Bolster helps fast growing client with strategy execution

05 August 2020 3 min. read

Dutch consulting firm Bolster recently helped one of its clients with the development of a new strategy. And more importantly, with getting it executed. sat down with Thomas Beerepoot, partner at Bolster, to understand how the firm supported its client, and how it went about to achieve the results.

Since it was founded in 2008, Bolster’s client had rapidly expanded both in terms of headcount and geographical footprint, according to Beerepoot. However, he added that as with many firms looking to scale quickly, this rapid growth had brought the company to a crossroads, and the two co-founders had some tough strategic decisions to make.

“They had several questions about the direction and future of the company,” Beerepoot told, and while they had a “shared dream for the company and an aligned vision”, the strategies they envisaged for getting there faced some disconnect. Bolster was called in to facilitate the strategy development process, guiding the co-founders and their management teams to a single unified approach.

Founded in 1999, Bolster combines strategy, processes, and mind-set and leadership advisory services in a single, structured approach for clients. In this case, together with the management team, the firm helped develop a strategic vision for the next five years. Alongside the functional parts of this strategy, much attention was given to the human element.

Thomas Beerepoot, Partner, Bolster

“Key was to ensure that everyone’s views were heard, and that there was full belief by the group in the new ‘North Star’. Through a range of interventions, we helped the co-founders get the noses of all managers in the same direction,” said Beerepoot.

Next, the team began work on the strategy execution phase, which is notorious for its challenges. Bolster and the client co-created a step by step approach on how to succeed in this period, breaking the strategic direction up into executable building blocks. To get buy-in from employees meanwhile, a compelling ‘one-pager’ of the company strategy was created, offering management a great elevator pitch to explain the changes to the client’s teams and key stakeholders.

“Our journey started with the two co-founders who on the surface had a shared dream for the company,” Beerepoot continued, “but somewhere under the surface there was a disconnect. We stood together with them and helped them to see the situation as it was. They had the courage to have the real conversation and by looking at the bigger picture together we worked out what was truly needed.”

The next step was to make change happen, including activating the change on the work floor. To this end, Bolster applied its integrated methodology on strategy execution. This is where Bolster’s belief “in an integrated approach,” combining “the hard part of change with the soft one,” came into play. Alongside guiding changes in processes and tooling, a great deal of focus was subsequently given to the culture and values of the client.

In incremental steps, people were guided in adopting the new shared goals and ways of working. The cultural change was reinforced by training sessions and communication tailored to the needs of different stakeholder groups. “This ensured buy-in around the new strategy and enthusiasm during the implementation,” said Beerepoot.

Fast forward to mid-2020, and the first phase of the strategy execution has been completed. On the back of positive engagement throughout the organisation, the momentum is there to continue driving the change programme forward to completion.