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Acer America
Acer America Corp. is a computer manufacturer of business and consumer PCs, notebooks, ultrabooks, projectors, servers, and storage products.


333 West San Carlos Street
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September 12, 2022 |

ConnectWise Expands Strategic Planning Program

Current and forthcoming additions to the vendor’s Modes Theory offering aim to help channel pros drive internal alignment around shared objectives and better support their customers’ goals.

ConnectWise is expanding its Modes Theory strategic planning program to provide additional, more specific guidance to a wider range of audiences.

A new version of the offering’s self-assessment available online now aims to help businesses with multiple owners achieve greater clarity and alignment around organizational objectives. Additional resources slated to roll out later this year and early next year will target management teams and customers.

Based on ideas pioneered by HTG Peer Groups years before that organization became part of ConnectWise in 2018, and more formally rolled out some 18 months ago, Modes Theory is designed to help channel pros make better choices about where they invest time and money by identifying which of four “success outcomes” they’re striving to achieve. Those in Startup mode are looking to get newly hatched businesses up and running. Those in Balance Builder mode aim to run a financially healthy business that leaves time for family and other priorities beyond work. Value Builders, by contrast, prioritize growth, while Empire Builders seek “hockey stick” growth.

The revised self-assessment employs concepts developed by Service Leadership, the managed services consultancy ConnectWise purchased last year, to help MSPs determine their “Operational Maturity Level” (OML) as well as their success mode. Those are different but complementary insights, according to Arlin Sorensen, ConnectWise’s vice president of brand and ecosystem evangelism. 

“Modes is more about what’s our strategy,” he says. “It’s a longer-term kind of vision of the future, whereas OML is all about operational maturity today,” he says. 

Understanding both, Sorensen continues, helps organizations decide which operational processes to optimize now in pursuit of goals they wish to achieve later. “One of the concerns that I see a lot when we do strategic planning is people get really good with execution, but sometimes look up and find out they’ve got their ladder leaning against the wrong building,” he notes. “They just got really good at doing what they were doing without thinking about what they were trying to accomplish.”

Users who complete the new assessment receive a report that specifies which mode they’re in and their current OML. Those who wish to can then use Service Leadership’s SLIQ tool to boost their OML in mode-appropriate ways.

The expanded assessment, which is just five questions longer than its predecessor and typically takes 10 to 15 minutes to complete, is also designed to help ownership groups clarify shared goals.

“What we’re finding is that a lot of companies have got owners that are not on the same page in terms of their mode, and particularly their timelines,” Sorensen explains. “That creates all kind of confusion for the rest of the company because people are pulling in two different directions.”

ConnectWise will begin offering follow-up webinars for owners out of alignment next month. Additional Modes Theory materials set to debut during the vendor’s IT Nation Connect event in November will bring managers into the process.

“A lot of owners and their leadership teams are not aligned,” Sorensen says. “You have one owner wanting to sell the company, you’ve got another owner that wants to acquire, and people in the middle are confused.”

An associated set of videos, worksheets, and conversation scripts will help owners eliminate that confusion, Sorensen adds. “The goal we’re working for is can we get everybody that’s leading the company on the same page rolling in the same direction, so we’re not wasting energy trying to figure out what’s going on.”

A whole new self-assessment for end users will ship in the first quarter of 2023. “What we’ve discovered is that partners can better support their clients if they understand what they’re trying to accomplish,” Sorensen says. “We can’t help them grow their business if we don’t know what they’re trying to do.”

Knowing a client’s strategic goals can make for more valuable quarterly business reviews as well, he adds, by shifting the conversation from short-term IT issues to long-term business aspirations. “If we can get that discussion and that communication to a whole different level and make those QBRs much more focused on outcomes, that will be great for not just the client but for the MSP as well in terms of being sticky and really being able to have the kind of relationship that will last forever.”

Still in development, the client assessment will take about 10 minutes to complete and come with workshop resources that MSPs can use in follow-up meetings.

All current and future Modes Theory materials are available free of charge. “We’re all about helping partners figure out what they’re trying to accomplish,” Sorensen says. “If we help them grow, that’s a good thing for ConnectWise and the channel in general.” 

IT Nation Connect takes place November 9 to 11 in Orlando. In addition to discussing new Modes Theory resources, ConnectWise will crown the latest winner of its PitchIT startup competition at the conference as well.

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