What do Mercedes-Benz U.S.A., Hewlett-Packard, and the Public Broadcasting Service have in common? When their CEOs, all running powerful brands faced with big-time challenges, needed original advice, they called on the same consultant: Keith Yamashita, the 36-year-old co-founder and principal of Stone Yamashita Partners.
Here’s a crash course from Yamashita, who may be the most influential consultant you’ve never heard of, on the art and science (mostly art) of creating strategy and unleashing change.

1. Outlaw PowerPoint. Write down your vision as a story — with a beginning, middle, and end — to clarify what must change first.
2. Don’t rely on words alone. Bring your thinking to life: Create an exhibit, use diagrams, prototype ideas.
3. Make strategy an everyday act. The creation and re-creation of strategy shouldn’t be a process that you undertake only when budgets are due.
4. Argue forcefully against your most dearly held hypotheses. Only then will you know if they stand up to scrutiny.
5. Make decisions, right or wrong. There’s nothing worse than waffling.
6. Take over the TV station. Airtime is everything. Use every ad, press release, store, package, and event to tell your story.
7. Embrace thine enemy. Make a list of the people who could stop your big idea from taking root. Befriend them. Convince them. Make it their responsibility to improve on your vision.
8. Don’t hold meetings longer than two hours. (Otherwise they’re workshops, which require more planning.) And don’t walk out of a meeting without assigning a name to every item that needs follow-up.
9. Startle people. Break out of your comfort zone and do something unexpected. Run an offbeat ad. Institute casual-dress Tuesdays.
10. Don’t throw anything out. Don’t kill ideas that won’t work right now. Someday soon, the world might be ready for them.