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Are your One-pager and Elevator Speech ready for Change?

Can you explain your upcoming change of business in the timespan of an elevator ride and in a one-pager?Changing business to create growth, follow a new strategy or to integrate with a newly acquired company is not always easy. Most companies have experienced that outcome of change is less than expected. But why didn’t the company gain what were decided to achieve?

Mostly because planning was to fast

Companies naturally want to show they take action on new trends in the market or deliver what is promised. Sometimes this drive change from discussion of why and where to fast execution and implementation. The planning then lacks robustness as the impact on business and the organizational abilities as well as capacity was not understood. Classic examples of changes where more planning would have improved results:

- Implementing a new IT-system but parts of the organization cannot use it
- Changing organizational set up to improve performance, but results cannot be measured
- Developing and selling a new product but customer demand is lacking
- Acquiring of new company to gain market shares but market size don’t grow likewise


A good guideline is to plan until the change can be illustrated on a one-pager and explained during an elevator ride. The one-pager must picture the change and connect needs and demands with actions, responsibility and goals. The one-pager is framing the change across business.

The elevator speech is a short speech used to quickly and simply sell the change across the organization or towards external stakeholders. The speech must be so good and interesting it creates a domino effect within the organization. Cornerstones in the planning process are work across business units and securing decisions are made on solid information including both hard and soft data.

Secondly because implementation focuses wrongly

The implementation seldom gets better than planned, so some of the areas that companies struggle with during implementation are caused by insufficient planning and the lack of understanding of business needs, capacity and impacts. It could be missing resources or competences in the organization or unmanaged legal requirements that cause the challenges in the implementation phase. Examples of challenges could be:

- Delays
- Unclear results
- Many technical difficulties
- High employee turnover


During implementation there are also new challenges that should be avoided. The most common challenges are the focus of discussions during management or project meetings. During the meetings the discussions are focusing on all the good stuff, data is lacking and only a few people is actively participating in the meeting. Signs that shows focus is wrong could be:

- Problems are very seldom presented for the management
- A lot of time is spend on discussing technical solutions on management meetings
- Sales and marketing is not actively involved in product development
- Many fast decisions in the end of a meeting


And then leaders forget to be present

To go through a change there must be coaches, ambassadors, drivers, workers and leaders. As leaders we activate many changes and at the same time, we start to look for new development ideas. Focus is transferred to new areas and the time to follow up on already activated changes gets limited. I think we need to be more present to show the importance of the change and to help the organization to prioritize. A very common challenge for many organizations’ is lack of prioritization and focus; – if management works with 10 changes the organization does too. But are there resources for all of them and are they all equally important and how does they impact each other?

I hope, I by this article have inspired you as a leader to become better at decision making.

Jane Wenzel Østergaard

CEO, Partner

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