Katherine SmallScott Small


A family-owned, business-to-consumer (B2C) company was going through a transition in leadership.  The company was not operating with the guidance of a strategic plan, and the incoming president thought this would be an opportune time to develop a new strategic plan.  A planning process also was an ideal way to begin to change the culture of the organization to make decision making more inclusive and collaborative at the management team level.


The client engaged Warren Whitney’s Katherine Whitney and Scott Warren to work as a team through this process.  While Katherine drove the strategic planning process, Scott conducted a financial analysis of the various business entities which were held within the corporation.

Over a period of nine months, Katherine helped the client create a sound strategic plan using the following approach.  Katherine:

  • Surveyed all employees, giving everyone the opportunity to voice their opinion on the company’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT analysis).
  • Conducted one-on-one interviews with managers to get their views on the company’s SWOTs.
  • Led three planning sessions plus small group work sessions for each goal.
    • The first session was dedicated to discussing the mission, vision, and core values of the company.
    • The second session was dedicated to identifying company goals to be achieved within the next five years.
    • Managers were organized into small workgroups based on their knowledge or responsibility for a certain goal.  Then, these small workgroups determined which steps needed to be taken to reach their assigned goals.
    • During the third session, Katherine pulled all of the information together and met with company leaders to finalize the strategic plan.

In addition to creating a guiding vision and operating plan for the company, the process helped many members of the management team become stronger, more engaged managers.


The new strategic plan gave the company president great direction as he stepped into his new role. Several years into the plan, the company has made substantial changes in operations, including closing its least profitable business units and opening another business entity.