MATTHEW HARPELL, MBA
OWNER | CONSULTANT | BUSINESS MODEL STRATEGIST
QUICK FACTS: MBA, BComm, 13 years global, senior leadership
EXPERTISE: strategy development, value proposition/creation, marketing strategy, business model innovation, sales process design, B2B relationship management, finance, business writing, presentation coaching & development, general business counselling.
WHY STRATEGY, BUSINESS MODELS & PLANS?
I’ve never been very good at accepting things at face-value. It’s not, necessarily, because I don’t trust face-value but, mostly, because I have this insatiable need to understand how the face-value came to be.
From a young age, I was very rarely able to take fact as fact without first conducting my own thorough analysis and rendering my own conclusions—then and only then would something sufficiently pass as fact (my family will attest to this, sometimes, irritating characteristic). In high school, teachers called me a ‘deep thinker’. In undergrad, my keen desire to explain the ‘how’ and ‘why’ drove me toward marketing strategy. As a rookie banker, I was drawn to investments—so many products, solutions, configurations, market dynamics, trending variables, etc. Architecting strategies for clients and explaining the concept of value (at least, in financial terms) was gratifying. Then, something tweaked.
I knew I liked strategy but I became disheartened by ‘cookie-cutter’ solutions and the ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach. I didn’t buy-in to the face-value. So I got an MBA and pursued strategy to find out if, indeed, my constant face-value naysaying was worth pursuing.
It turns out, it was. For the next 8 years of my life, I worked in a role which demanded that I question face value—that I be a naysayer, a devil’s advocate. I was responsible for combing through business models and facilitating sessions in search of new and innovative ways to create and articulate value.
Then the market collapsed. Strategy and creating value became extremely hard. The importance of growth was replaced with transparency and the concept of unsaddled prosperity was usurped by frugality. The tone of value had changed, overnight.
From this moment forward, I understood all too clearly, how quickly people can change their definition of value. I learned that to create true value, companies must surrender tradition and embrace innovation—which can only be accomplished by having a living, breathing strategy centred on a timeless, adaptable value proposition. Welcome to my wheel-house.
We live in a world where what is valued today, may not be valued tomorrow. How do you create value in such a place? How can you build a sustainable strategy in such capricious times?
I may never accept face-value. I may never settle with tradition but I will always question the future. For my clients, that’s a really good thing!