Staff Shortage Sentiments

Perpetual Unprofitability

Unsatisfied Customers

Confusing Offerings

Lagging Competitors

Unhappy Top Employees

How Can Companies Avoid Perpetually Gyrating Between Predictable Challenges?

Balanced Incentives & A Sustainable Growth Mindset Render Sound Fundamentals

Unachievable Targets

Operational Chaos

Overzealous Hiring & Layoffs

Uncohesive Strategy

Underwater Investors

Squeezed Partners


Proliferation of profitable and sustainable companies focused on intrinsic value creation.

Internalization of a company’s purpose, an effective corporate strategy that aligns with that purpose, and optimal dovetailing of that strategy with operations are the most common differentiators between the best companies and the rest. Winning as a company isn’t about one big idea or a few heroes. We can only win consistently if we know why we win and how we win.

  • First, a company is a symbiotic organism where every aspect of the customer value creation engine and internal agenda must align. Strategy and operations that span all functions must lead as the mind and body of a company, respectively. Thinking and executing in silos will never work beyond short-term outcomes and often result in functional conflicts and irreversible incentive problems.
  • Second, meticulously charting a purposeful and actionable path forward and its effective execution is necessary to mature a company. My macro-evolution and micro-evolution approach will give companies control and predictability in the short- and long-term. Overnight market winning tactics are not methodical; they are hopeful.
  • Third, sustainable growth requires strong fundamentals that focus on productizing solutions for root causes of a well-defined market problem and designing and maturing a unique organization to deliver that solution. I do not advocate unsustainable tactics that often result in perpetual unprofitability.

In summary, focus on company fundamentals will reap dividends in customer value creation, organizational alignment, sustainable revenue growth, and profitability for years to come.

A true believer in the power of intrinsic value creation

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Systems First

The Spiral Stairway takes a systemic approach to focus on problems, their root-causes, and developing solutions to address systemic root-causes. People are not the problem.

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String of Pearls

Solutions that dovetail are impactful. Disjointed ideas rarely are. Design tailored solutions to problems considering all dependencies across the company.

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Experience From Over Three Dozen Public & Private Companies
Fortune 50 Public Companies
Mid-market Private Equity Companies
Growth-phase Venture Capital Companies
Early-stage Bootstrapping Start-ups
Cross-pollinating Insights & Frameworks Across Eight Sectors
B2B Technology / Services [*aaS]
Sustainability / Energy / Utilities
Financial Services
Professional Services
Manufacturing / Industrial
Supply Chain / Logistics
Insights & Execution Expertise Across All Functions
Cross-functional Strategy & Operations Centered
Customer Ownership & Value Creation Proficiency
Strategy Development and Planning Expertise
Proven Execution and Implementation Impact
The System To Build A Holistic Company

The Spiral Stairway

The Spiral Stairway is an insightful, comprehensive, and actionable guide written for critical thinking CEOs, executives, supervisors, and employees. It creates a system to build sustainable, holistic companies that exist to balance the incentives of customers, investors, employees, partners, and society at large.

It uniquely bridges the chasm between real-world behaviors and proven concepts to objectively look at an entire company as one symbiotic organism. The cohesively dovetailed methodology ties together all underlying components and principles necessary to answer the question – How must we build and manage a company?

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Actionable Methods To Build Holistic Companies...

Holistic Companies Series

What is a holistic company and why must we build them?

John Oommen

A deep internalization of the basic, yet essential, concepts that underpin capitalism is necessary for its salvation.

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Company-wide Root Cause Problem Solving & Hands-on Implementation

A company is a symbiotic organism...

A cohesive and comprehensive approach to manage the whole company is significantly more valuable and sustainable than stand-alone functional tactics. The Spiral Stairway methodology continuously dovetails and improves every fundamental component through micro-evolution and macro-evolution cycles.

A strategy development and strategic planning centered approach ensures that the whole company transforms as a single entity to keep up with customers needs and market shifts.

Continuous systematic alignment of operations to strategy and improvement in execution are equally paramount.

Acumes The Spiral Stairway Methodology
What To Offer

Customer-Focused Productized Offerings

To grow sustainably and profitably, we must productize how we create value for customers. Focus on net positive customer value creation, while avoiding common value destroying and growth-plateauing pitfalls.

How To Deliver

The Company Way Processes

Sustainable growth demands increasing operational efficiency and sophistication with growth. Every activity in every company falls into three buckets – selling, delivering, and managing. These efforts must be dovetailed with each other and the corporate strategy.

Acumes Operations Scaling
How To Evolve

Objective Data & Actionable Insights

Objective and accurate data help us win. Biased and subjective data leads us astray. Capture unbiased and objective data, draw actionable insights from analyses, and manage operations predictively using reporting.

