NOTES FROM STRATEGY TOOLS MASTER TRAINER 2022
In September 2022, 13 people from across the globe converged in Stavanger, Norway for an intense week at the Strategy Tools Master Trainer program.
In five days, they deep-dived into the Strategy Tools portfolio with Strategy Tools founder Christian Rangen. The Master Trainers traversed through three strategy simulations, solving strategy cases and learning from the depth of experience from one another.
STRATEGY TOOLS MASTER TRAINER
5 DAYS OF INTENSE LEARNING BY DOING
Participants accepted into the Master Trainer program are extremely qualified and already come equipped years of relevant experience to accelerate meaningful learning for the selected group.
This program had been designed for people that run almost daily sessions, engagements, workshops or lead large-scale strategy and change management initiatives.
In this cohort, we were joined by startup ecosystem drivers, circular economy experts, award-winning serial entrepreneurs, AI & business strategists and many more.
They invested time in the Master Trainer program to gain a much deeper understanding around new business tools, unlock the power of the Strategy Tools’ portfolio and ultimately grow their business and brand to achieve long-term success.
FROM THE FEEDBACK FORM
of Master Trainer graduates would recommend the program to others
were three of the most common words used to describe the program
of Master Trainer participants were satisfied with the program design and content
DAILY NOTES FROM MASTER TRAINER 2022
memos FROM THE GROUND
Key takeaways and thoughts of the week from five Master Trainers from the 2022 cohort.
Now, you might be tempted to think this is a typical office with ordinary people. Well, you’re wrong. There is nothing typical or ordinary about this place. It is unique and eclectic, and it has the right atmosphere to allow visitors to share and open their minds. And so we did.
13 participants from all over the globe presented themselves and their experiences, along with their expectations from the week ahead.
Chris took charge, and the next two hours were all about concise messaging, and how to utilize ‘half of the words’. Facilitating is all about sharp messaging and storytelling while controlling the rhythm. Then, we were divided into 3 teams to deal with industry shifts that led Adobe to acquire Figma for a $20Bn deal. After a 20-min team discussion, each group presented their insights and got feedback.
This was only a teaser to what was waiting for us in the next session: framing a corporate transformation strategy. This time, it was a Disney case study and its transformational journey.
We ate lunch, drank light beverages, and freshened up – before we headed to Equinor’s headquarters in Stavanger, to meet the brilliant Kristian Ebbesen Fjelde, Head of Corporate Strategy at Equinor.
We had a rare chance to get a sneak peek into one of the world’s leading energy companies transforming itself into a Carbon Net Zero company. We talked about challenges and beliefs, Core & Explore business models with the balances between each other, and we also had the chance to experience a unique facilitation drill, created by Kristian, focused on group decision-making & listening. Now someone would think it was enough for one day, but not in this kingdom. It took us about 40 minutes to get back into the office and run a two-hr session on the Corporate Venture Capital strategy session.
The teams, some of which had never dealt with CVC structuring before, were presenting to a special guest – Per Arne Jensen, Operating Partner @ EV Private Equity & Member of the Board of Nysnø Klimainvesteringer, who managed & judged our performance and later on spoke about the importance of CVC strategy in a corporate innovation strategy. Was it the end of Day1? Well, depends.
Officially it was over, but we were assigned to present our thoughts on the strategic challenges of the Samsung Electronics case (2022) and to outline our recommendations the next day.
Some teams decided to stay at the studio while others were heading toward the best Indian restaurant in town, to prepare the assignment while eating the delicious Railway Lamb Curry dish. Nothing like a good social meal to call off the day.
Wow, what a blasting start for the week.
Solution Design & Sales
We then moved on to the design process when working with clients – always starting by identifying the strategic challenges and needs of your client and echoing back on them. We learned how and when to bring strategy tools into the sales process and how we can co-create a solution together with the client.
Speaking with Clients
How we spoke to clients and pose questions were also incredibly important – and we spent some time on this. We delved into the different statement types we could use to different outcomes – closed vs open, future, present, past.
1. Where do you see yourself in 10 years? Future Looking ahead
2. What has been your biggest failure? Past Reflecting
3. What is your budget? Present Currently
We also looked at typical exec coaching / facilitation techniques used to understand client needs and position strategy facilitation mandate and engagement.
Transform! Strategy & Transformation Simulation
Later in the afternoon, we jumped into Transform! Greg was put in the hot seat to facilitate the session – controlling the overall flow of learning and experience. We were split into teams ot take on the role of a management team designing a transformation strategy for the company.
It was great fun and competitiveness between the teams were quickly established. The simulation flowed well, the design enabled group work and presentations to deeper learning about the transformation process.
Boat Trip to Norway’s Tropical Island
Right after Transform!, we slipped on our jackets and sunglasses and took a ride across the fjord to Flor og Fjære, a breathtaking collection of tropical gardens on the island of Sør-Hidle outside of Stavanger, Norway. We mingled and got to know the group better throughout the evening as we dined – and were also given Coaching Cards to work on during dessert.
After the morning of advising scale-ups, we proceeded to the Scale Up! Entrepreneurship Simulator – with Nir as our facilitator. We then spent the entire afternoon trying to secure investors, make strategic decisions and bring the company to exit.
The vocabulary of the day:
– Control: Know the second step when you start the first one.
– Probing questions: Bring the group or clients to do the work
– Investors perspective: Ask for the investors – not for the company
– Transparency: Don’t work with a hidden agenda – but be able to work in different directions
– Tough: Challenge the group or client
– Analytical: Work on the different
– Honest: The work has to be done.
– Metrics: Not product presentations
– Simulation: The simulation is one way to bring the group or client to work with the canvasses.
– Competition: There is a competition among investors for good start ups. Doing the homework brings the group or client in the position of choosing the best offer.
