Distilling business opportunities into crisp, clear, results-driven strategies

March 27, 2017 Katy Roberts

Why work with Stephen? 30 second CV:

  • Your industry is Enterprise Software, Luxury Goods, Retailing and Distribution, Marketing
  • You need expertise in Sales or Operations Leadership, CRM and ERP process development, business process analysis
  • You need a highly experienced marketer

Stephen Sloan

Strategic ambiguity causes managers serious stress. In fact, according to Deloitte’s  CFO Signals Survey, 35% of CFOs named strategic ambiguity as one of their top-three career stresses.  Turning business ambiguity into actionable clarity is what Talmix independent consultant, Stephen, does so well. 

We spoke with Stephen about his approach to creating value for businesses and their leaders. 

Stephen has always been interested in understanding the intricacies of leadership. As the young owner of small businesses, Stephen sought to understand how businesses create value for customers, staff and other stakeholders. He quickly learned how effective leadership can turn complexity into a clear, achievable strategy.

“After working in my own small businesses for over 10 years, I joined Harry and David, America’s premier choice for gourmet gifts, in 2010 as a distribution planning analyst. No sooner had I joined than I realised that everything I’d learned from working in small business was even more valuable in a larger business. In larger organisations, with so much more complexity around every process and decision it is easier for leadership to lose sight of the fundamentals of creating value for customers and team members”, he explained.  

It was clear that Harry & David appreciated Stephen’s insights and leadership approach because they quickly promoted him to leading the Business Gift division which accounted for 25% of the company’s revenue.  Following Harry & David, Stephen had the opportunity to consult for leading global firms like Digital Bridge Partners, SAP and TechData.

Stephen brings this same clarity and credibility to delivering consulting projects today. 

Removing noise to uncover clear strategic signals

“Consultants often rely on the latest theory, rapid analysis and programmatic interpretation. But business, if you really distil it to its essence, is simply a group of human beings who got together to create something good. The business makes promises to customers, partners and team members (sales and marketing) and then works intensively to keep those promises (operations).  

Unfortunately, businesses often take their eyes off the real value they’re trying to deliver, it’s natural given complexity, pace and competing priorities within successful organisations.  

A lot of the strategic work delivered by independent consultants aims to remove the noise that distracts leaders from that core process of making and keeping promises”.   

And that’s exactly where Stephen’s true value lies, in his ability to help leaders listen to and think more clearly about their external and internal customers.

Rule-breakers, movers and shakers

“Within all organisations, there is a complex web of social rules. Consultants are often free to bend these rules. We are like x rays; we can travel through normally opaque structures. As we traverse an organisation, we also bring extensive experience, expertise and skill to our work to clarify, focus, and build a winning strategy. The true art of what we do as consultants comes in being able to take all the input that we’ve gathered across the organisation and transform that into something that really works”.   

Stephen’s approach to consulting is to deeply understand the opportunity and to work with the client to identify potential solutions. He removes ambiguity through research and analysis while also searching for the fresh mental models that generate valuable insights. Those insights are refined and developed into action plans to deliver the desired results.  

Stephen is a hands-on, practical consultant who is driven to add capacity and capability to the leadership teams he supports.  

Stephen’s extensive experience allows him to bridge two key business functions: the promises made by sales & marketing and the delivery of those promises by operational teams.  He’s successfully applied this approach in startups, leading consulting firms and some of the world’s largest software, OEM and IT distribution businesses.

With his experience, skills, approach, and clear, humane leadership style, Stephen delivers exactly what his clients need, and more. 

For an opportunity to work with Stephen, get in touch with the Talmix team today. 

About the Author

Katy Roberts

Katy is an independent marketing consultant and founded Fresh Brew Marketing out of her love for the cuppa. A seasoned marketer, Katy writes for several global publications and provides outsourced marketing services to businesses throughout the UK. She is a keen geocacher and rates running around in city centres dressed in Christmas lights as one of her most successful Social Media campaigns to date.

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