How To Manage

Strategically Aligned Management Approach

People agenda is unique to every company and must align with Corporate Strategy. Align core values, organization design, hiring approach, and performance and compensation management to align with your unique offering and processes.

Impact-Focused Approach

As-a-Service & Project Models

Retainer Model

Growth-phase Adjusted Standard Monthly Retainer
All-Inclusive Package
Ongoing Year-round, Hands-on Partnership
Operate as your Strategy & Operations Team

Project Model

Growth-phase Adjusted Standard Project Fees
Choose from Four Capabilities
Time-bound Relationship + Impact Check-ins
Support your Strategy & Operations Needs
Comprehensive Strategy & Operations Pathway

Four Strategy & Operations Capabilities To Evolve The Entire Company

Diagnostic or Diligence
Any time of the Year
Comprehensive assessment using The Spiral Stairway methodology
Actionable insights across all fundamental components
Action plan for 3-6 months impact
Strategy and operations roadmap development
Executive / board / investor read-out
Strategy Development
2nd & 3rd Quarter of the Year
Clean-slate market assessment and value flow analysis
Sweet spot identification and market sizing
Customer roles identification and needs assessment
Strategic trade-off choices formulation
Corporate strategy decision articulation and socialization
Ongoing M&A and strategic analysis support [SOaaS Model]
Strategic Planning
3rd & 4th Quarter of the Year
Annual strategic planning management
Strategic initiatives development
Operations impact of strategic initiatives
Formalization of optimal investment decisions
Formalization of operations performance targets
Financial planning support
Board approval enablement
Ongoing strategic plan and execution realignment [SOaaS Model]
Execution Management
All Year
Data assessment & optimization
Operational analysis and insights for continuous improvement
Predictive and actionable reporting design and automation
Ongoing reporting management [SOaaS Model]
Strategic initiatives management [SOaaS Model]
Monthly executive meeting preparation [SOaaS Model]
Quarterly board meeting preparation [SOaaS Model]
Case Studies

Proven Frameworks Developed Via Hands-on Value Creation Experiences

Case Study: Strategy Development, Strategic Planning, and Execution Management

Reframe corporate strategy and develop strategic plan to reignite growth

Marketing Technology CompanY | $100M Exit

Revenue growth has plateaued at 12-year-old, mid-sized company seeking exit

  • What are the characteristics of the company’s optimal customers? What are the factors that these customers value the most?
  • How should the company’s offerings evolve to rekindle growth among optimal customers and retire non-core offerings?

Took a customer-first approach to align all stakeholders to the market problem and company’s strengths to develop an actionable transformation plan

  • Interviewed customers and internal stakeholders and analyzed commercial and product data to frame customer needs and company strengths
  • Identified operational gaps across functions and root causes that limited sustainable growth prospects
  • Framed corporate strategy as a choice of customer sweet spot options and core strengths to capitalize on
  • Managed company’s first-ever formal strategic planning exercise to align all internal stakeholders and the board
Intrinsic Impact

Developed a board-approved corporate strategy and strategic plan, and designed execution management that led the company to a $100M exit

  • Shifted “who to serve” choice to focus on analytical leaders at enterprise customers and avoid distractions from unprofitable SMB customers
  • Aligned “what to offer” decision with optimal customers’ needs, including driving alignment on capabilities to optimize or retire
  • Optimized “how to deliver” via operations improvement initiatives and renewed company core values
  • Transformed execution effectiveness by operationalizing board-approved strategic plan
Case Study: Strategy Development & Execution Management

Define and implement "who to serve" and "how to deliver" strategic choices

Business Process Management (BPM) Technology CompanY | $133M Capital raised

Market validated company needs a corporate strategy defined and implemented

  • What are the trade-offs between market position options: broad BPM vs. niche risk management offering?
  • How should the company invest resources to capture the chosen Sweet Spot?

Conducted market landscape assessment to reset strategic insights to frame trade-off choices and implemented sales and customer success strategic initiatives

  • Developed comprehensive Market Landscape to evaluate optimal space to focus on
  • Explored value delivered and pricing at customer- and user-level using our Net Value Flow principles across all players
  • Developed actionable processes and cadences to mature operations to align with strategic insights
Intrinsic Impact

Achieved macro-evolution of sales, customer success, and productization efforts to align with strategic decision and moved company to #1 player on GRC ratings magic quadrants

  • Drove Governance, Risk, Control (GRC) use case focus to capitalize on platform superiority compared to other GRC players
  • Engrained prioritization of Flexibility as a value lever as customers tend to be large companies and expect GRC solutions to mold to existing programs
  • Created first Customer Success playbook to enable account managers
  • Created kill sheets with selling insights for all competitors across the market to enable sales reps
Case Study: Strategy Development and Strategic Planning

Develop strategy and enable strategic planning to build scalable productized offering

EDUCATION Technology CompanY | $29M Capital RAised

Growth-phase B2B SaaS education technology company needs 3-year product strategy to rationalize diverse customer base and enable profitable growth

  • What are the defining characteristics of the professional education market that the company is focused on digitizing?
  • What are the core capabilities necessary to serve this market profitably? What are the company’s strengths and weaknesses?
  • How will the company prioritize its investment?

