Case Studies

Delivering foresight

A new strategic approach to a substantial landed Estate has brought clarity and foresight to the Estate owners, allowing their vision for its future to be realised. 

At TNLM we value discretion and integrity.  All our Case Studies are published with the full authority of the Estate to which they relate and are deliberately anonymised to protect the individuals and businesses concerned. 

The ANON Estate.

The ANON Estate is a richly diverse portfolio of enterprises which are conducted on a traditional landed Estate.  The ownership structure is complex.  Its architecture is driven by tax advice which has a bearing on the activities and enterprises which are conducted.

TNLM was instructed to take over the management of the commercial and agricultural portfolios in 2020 and to establish a structured strategy for the Estate.  At the date of instruction, the Estate had a mandate which gave a very high-level principle of stewardship.  TNLM’s predecessor – a national firm of Land Agents – had also produced a commentary on Planning and Development in relation to the Estate.  There was incredibly precise and granular detail on budgets, accounts and forecasts from the Estate’s accountants.

Brief

The brief from the Directors was that they understood the timelines for the foreseeable revenue streams and expenditure, but the management to date had lacked strategic vision.  They wished to have a planned and executed management and strategy which relieved them of the moments which the Agents would ‘pull a rabbit from a hat’.  That unpredictable culture had been in place in the past and it was unsettling and impossible to make short-, mid- and long-term decisions in that context.

TNLM initiated the process by holding a series of in-depth interviews with the client and key advisers to refine the thinking about the purpose of the Estate and their vision.  This information gathering formed the basis of the Logic Tree.  The Logic Tree was then ‘pruned’ to identify the issues and opportunities which would drive fundamental change and deliver on the Estate’s mandate.  From that, TNLM developed a Strategic Aim and four Estate Policies.  By setting decisions against the Estate Policies, the logical consequence would be to deliver on the Strategic Aim and fulfil the obligations of the Estate’s mandate.

Identify the principal opportunities to ‘move the needle’ in the required direction to fulfil the Strategic Aim.

Establishing the Estate Policies constituted Phase 1.

Phase 2 was to generate an Appraisal of the Estate set against the Estate Policies.  The specific purpose was to;

  1. Identify Key Performance Indicators which would represent the efficacy of any future decision on the Estate against the Estate Policies.
  2. Identify the principal opportunities to ‘move the needle’ in the required direction to fulfil the Strategic Aim.
  3. Give foresight to future opportunities well in advance.
  4. To allow cross-referencing between all aspects of the Estate.

The Reports provided commentaries on the market and how that applied to the variously identified assets on the Estate.

It soon became apparent that the Directors had, historically, commissioned ‘Strategy Reports’ from a national firm of Land Agents.  The Reports provided commentaries on the market and how that applied to the variously identified assets on the Estate.

Much of the commentary was superfluous and more still, irrelevant. 

Importantly, the Report failed to establish any Estate Policies or pin the opportunities back to a coherent strategy/link to the Estate’s mandate.  There were no metrics against which the opportunities could be assessed and no recommended timeline.  Indeed, there was no placement of the Report in the wider Estate context.

TNLM have employed strategic principles taught at Columbia Business School as part of their commercial strategy programme. 

The principles have been adapted to suit rural Estates and offer a forensic, granular basis for driving strategic impact.

The process is iterative, conducted in partnership with the client and measured for its success.  TNLM report direct on the performance and continually seek new opportunities as the landscape of the Estate and the markets shift over time.  The Strategy work conducted by TNLM has given a backbone to the Estate around which can be built a foreseeable and certain future.  As time progresses, long-term gains will become realisable and the Strategy can continue to adapt to use those as platforms for even greater enhancement.

Terra Nova Land Management

The Terra Nova Foundation is a charitable enterprise, committed to unlocking opportunities and allowing the rural economy to deliver its full potential. We are currently developing initiatives in the following areas: mentoring, charitable donations, academic-professional preparation and rural curriculum delivery through lectures, panels and more.

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