When the Journey Matters as Much as the Destination…

By Philippe Carpentier

Whatever your mandate, achieving your objectives is always the ultimate priority. But does that imply that the ends justify the means and anything goes as long as you arrive at your destination? At Brio, we know that the answer to these questions is no, because to us, it’s not just about getting to the finish line – it’s also about how you get there.

Recently, a client asked us to identify and implement an “optimal method” for a rather complex project: combining 17 independent entities into one single organization, without compromising existing operations. We immediately realized that, although the deliverable was the combination of the disparate entities, the process was every bit as important, if not more.

The standard way of taking on a mission like this is to build a strategy with an action plan, and deliver them to the client with a “how-to” guide. The thing is, that’s not how Brio usually works: we see ourselves as facilitators, meaning we stand side by side with our clients and involve them in strategic development and deployment.


The processes that were proposed and adopted were based on active participation and concrete involvement from:

  1. Board members, upper management, business segment leaders and distribution network managers
  2. Employees and partner representatives

This stakeholder involvement was based on the following principles:

  • Reflections stemming from robust and factual analysis, as opposed to perceptions
  • A vision to be developed, according to which each participating group would take other groups into account
  • An ensuing action plan, developed in workshops using a “component by component” approach
  • A disciplined approach to identifying and prioritizing various initiatives, making sure that prerequisites for success are put in place ahead of time, prior to implementation

The Many Benefits of Co-construction

This method always yields spectacular results, because stakeholders never have the solution dictated to them. In fact, it’s quite the opposite: we combine our expertise and come up with the solution together.

In this particular case, this kind of co-construction resulted in the following benefits:

  • Fostering a common understanding of all the challenges the organization was facing
  • Increasing stakeholder cohesion, by getting them to rally around the objective and take ownership of the strategic plan
  • Creating essential alignments between the Board of Directors and upper management
  • Allowing the action plan to be developed based on a common vision, shared by all the organization’s key players

Individual Journey Leading to Collective Alignment

This method is all the more valuable because its benefits keep paying off even after the objectives are reached. Since the winning strategy was built by everyone, with consideration for all players involved, and since they themselves identified the prerequisites for success, each person’s individual vision evolved to create a new collective vision. This is essential in the long term, because it will serve the organization in all its evolution projects.

That’s why we say the journey is just as important as the destination, in terms of fulfilling the stated ambitions – and letting every traveller enjoy the ride.

By Philippe Carpentier



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