Questions & Answers

Q & A

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the general indicators that signal the need for a Critical Few Workshop?

Examples of Key Indications of the need of a Critical Few Workshop

  • Portfolio company is showing declines in margins, missing financial targets.
  • Undetermined best practice for market expansion opportunities.
  • Lack of Standard Operating Procedures – “Mom and Pop” managerial processes
  • Significant dependency on existing clients/customers for growth.
  • Inability to demonstrate product/service profit contribution.
  • Poor rate of new sales proposal acceptance.
  • Inability to establish key performance indicators – effective Business Analytics.
  • Increase in employee turnover.
  • Competition growth, taking market share.
  • Decrease in quality measurement.
  • High rework/returns.
  • Decline in sales revenues.
  • Higher than targeted investment in inventory.
  • Non-responsive Information Systems. Example: proliferation of spreadsheets and PowerPoint presentations
  • No true succession plan – expressed interest in exit by key executives but no plan in place
  • Growth in infrastructure costs greater than growth in potential revenue
  • Under-utilization of social media
  • Lack of Cost per Sale metrics, sales funnels and automated marketing
  • Brochure style website – low traffic and low conversion
  • Concern for product obsolescence
  • Overall need to standardize sales process & compensation
What are the costs involved with a Critical Few Workshop and Critical Few execution?

Workshop Costs

Arrow Up Partners Facilitation Fees:

  • Fixed Fees for the 2-3 Day Workshop

Workshop -  Out of Pocket Fees Covered by Client

  • Hotel Conference Room Rental
  • Meals
  • Parking
  • Rooms for overnight (if applicable)
  • Travel Fees (if necessary)

Post Workshop Implementation

  • Determined by client Critical Few initiatives as identified during the workshop
  • Arrow Up Partners provides implementation support managing the client’s internal teams
  • Fees are estimated in a Scope of Work agreement based on an estimated of the number of hours required.  Fees are paid via a monthly billing against the Scope of Work

Ongoing Accountability Management

  • Based on the team’s momentum when implementing the Critical Few initiatives many clients request Arrow Up Partners to stay connected and hold monthly accountability meetings.  Fees are estimated in a Scope of Work agreement based on an estimated of the number of hours required.
Does a Critical Few Workshop make sense for my portfolio company?

Critical Few workshop makes sense when:

  • The portfolio company appears to know what they want, but are uncertain on how to get there
  • The portfolio company executive team is spending too much time working in the business and not on the business
  • Our portfolio company team appears reactive rather than proactive
  • The portfolio company is struggling to create focus and accountability
  • The portfolio company does planning but seldom follows through
  • There are so many opportunities that portfolio company doesn’t focus well
  • The portfolio company employees are challenged with aligning their activities and responsibilities to the overall direction of the firm
  • There is too much dependency on select individuals— making growth a challenge
Who should I invite to participate in my Critical Few Workshop?
  • Portfolio company executive staff, trusted advisors, investors, and leadership team
  • Staff members responsible for the implementation of strategy
  • Members of the trusted advisory board
Will my current team be involved with the implementing Critical Few initiatives?
  • The key is to identify the critical few initiatives, create a charter for each and identify a single person responsible for leading the implementation. The leader is to identify the internal resources necessary to complete the steps
  • Purpose is to create an environment of inclusion to align the team to the mission and target operating model
  • The team involvement is defined during the strategic workshop
  • We allocate a process to monitor completion of tasks to focus on implementation of the critical initiatives
  • The Executive team is involved during the pre-workshop to help set the parameters of the workshop
  • We do additional discovery to help validate the current processes and practices
What’s included on a typical Critical Few Workshop agenda?

Pre-workshop planning

  • Discovery meetings with “C” level to set parameters for target operating model”
  • Templates distributed to include such areas as SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats)
  • Agenda preparation for review by CEO

Day 1

  • Review of the strategic planning deliverables (Chartering)
  • Validation of Mission, Vision and Culture
  • Introduction of all participants
  • Outline of the Target Operating Model
  • Review of current operating model
  • Brainstorming to create the 3 – 5 critical few initiatives
  • Assigning critical few initiative leaders

Day 2

  • Development of detail charters
  • Presentations by critical few initiative leaders
  • Outline of implementation timeline & accountability

Ongoing Charters

  • Preparation of Board presentations of strategy and expected results
  • On-going support to charter leaders
  • Feedback to investors and board
  • Facilitating team meetings as necessary
  • Taking on specific tasks associated with charters – resource availability
Can a Critical Few Workshop be used for a new product launch?  What about a new acquisition?
  • The launch of a new product would be a specific charter that outlines the tasks necessary to complete the launch, set expectation parameters and define milestones
  • For a target acquisition, the critical few initiative outlines the steps necessary to complete due diligence – by defining the Target Operating Model the fit of an acquisition would be better defined
How do we get started planning our Critical Few Workshop?

Exploratory call

  • We start with a client phone call designed to create an understanding of the client’s overall vision and the desired outcomes.  


Arrow Up Partners provide a proposal which includes:

  • An outline showing the strategic planning process along with the deliverables associated with the workshop.  (Post workshop deliverables will be based under separate scope of work.)
  • Workshop costs. (Fixed fee for workshop. Payment of 40% upon approval of proposal, remaining 60% billed upon completion.)
  • Workshop timing and location.
  • Workshop agenda.