The Impact on Strategy in the Midst of Uncertainty
Uncertainty…Has inflation peaked? Are we in a recession? Will the federal reserve increase rates? Will supply chain challenges be resolved? We have written often about the challenges business leaders face and the impact of uncertainty on strategy management. Two of our most recent articles on the subject were Strategic Thinking in Turbulent Times, May 2022 highlighted three areas of assessing your business to make better strategic choices. Another, Plan to Win in Uncertain Times, September 2022 talks to the balance needed between short-term and long-term strategic decisions. In this newsletter we provide one more perspective. Here are five suggestions to drive your strategy regardless of the uncertainties and level of volatility you are experiencing.
Be ready for change – The truth is that no one can predict the future. When leadership teams make strategic decisions, the best they can do is place bets on what the outcome will be based on their knowledge of the business and industry. However, the world is changing so quickly, it is imperative you stay vigilant to potential changes to your business one year and three years out. Adjustments will need to be made to your strategy. Have meaningful and spirited debates about markets, customers, competition, trends, etc. Your Mission, Vision and Objectives will not change, but the path you choose to achieve your Objectives most likely will need to be updated.
Trust your gut – Never underestimate the power of your instincts when making strategic choices. No one knows your business better than you. Leverage the knowledge of your leadership team. Engage them in your thought process and use data analysis to confirm your gut.
Be bold in your decision-making – Turbulent and uncertain times require swift decision-making with confidence. A half-hearted decision usually results in missing expectations. Understanding your core capabilities and understanding the root causes of any performance shortfalls will provide you with the conviction you need to move forward. Having the data to support your decision will help alleviate any doubts you and your team might have.
Cultivate talent – In these uncertain times, finding and retaining qualified/skilled employees has been a challenge for everyone. For this reason, establishing a culture of trust and learning, and providing opportunities to grown skills is more important than ever. When it comes to strategy, be sure to explain the “why” of your strategic decisions. Invite feedback and encourage participation in what needs to get done to achieve the strategic objectives. Too often employees are told what to do without explaining the value of their actions to the company’s long-term success.
Maintain a constant pursuit of your strategy – It’s easy to forget about Mission, Vision, and Strategic Objectives when you hit uncertain times. Over the past two years businesses have needed to deal with so many disruptions. You might ask…Why not put the Strategy on hold until things settle down? The truth is, it’s never a good time to pull back on your strategy. Business leaders need to think of strategy-making as a continuous process that generates a living, dynamic plan. The future of your business depends on staying focused on achieving the long-term results you want.
The difference between companies that thrive versus those that survive is having the commitment to embrace the discipline of strategy management as an organizational capability. There are so many ways to adopt this discipline and Albu Consulting’s mission is to help business owners increase their odds of success and improve the lives of their families and employees. How are you coping with today’s business environment? . Are you staying focused on your strategy or putting it on hold? Let us know what you think.
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“So, what do we do? Anything. Something. So long as we just don’t sit there. If we screw it up, start over. Try something else. If we wait until we’ve satisfied all the uncertainties, it may be too late.” Lee Iacocca