GE has been one of the most admired companies. Since 2014 GE lost its competitiveness with the wrong strategic decisions and the dramatic acquisitions of Baker Hughes and French Alstom.
  • IKEA: IKEA has missed the megatrend of e-commerce. Till 2021 IKEA needs to prepare the company for on-line, service and other formats. This change of the strategic direction implies lay-offs of 7.500 people and the hiring of 11.500 new people.
  • Accell-Group: Dutch manufacturer of bikes has lost market share from 42% in 2015 to 24% in 2018, because it was not able to meet the dynamic changes in their markets. In November 2018 competitor Pon Bike acquired a 20% stake in Accell-Group. In October 2015, we gave a presentation on strategic competitive intelligence to the Board and the full International Management Team. The Management Team wanted to proceed with competitive intelligence, however the Board didn’t want to ……..
  • Siemens and Philips: Philips and Siemens Healthineers are direct competitors at the market for medical technology. Philips claims to have strengthened their competitive position, however, CEO Bernd Montag of Siemens doesn’t believe this: “We have gained market share and it’s significant”.

“Small changes appear one-by-one. Most managers ignore them. Managers fail to believe they will affect them. At the end management is surprised because competitors outpaced them”

— Joseph H.A.M. Rodenberg

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