Sandy Richardson Bio

Why I started Collaborative Strategy

I started Collaborative Strategy after experiencing firsthand how a truly collaborative approach produces better results.

I believe in the cause of collaboration so much, I built my career around it.

Early in my career, I was an allied health professional – a kinesiologist in a clinic.  I was on the receiving end of many ambiguous strategic plans.   Far too often, my colleagues and I lacked a clear understanding of what we needed to do for our clients and how to do it.

Why did so many smart people end up with such a lack of direction?

There were three primary reasons that our organization lacked focus:

  1. Executives rarely clarified the organization’s business goals and objectives beyond vague statements and we never defined our customer value proposition.
  2. Because everyone had conflicting ideas about how we delivered value, our decisions and actions were rarely aligned.
  3. Our strategic planning process lacked input from people throughout the organization. Our business model and strategies weren’t in touch with real customer needs and employee insights so they lacked employee buy-in.

Although we helped a lot of people get their health back on track, we never tapped our true potential.

There was a silver lining to the frustration: I discovered my true passion and made a career leap into strategy. 

I leveraged my knowledge and experience into strategy positions – first with a large Canadian insurance company and then with a Canadian-based gold mining firm. In both companies, my work in strategic planning helped me develop a deep understanding of the traditional, top-down approach to strategy development.

We tried some innovative approaches and achieved some good business results.  But none of our plans clearly connected the dots between the strategic goals of the organization and the day-to day realities of the people working in it.

I asked myself:  how much potential was unfulfilled in these organizations?  I knew the opportunity for improvement was significant.

A start up mindset for organizations facing a changing business environment.

My work with entrepreneurial companies and start ups gave me insights into innovative business models and more dynamic approaches to strategy execution and improvement. The key to their success is learning and changing pro-actively to keep relevant to their customers and stay ahead of the crowd. Collaboration is a key driver of their success.

What if established enterprises could combine the agile principles of entrepreneurial companies with collaboration in their approach to strategy? I was certain that these innovations would offer companies the best chance of sustainable business performance and positive fiscal results in a rapidly changing business environment.

I decided to prove it.

Creating more sustainable organizations in an era of disruption.

Since 2001, I have worked with many companies and organizations to get business leaders, managers, and front line staff working together, applying contemporary approaches, to create business models and strategies that everyone can get behind. Together, we have shown that a more agile and collaborative approach to strategy really does accelerate the achievement of better business results and outcomes.

Collaborative strategy in action provides your company with the most direct path to long-term success. Your customers and stakeholders are relying on you to get it right.

A sustainable future for your organization is critically important – I am committed to helping you get there.