Planning to Thrive
By now many businesses have recovered from the initial shock brought on by COVID-19. While the struggle and uncertainty is still very real and current for business, many are starting to adapt to a new way of working and understand the broader business implications. The key differentiator between businesses who will survive the COVID-19 pandemic and economic fall-out and businesses who thrive will come down to the actions they put in place now and the plans they develop for the coming months.
Leadership at this time is critical and requires many businesses to adapt their operating models in the face of uncertainty to ensure they are prepared for different scenarios and future rapid escalation or change. So what are the key considerations leaders should take on board when planning ahead and planning to thrive?
Create a Go Forward Plan:
It is highly likely that your strategic plan has been put on hold for business continuity and contingency actions, however now more than ever your teams are looking for a plan to guide and inform their actions. They need to know that what they are doing is contributing to and adding value to the business in order to feel a sense of validation and security.
Teams want to know what they should be focused on and what the end game is. This can indeed be challenging when there is so much uncertainty however not impossible. The key is to create an agile go forward plan that embraces uncertainty, identifies presented opportunities and is prepared for different scenarios. The plan should give your team focus and purpose to ensure alignment and a sense of control.
Plan Ahead and Create Strategic Actions:
While a go forward plan provides a sense of structure for the current state as it stands today, businesses and leaders need to additionally ensure adaptability and agility in evolving and responding to the constant changing state of the world. Businesses need to get ahead of the next phase of the crisis by planning ahead and considering different future situations and appropriate strategies.
Implementing a ‘Plan Ahead Strategy’ aims to provide key information for decision makers when faced with complex and escalating issues. A ‘Plan Ahead Strategy’ should consider:
- Forward looking information and intelligence
- Different possible scenarios and strategic responses to support business objectives
- Multiple horizons and ensure a ‘rolling plan’ is kept updated
- Key trigger points are identified in different scenarios to inform rapid decision making and assessments
- Communication plans for different scenarios and relevant stakeholders required to determine actions, collate information or execute plans are mapped
Planning ahead won’t happen naturally or as part of BAU, it requires the full attention and commitment of a senior team and accountability. In this way trusting our managers and teams to maintain current operations by following the Go Forward Plan will allow leaders to focus on planning ahead and planning to thrive. This does require a sense of trust, autonomy and accountability in teams to ensure that they can maintain the current normal while leaders plan for the future ‘normal’. Responsiveness and speed are critical to ensuring ‘Plan Ahead Strategies” are kept relevant and intelligent.
Understand the Three Key Decision Informers:
With so much information being shared each day it can be difficult to process, specifically when information is saying different things about an uncertain future. When planning ahead there are three key areas that should inform any business decision, these are:
- Company Finances (forecasts, assumptions and actuals)
- Ongoing BAU initiatives
- Strategic choices which underpin your overall business model
These three areas should be used as a basis for pivoting key decisions and mapping out future scenarios. Identify what potential issues or roadblocks may prevent success in any given scenario and bring these into the present to start responding to and minimising the projected impact on success. This will mean when a scenario does come to play, any challenges have been removed, planned for or adapted to allowing your business to implement changes and jump on opportunities where you otherwise would have been impacted negatively based on ill preparedness and failure to plan.
As Benjamin Franklin famously said, ‘the person who fails to plan, plans to fail’. Successful leaders and businesses who will thrive through these unprecedented and uncertain times will be those who look to the future and plan ahead.
Do you need help planning to thrive and developing your plan ahead strategies? Don’t hesitate to reach out to TalentCode HR for a confidential discussion and support.