The COVID pandemic has changed not only how and where we work, it’s also changed our priorities and perspectives. What used to be a typical day at the office, has become an extended day of jumping between working remotely, home schooling our kids, serving as on-site technical support for our kids and as remote support for our parents, all while monitoring the status of our grocery delivery to ensure the doorbell doesn’t announce its arrival during a virtual client meeting. What used to be a typical day at the office, has become an extended day of jumping between working remotely, home schooling our kids, serving as on-site technical support for our kids and as remote support for our parents, all while monitoring the status of our grocery delivery to ensure the doorbell doesn’t announce its arrival during a virtual client meeting. We are now finding that what used to matter has changed. What we used to have under control, we don’t. What we used to know as givens, are not. And, what used to be typical 3 to 5 to 10+ year strategic planning, has become 12 to 18+ month strategic planning. In order to stay relevant, we’ve been forced to think in shorter time frames, focus on what matters most, and change on the fly.
In order to stay relevant, we’ve been forced to think in shorter time frames, focus on what matters most, and change on the fly.
At its core, strategic planning has not changed. It’s still envisioning the future you want and then defining the path to get you and your team there. What has changed is mitigating the multitude of risks that need to be factored into the planning process. And those risks multiply more frequently than ever before. Because of that, planning time-frames have decreased. The long-term goals and the visions of many organizations haven’t changed, but the timelines to achieve their goals have shifted. Some strategic projects planned for one to two years out, came blasting into existence within days, weeks, or months of the jump to remote work status. Other projects came to a screeching halt with no clear date for restart. Because conducting business ‘normally’ is no longer a forgone conclusion, the need to change strategy quickly has become paramount. It doesn’t matter if the change occurs six months after a strategic plan has been approved or two years into a plan’s life, changing strategies within a strategic plan are normal, expected, and desired.
Changing strategies within a strategic plan are normal, expected, and desired.
In crisis management, the immediate focus is survival. Once achieved, we can then focus on establishing a new direction forward or getting back on the pathway to our desired long-term goal. Survive first, then build with intent. Build strategically. The key to being able to survive and then build strategically lies in being clear on what you ultimately want to achieve. That ultimate goal, the vision for your organization, may shift a bit, but the intent doesn’t change. Because of that, the need to adjust strategies quickly along the way is critical. The quicker you can identify the need to change and then make the change, the more adept you are of not lapsing back into survival mode. So how do you do this? Reaffirm the type of organization you want to be. Ask yourself:
- Which companies or organizations do we admire in how they deliver their products or services right now and what can we learn from them?
- Don’t succumb to the desire to say, “Well, they have lots of money so this doesn’t apply to us.” Instead, consider their focus on customer need, customer expectations, customer receptiveness, and customer willingness to pay – and often pay repeatedly.
- What types of customers do we want to be serving 18+ months from now and what will they need and pay for – and often pay for repeatedly?
Stay relevant by thinking, planning, and then leading strategically. To do that, you may have to change strategies on the fly to ensure you are doing what matters most to your customers.
Copyright MMXXI – Liz Weber, CMC, CSP – Weber Business Services, LLC – www.WBSLLC.com +1.717.597.8890
Liz supports clients with strategic and succession planning, as well as leadership training and executive coaching. Learn more about Liz on LinkedIn!