Aligned the executive team on the importance of strategic trade-offs and developed insights to enable difficult prioritization of “who to serve” and “what to offer”

  • Interviewed commercial team, customers, and external experts to develop customer journey-focused strategic trade-offs to develop insights on “what to offer”
  • Conducted comprehensive secondary research of professional education market to reframe the ecosystem and value flow between players to articulate “who to serve” choices
  • Aligned executive team on strategic insights and enabled internal strategy and finance teams through strategic planning and operationalization of plan
Intrinsic Impact

Shifted company from feature and functions product mindset to embrace cohesive customer-focused product strategy and plan

  • Framed customers and value gaps in the market in three comprehensive use cases and underlying capabilities to simplify strategic trade-off choices
  • Company uses “what to offer” strategy and plan as guides for >18 months of execution to achieve macro-evolution
Case Study: Strategy Development, Strategic Planning, and Execution Management

Develop strategy and align operations and offerings

Tech-enabled ESG Services CompanY | $10M ARR

Company lost 25% of revenue in one year due to customer satisfaction and operational misalignment with stated purpose of high growth

  • What is the corporate strategy that balances market needs, company’s core capabilities, and investment constraints?
  • What are the organizational and operational ramifications associated with trade-off choices?

Assessed corporate strategy holistically, framed strategic initiatives, and optimized operations to align the purpose > strategy > plan > execution of the company

  • Identified root causes of customer dissatisfaction and reframed the market problem
  • Conducted maturity assessments across all functions to frame gaps
  • Framed corporate strategy as a set of technology vs. services and behavioral choices
  • Developed a cohesive strategic plan that spanned all functions and aligned market problem with company strengths
Intrinsic Impact

Drove company to commit to productized services to align with existing workforce skills and investment constraints

  • Evolved the company’s approach to product strategy to comprehensively dovetail all dimensions including services, intellectual capital, and technology
  • Developed a new organization design to realign operations with offerings, customer journey, and internal skills
  • Rebuilt the company’s management approach to retain top talent and voluntarily turnover low performers and align compensation to performance
Case Study: Execution Management

Rebuild process, technology, and data foundations to mature marketing, sales, and account management functions

B2B Technology CompanY | $66M Capital Raised

Company has revenue challenges and commercial teams are misaligned on incentives and responsibilities

  • What are the foundational data and metrics that reflect end-to-end effectiveness of an underperforming decade-old commercial organization?
  • What are the optimal behaviors for each commercial role to drive better outcomes?

Assessed, developed insights, and implemented solutions to address foundational gaps in marketing, sales, and customer success silos

  • Led an organization-wide shift from contact-based selling to an account-based approach
  • Introduced an end-to-end customer relationship lifecycle mindset to design all commercial activities around
  • Created organizational alignment on strategic and operational maturity and incentive gaps via qualitative and quantitative analyses and insights
Intrinsic Impact

Evolved 75-member commercial organization to a Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) optimized and accountable operation, while eliminating incentive challenges

  • Improved individual productivity across commercial value chain teams by building a resilient account-based process & data model
  • Eliminated productivity problems due to overlapping territories and duplicative activities across roles
  • Optimized CAC and revenue attribution challenges via effective processes and incentive compensation plans
Case Study: Execution Management

Stand up process- and insights-focused commercial operations function

B2B Technology CompanY | $40M ARR

Existing Sales Operations function focuses on CRM administration and creates no tangible operations value

  • What are optimal components of an insight-generating commercial operations function?
  • What is the path to engraining an objective and analytical execution mindset into a commercial organization lacking a strong process foundation?

Transformed organizational focus from CRM management to process-first mindset to enable a process-leads-technology ecosystem

  • Aligned executive team on characteristics of best-in-class data and insights operating model using our maturity models
  • Deployed our Process-Data Symbiosis principles to retrain managers’ approach to overseeing day-to-day behaviors, data gathering, and insight generation
Intrinsic Impact

Improved process & data maturity and overhauled commercial operations leading to >30% productivity improvement

  • Aligned executives and key supervisors on root causes that included skill gaps and management approach challenges
  • Deployed a process > technology > data > insights value chain for all commercial oversight efforts
  • Developed company’s first Commercial Playbook that included processes, CRM redesign, and data capture and usage methods

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