– Lean in: Well, you don’t have to have bruises afterwards. But it’s ok when it feels like this
ð We are different.
The tools of the day:
– Scale up map with canvasses
– ScaleUp! Simulation*
ð We are able to determine the level and the time frame for our group or client
The obstacles or tripping hazards of the day:
– Cap Table: Be sure, you master your math!
– Ecosystem: Heads up and master the complexity
– Real Life: Pivots, burning cash and other casualties are just real life.
– Flexibility: To facilitate a simulation means to lean in and challenge. But still let the group or client make progress.
ð We see the group and the complexity of the road of funding.
explaining the difference between the two and what types of clusters exist.
Apparently Belgium has quite a developed landscape of clusters, to my surprise, so some
investigation from my part will happen, starting next week.
During another working lunch we enjoyed a presentation of the Norwegian Offshore Wind cluster,
the largest offshore wind representative body in Norway with over 370 members. Tor Arne Johnsen
spoke with passion and a lot of questions were asked, highlighting the enthusiasm of the group as
The importance of the network became very clear. Together it’s easier to reach targets, goals, etc.
After a break and some much needed fresh air outside of the Innovation Dock…
… we started on our third simulation, this time Fund Manager!
I enjoyed this one the most, probably because for once I didn’t had to do the math.
Kudos to our Investment Managers who were sweating behind their laptops and their Excel files to get everything right.
We also need to highlight the exceptional job Pex, Wan and Nir did on the facilitation side. Pex was
running it like he had been doing it his whole life, Wan looked like he knew everything there is to
know about investment funds and Nir just ruled the table. No B.S., only value.
Halfway through the session, the managing directors had an offsite with Christian and got a clear
message… “you’re not doing what you’re supposed to be doing. Think more strategically.”
Back at the table we started to negotiate and make deals between the teams. All the while trying to keep an eye on what was happening with the dice. Quick decisions, high pressure, time flew by…
As always there was a fierce competition between the three teams. Team ‘Clean Tech’ was the
overall winner of this simulation which we all celebrated. Side note: they were the only team – to my
recollection – that didn’t have to skip rounds. No excuses though, they did a great job!
Slightly exhausted we enjoyed a well‐deserved late dinner and a cool beer afterwards.
Notes by Glenn Tjon
Bringing it all together.
After four days of intensive work and further developing our mastery through planers sessions, simulations, group assignments, and external keynote speakers, it was time to bring it all together.
As usual, each day starts with a 30-minute reflection of the previous day(s). Then, the group has a chance to exchange learnings, ideas, and takeaways.
The final day consisted of two main components: Solution Design and Busines Development.
It was time for Christian to share his creative thinking on combining the various assets of Strategy Tools to create value for our clients. The challenge for most practitioners is not to focus on the tools and not to overwhelm the client but to understand and validate the client’s need, bring those assets that will enhance the experience, and always focus on the bigger picture.
Together with Christian, we designed a three-day accelerator program to help mentors, advisors, and founders enhance their scale-up and funding skills. The program uses the newly designed Starship Canvas as the foundation to project growth and critical milestones. Key takeaways: the daily reflection and increase the complexity as you progress.
Next, it was time to develop an 18-months Corporate Transformation Program. In this case, as a trusted advisor, you are tasked to guide the executive management, board, and strategy team through an initial phase of a long-term transformation program. Again, Christian used multiple techniques such as 1:1 mentoring, plenary sessions, group assignments, and feedback sessions. At a later stage, you could bring in a three-day off-site Transform! simulation. This session will enable you to test, teach and enhance corporate transformation through immersive experience-based learning.
We closed the day focusing on Business Development. Chris used an opportunity of Pex Parra to show the thinking process and usage of two new canvases. Combining the canvases helps you further understand the challenges and opportunities, design the right solutions, and create long-term value for the client. After this introduction, each group had to map out a specific client opportunity and discuss this within the group. The importance of having these group assignments enhances your mastery but also enables you to obtain valuable feedback and advice.
Master Trainer 2: It’s a wrap. Five days of intensive, in-depth, and fun interaction covering the four dimensions of Strategy Tools. The days finished with some of us returning to our homes or our next destination: parting ways but building lasting bridges. Simply one of the best investments I have made.
bonus day 6
Because everyone enjoyed the time together so much – a few of us joined Chris to Pulpit Rock – a famous hike about 1.5hr from Stavanger.
It was a day of breathtakingly beautiful Norwegian nature and wonderful team camaraderie – a great end to the Master Trainer week!
CONNECT WITH 2022’S COHORT OF STRATEGY TOOLS MASTER TRAINERS
Innovation Strategist & Scale Up Coach
30 years of experience in consulting, top leadership roles, 10-year Partner at KPMG
Panama City, Panama
AI & Business Strategist, Advisor and Board Director
Experienced leader and business advisor with strong business acumen across industries
Business Strategy Facilitator, Strategic Thinking Catalyst
Delivering independent strategy & marketing consultancy with the main focus on the formulation of business and brand strategies.
Wan Fadzil Wan Sidik
Director, Lead Facilitator
Agile coach, Lego Serious play facilitator and a change practitioner
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Scale Up expert. 15+ years of experience in advising B2Bs, B2Cs, Ventures & others
Tel Aviv, Israel
Strategic Financial Advisor, Corporate Finance
40+ years of experience across finance, leadership, value creation, boards, teaching.
CEO, Startup Mentor
Experience with strategy & transformation, new business development and commercial excellence, formal project & program management and analytics transformation
Dubai, UAE / Finland
Global Partner Manager, Consultant
Program Manager, Advisor, Coach. Mentor, Guest Lecturer
WHAT THEY SAY
This has been my most valuable and rewarding investment in my personal career development.
BUSINESS & AI STRATEGIST