Have you experienced “Leader Loneliness Syndrome”?
It refers to that moment, sometimes upon waking up and often at the end of a long day of meetings when a founder or a CMO realizes the complexity and quantity of work that needs to be done to achieve their goals.
Imagine, you’re focused on delivering short-term business performance while monitoring the activities from your direct competitors. You also have to find a way to integrate new customer behaviors into your product innovation strategy, all while leading your team with vision and empathy (from a social distance, of course, remember COVID-19!). Throw in carving out time to prepare the digital acceleration plan that you’re presenting to the board in a week and, Oh! By the way, your CEO messages you expecting your take on the hottest trends of the moment (e.g. Clubhouse or NFT) … Does this scenario ring a bell?
No exaggeration. This is the current reality of all leaders, and I speak of this from my first-hand experience in C-Suite roles for fast growing companies and large international organizations.
Juggling this set of challenges is what led me to create StratNXT – the desire to help brands define differentiating digital and business strategies, while supporting the strategists who conceived them. My ambition is clear: with StratNXT, I wanted to create the strategic accelerator I dreamt of having by my side throughout my C-Suite career to help current leaders (i.e. my former peers) to overcome their challenges, whether digital or business growth-related.
Indeed, I have had the opportunity to build my career through expert operational roles, such as the one at Voyages-sncf.com (a major e-commerce organization in Europe); and then in my C-Suite positions within multinational corporations, such as Club Med; or in fast-growing organizations, such as Tough Mudder and Formula E. It’s because of this experience that I am convinced that nothing can ever replace “real-world” experience (with its fair share of successes and failures) to come up with pragmatic and effective solutions that allow brand leaders to overcome the key challenges facing them.
The core of StratNXT is this fundamental combination of skills: provide know-how and vision to build strategic recommendations, strong expertise on digital issues and growth strategy definition, AS WELL AS an undeniable operational experience to accelerate an effective implementation.
Strategy at the service of operational reality; that is the StratNXT DNA. Whether it is to support the launch of a brand into a new market, assessing the digital marketing maturity of an organization, turning digital data into actionable insights and recommendations for a VC, or to define a 3-year strategic plan for a C-Suite leader; the legitimacy of StratNXT doesn’t lie solely in the fact that we know how to “help businesses” to overcome these challenges. It also comes from the fact that I have already done it myself for many years as a CMO by facing the same questions and uncertainties that you are facing now. As the saying goes, “Talk the talk, walk the walk.”
These 20 years of experience in the “real world” of business have also taught me the importance of creating actionable strategies; and in fact, I’ve always led teams under one mantra: “a vision without execution is just a hallucination”. As of now, my focus is to bring that mentality into consulting through StratNXT; being a project accelerator to help brands stand out from their competitors and acts as a “sparring partner” for leaders helping them with pragmatic approaches from strategy definition to performing execution.
Evidently, the first contribution of StratNXT is, and always will be, to make a positive impact on the business KPIs associated with each of our projects. However, I truly believe in our second major role: working together with founders, CMO or department leaders while they face these moments of “Leader Loneliness”. The natural expertise of StratNXT is to design digital and business strategies, but it is also fundamental to me that we can bring added value as a “daily simplifier” for the leaders who come up with these strategies.
Therefore, our ambition is to be a double-positive accelerator: to provide clarity to a founder on the strategic maturity of their organization, as well as to define a dedicated operational plan to optimize customer acquisition cost. To know how to remove stress for C-Suite leaders by taking over complex projects, as well as provide actionable customer insights to differentiate themselves from their direct competitors. To save an investment fund time by delivering an actionable digital due diligence, and at the same time support one of their startups by designing their launch strategy in a new market.
It is with this philosophy that I am as proud to hear a founder tell me that our launch plan in the US was a success as when a Chief Digital Officer simply says to me, “I sleep a little better since we began working on this project together.” These examples are strong indicators of the positive impact StratNXT brings to business performance and, in both cases, I consider that we are fully delivering our ambition: to define differentiating digital and business strategies for organizations, while supporting the strategists who conceive them.
Jérôme HIQUET, founder of StratNXT and former CMO of Formula E, Tough Mudder and Club Med North America.