Great ideas are not realized until they are implemented and adopted involved with strategic change —from structural to program to personnel—and gaining trust and traction are the two most important elements. DART’s specialty is working as third-party emissaries and facilitators to knit the internal pieces and people together and keep things moving—nationally and internationally. As experts in building and operationalizing strategic business plans, we bring a 360-degree peer perspective that aids C-Suite leaders in creating buy-in activities.
And from the Boardroom to the plant floor our role is simple: help the C-Suite put grease in the moving parts for a positive, win-win outcome. We undo the knots. Or open a new door. Or build a better bridge. Or paint a bigger picture. With national and multi-national experience from all business vantage points, our efforts are tailor made with techniques that range from one-on-one feedback sessions, C-Suite shuttle consensus, employee workshops, senior level retreats, Town Hall meetings and CEO-listening forums to employee surveys, team training and departmental facilitations, brand phase-in and internal external communications rollout. That’s not a list: it’s just experiences and insight.
DART‘s work with Boards in the private and not-for-profit sectors is extensive. We know and understand the needs of directors, trustees, councillors, and other organizational leaders first-hand because we’ve founded, served-on and been Corporate Secretary to dozens. We’ve also helped develop and refine leading edge governance practices, including director recruitment, board education, meeting effectiveness and best practices, information management and decision-making, and board and director performance evaluations.
For the C-Suite Strategic Plan, we examine the IMS Governance model and to help streamline the structure and make its deliberations more relevant to participants. Aside from the structural review, we help board participants foster trust and confidence in the sharing of power and authority between boards and those to whom they give oversight. We help boards to deliver on their accountabilities to promote organizational strength, viability, and effectiveness through critical governance processes including setting the organization’s strategic priorities; monitoring the implementation of these priorities; providing management oversight; and, reporting to stakeholders on their stewardship. That’s not a list: it’s just experiences and insight.
Unless you’ve worked in the brokerage business, you’re an outsider. Insiders know how financial people think, and the types of things said after companies leave the room. Having worked on the buy-side, and sell-side in equity research and investment banking for multiple decades, DART offers capital markets insight that is invaluable to any transaction, whether raising money or conducting M&A. We provide C-Suite leaders assurance, particularly when offering “sidecar” services to the CFO.
Having analyzed hundreds of companies in dozens of industries, we offer insightful analysis pertinent to strategic planning, fund raising and M&A activities, particularly when dealing with the challenges faced by small capitalization companies. We’ve helped clients identify and increase their company’s true value, explored critical assumptions to break open negotiations in merger transactions, and counseled private and public companies on how to navigate the capital markets. That’s not a list: it’s just experiences and insight.
We’ve learned from working with those in the C-Suite that their currency is ideas not their job description. Ideas often well beyond the scope of what they do every day. Because while some ideas are born in a silo, they can be transported and reconfigured elsewhere—and that’s called applied learning. We both produce and provide Knowledge Exchanges on a regular basis to and for our clients. We can tailor make a speaker or a program of thought-provoking talks that will engage C-Suite at the intellectual level of ideation—where newfound knowledge becomes the fuel for application.
The DART Knowledge Exchange Institute’s mission is to be a catalyst for applicable idea generation through sharing concepts from disparate disciplines. For example, it was the rigour of an airline pilots’ checklist sequence that ushered in new protocols in the Operating room and has saved countless lives.
Here’s a true story that is the cornerstone example of the DART Knowledge Exchange Institute and which guides us in everything we program or do for our C-Suite attendees.
Ford Motor Company sold more than one million Ford Model Ts in 1919, and each used 100 board feet of wood for the parts such as frame, dashboard, steering wheels, and wheels. Because of the amount of wood that had to be used in the cars, Henry Ford decided he wanted to produce his own supply. He enlisted Edward G. Kingsford, a real estate agent in Michigan, to find him a supply of wood and acquired a large timberland in Iron Mountain, Michigan, and built a sawmill and parts plant in a neighboring area. The mill and plants produced sufficient parts for the car but generated waste such as stumps, branches, and sawdust.
Ford, Kingsford, and mutual friend Thomas Edison struck up a conversation one day about what to do with the disposal of all of the sawdust. Ford had heard of a University of Oregon chemist, Orin Stafford, who had invented a method for making pillow-shaped lumps of fuel from sawdust and mill waste combined with tar and bound together with cornstarch. He called the lumps “charcoal briquettes.” Ford suggested that all wood scraps could be processed into charcoal, so Thomas Edison designed the briquette factory next to the sawmill, and Kingsford ran it. Ford named the new business Ford Charcoal and changed the name of the charcoal blocks to “briquets”.
By the mid-1930s, Ford was marketing “Picnic Kits” containing charcoal and portable grills directly from Ford dealerships, capitalizing on the link between motoring and outdoor adventure that his own Vagabond travels popularized. “Enjoy a modern picnic,” the package suggested. “Sizzling broiled meats, steaming coffee, toasted sandwiches.” It wasn’t until after World War II that backyard barbecuing took off, thanks to suburban migration, the invention of the Weber grill and the marketing efforts. An investment group bought Ford Charcoal in 1951 and renamed it to Kingsford Charcoal in honour of Edward G. Kingsford (and the factory’s home-base name) and took over the operations.
Today, the first long weekend in North America is christened by BBQ Briquette sales promotions of the iconic Kingsford—all because of an inventor who talked to other inventors about what to do with a pile of sawdust. Or, how our DART Knowledge Exchange Institute sees it, the genesis of charcoal barbequing is really, and truly, from the genius building a Model-T car. That’s not a list: it’s just experiences and insight.