Testimonials

Fergus Byrne

STRATEGY

“Our clients were demanding more from us and we realized that we could no longer practice our consulting services in the same way we had been doing. We needed to coordinate our services along industry-specific business lines. However, our industry expertise was not deep enough. We hired AFA to help us to articulate the trends and challenges facing industries in a credible way and we were able to establish ourselves as thought leaders. This enabled us to gain entry into boardrooms and to use a view of the future to drive recognition of a need for change.”

ALIGNMENT

“We were able to align the way we practiced our consulting services among all our consultants, through an intellectual framework for developing industry expertise. Using this futures methodology, we had a commonality for understanding our purpose. We did this by creating an in-house university where annually we would bring together our consultants for a week of hard work (and fun too) and take them through this intellectual framework. It allowed us to share a deeper level of knowledge and understanding of the industry. Even though our consultants were spread around the globe, this annual event forged a strong network of people. To this day, they stay in contact via LinkedIn groups.”

Fergus Byrne is the Former Global Industry Leader with PwC Consulting

Steve Williams, M.D., Ph.D.

STRATEGY

“While the strategic business options seemed fairly straightforward, there were many unknowns. The complexities of these unknowns bubbled to the surface during the game. We were able to test out the nature of these complexities to reveal what each option would be like and to figure out which would be most successful. This process showed us that forming strategic alliances would be more successful than buying a company.”

ALIGNMENT

“Most importantly, the business simulation was not just a game – it was a way of learning about human relationships, human interactions. It was an opportunity to test out cultural matches between our company and potential business partners. This allowed us to learn what it would be truly like to work with these partners and to learn which of them matched our company culture. The nature of these interactions was important because it revealed where there was trust between the partners and us.”

INVESTMENT 

“The game prevented us from making a large investment that most likely would have been futile. We would have ended up divesting from it within a few years. Instead of buying a company, we formed strategic alliances.”

VALUE

“We already had one of the big consulting firms working on this problem for us… We got more value from the work AFA did for us than from the big consulting firm. The real value was that by engaging in the game we knew that forming alliances was really right. It enabled us to feel comfortable with this strategy and to resist pressure to acquire something. This turned out to be absolutely right for our company.”

Steve Williams, M.D., Ph.D. is the former V.P. of Clinical Technology with Pfizer

Jim McGrane

INVESTMENT

“We sold our business unit exactly at the right time for the maximum value. We learned that in this environment [electronic publishing], most of the impact came from significant investment which many companies didn’t want to do. Futures helped us understand that to be successful, to compete, the business fundamentally needed to add more value. That was a huge capital investment we were not prepared to make. We were proactive and sold the unit instead of being reactive and waiting for the market to tell us.”

Jim McGrane is the former Senior Director of Strategy with a large forest products company

Bob Merold

VISION

“The AFA work started with the need to figure out where the company was going. AFA helped us see the grander purpose, how our work fit into something greater. This allowed us to talk to a lot of people in a way that was engaging enough that we could align what we would do with a much grander benefit.”

STRATEGY

“At a seminal meeting with the corporate executives we put forward an opportunity that would be really big. That exercise allowed the company to get started on what is now [19 years later] the most important asset that the company has. We started several lines of business based on the understanding from AFA. One byproduct from our understanding of the drivers of change is that we could step out as a thought leader.  We were so far sighted as a direct result of the AFA engagement that we were featured in a front page New York Times article on big data in health care on August 8, 1994.  We saw this was right back then and it is still right today. We understood that and could take action on it. We gained acknowledgement as thought leaders and recognition from other leaders that gave us new customers and partners.”

ALIGNMENT

“We had a disjointed management team that could not align on common business ground. The vision started with senior management but ultimately spread through the entire company. Everybody had confidence that we knew how to succeed, knowing what each person was doing and how it contributed to success. We had unity and consistent messages. Everyone in the organization had a common purpose within a year. It turned the company into a high performance company.”

VALUE

“In addition to the new vision AFA helps you forge there is a substantial benefit to the organization. AFA understands people from so few data points – more than we mere mortals do. It’s about dealing with people where they are and talking with them at their level. People come away with a new understanding of their strengths and weaknesses.  Our CEO, who had operational experience but not a background in strategy or visioning, came out of the initial meeting with AFA and said: “I felt like I went to church and got religion.” He was never the same after.  He had gained an ability to see the way forward through the chaos. The value is everlasting once you learn the insights. A number of people from that team went on to leverage their understanding to make large impacts on health care.”

Bob Merold is the former Senior VP with IMS Health

Ana Maria Zaugg

VISION

“AFA created a vision that was powerful enough that everybody bought into it one way or another. It satisfied people with diverging views. The vision statement spoke to the whole company, not just to a small group of top executives in a room. What strikes me is how important it became to the company as a whole and how it aligned people. Everyone could recite the leadline, “a leader and essential partner in the advancement of health.” This is where I became a “believer.” Employees were invested only if their work was about advancing health.”

VALUE

“The scenarios created a sense of urgency. We were a leading market player, we could have coasted along. The scenarios helped us realize the changes we were likely to face. They created the sense of the need for change. The scenarios gave us the confidence to be more proactive.”

Ana Maria Zaugg is the former VP Strategic Business Planning with IMS Health