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Resolve Complex Problems With The Pyramid Principle

Training &Templates

Objectives of this document

Improve your ability to resolve complex problem by applying the Pyramid Principle Training & Templates created by former Deloitte Consultants

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Table of content
Resolve complex problems with the Pyramid Principle?

Write the introduction

Apply the Pyramid principle

Create a story board

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Write an introduction which contains the situation, the complication and the question

A neutral description with facts that you know your audience will agree on

The situation

Example: The companys market is mature and doesnt offer growth opportunity anymore

A desired change of the current situation

The complication

Example: The CEO would like to increase his profit by reducing his cost by 10%

The question that implicitly results from the complication

The question

Example: How can the company reduce its costs by 10%?

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Table of content
Resolve complex problems with the Pyramid Principle?

Write the introduction

Apply the Pyramid principle

Create a story board

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Pyramid Principle Definition

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Create a pyramid with your answer and supporting arguments - Template


Insert your introductions question
To communicate in a structured way with a busy executive, you should start with the answer to the executives question first, and then list your supporting arguments
Insert your answer

Group, summarize and order logically your supporting arguments Why or How?

Insert your supporting argument #1

Insert your supporting argument #2

Insert your supporting argument #3

Why or How?

Why or How?

Why or How?

Insert your supporting argument #1.1

Insert your supporting argument #1.2

Insert your supporting argument #1.3

Insert your supporting argument #2.1

Insert your supporting argument #2.2

Insert your supporting argument #2.3

Insert your supporting argument #3.1

Insert your supporting argument #3.2

Insert your supporting argument #3,3

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Create a pyramid with your answer and supporting arguments - Example


How can the company reduce its cost by 10%?

The company can reduce its cost by $5 millions through some operational improvements

Outsource non-core functions to save $3 Millions

Simplify core functions processes to save $1 Million

Review supplier cost to save $1 Million

Select non-core functions

Evaluate cost and service level of potential partners

Choose one partner for each function

Design current processes

Compare current process to best-inclass benchmarks

Adopt best practices based on benchmarks

Select and review current supplier costs

Evaluate cost of potential alternative suppliers

Renegotiate supplier contracts and/or choose alternative suppliers

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Ensure that your pyramid is Mutually Exclusive and Collectively Exhaustive (MECE)

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Ensure that each category of your pyramid doesnt contain too many subcategories
Ensure a vertical logic by answering the question why or how In this example, each category only contain 3 subcategories, which is the ideal number for a clear communication

Why or How?

Why or How?

Why or How?

Why or How?

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You an also use an horizontal logic within your pyramid

Horizontal logic at the first level

Horizontal logic at the seond level


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by using a deductive logic


The concept of deduction A coherent and logic way of reasoning which automatically leads to a conclusion

Conclusion

Company X should outsource its non core functions

Company X is not profitable

Company Y is profitable

Company Y outsources its non core functions

Situation

Observation

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or an inductive logic
The concept of induction A chain of non-related statements which make it possible to draw a certain conclusion

Conclusion

Company X should invest in industry Y

Industry is attractive

Competition is low

Entry barriers are low

A list of independent statements

It is simple
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Link between conclusion and the statements not always obvious

The template below can be used to summarize the introduction, your answer and the key hypotheses
Introduction
Situation: Replace the text by your own text Complication: Replace the text by your own text Question: Replace the text by your own text

First answer
Replace the text by your own text

Insert supporting argument #1

Insert supporting argument #2

Insert supporting argument #3

Insert key message # 1


Insert key message # 2 Insert key message # 3

Insert key message # 1


Insert key message # 2 Insert key message # 3

Insert key message # 1


Insert key message # 2 Insert key message # 3

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Table of content
Resolve complex problems with the Pyramid Principle?

Write the introduction

Apply the Pyramid principle

Create a story board

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Based on your pyramid, identify the slides that you need to produce
# Slide to be produced

1
Introduction (situation, complication and question) Answer

Why or How?

3
Supporting argument #1 Supporting argument #2

Why or How?

Why or How?

4
Supporting argument #1.1

5
Supporting argument #1.2

6
Supporting argument #1.3

8
Supporting argument #2.1

9
Supporting argument #2.2

10 Supporting argument #2.3

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Then create a storyboard to have an overview of your presentation


1 Companys profits are decreasing 2 We should outsource 3

Competitor X is profitable

Company X has same revenue as us

But Company X has lower cost

50% of his core functions have been outsourced

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Ensure that your storyboard combines horizontal and vertical logic

Horizontal logic: A presentation should be easily understood by only reading the key message of each slide

Key message #1

Key message #2

Key message #3

Vertical logic: Texts, diagrams and charts should support the key message

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And finally produce the slides!

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Summary
How to effectively communicate to Business Executives through great and logical presentation?

Write an introduction containing the situation, complication and question

Create a MECE Pyramid with your answer and supporting arguments

Create a logical storyboard based on your Pyramid

4
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Produce your slides with a horizontal and vertical logic


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Sources of information

The McKinsey Way by Ethan Rasiel

The Pyramid Principle by Barbara Minto

Slidology: the art and science of creating great presentations by Nancy Duarte

Sources of information

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