In today’s fast-paced global business environment, the ability to possess fact-based strategic foresight, deliver systematic exploration of new growth opportunities and to institutionalise a continuous drive to improve internal business practices is more important than ever. Many companies have responded to the new clock speed challenge, and we have witnessed the emergence of a new corporate support function labelled “business development”.
Business development has become a way for top management to dedicate a permanent team of capable professionals to explore new growth and diversification opportunities and deliver accelerated development of their existing business.
A recent sample of the top-500 companies in Scandinavia shows that more than 65% have invested or plan to invest in building in-house business development capabilities. Businesses all over the world hire talented people to occupy positions with a short reporting route to the top management and close proximity to the strategic management of the company. Typically, these are highly capable people with a successful track record from management consulting or other professional services. They are asked to take charge of or participate in some of the most important strategic initiatives and apply their analytical rigour, strong personalities and execution power to deliver lasting improvements to overall business performance.
Our interest in the field of business development stems from our work as counsellors on overall business performance for some of the most successful companies in Scandinavia. They all struggle with finding the formula for strengthening their strategic agility and internalise the strategy management and execution processes to accelerate the speed by which the company generates returns to its shareholders.