The world economy was devastated in 2020 by the first global pandemic seen in over a century. And now with vaccine distribution initiated, we can expect a recovery. When and exactly what that recovery will look like is uncertain, but what we do know is that organizations who are planning to accelerate out of this downturn will be more successful. So what acceleration steps do you need to take to be ahead of the curve and build a strategic business plan?
Accelerating Out of the Turn
We’ve created a six-part blog series called “Accelerating Out of the Turn” outlining the key elements leaders need to think about in the first half of 2021 to capitalize on the upcoming economic relaunch. In order, starting today with step 1, we’ll be covering all 6 acceleration steps over the next few months:
1. Acceleration Plan– Create a business plan to accelerate out of the downturn.
2. Stand Out — Stand out from the competition in the eyes of your target customers.
3. Stay Visible — Remain active and easily accessible in the marketplace.
4. Retool for Growth — Adapt and improve systems, processes, and people.
5. Referral Partners — Create a network of strategic referral partnerships.
6. Lead with Health & Hope — Adopt and encourage healthy team behaviours.
The purpose of this series is to help business leaders develop a strategic business plan to ramp up their companies for 2021. Timing matters! Research shows that organizations that are proactive and have a plan outperform their peers in the months and years that follow.
Eager to start today? Start by downloading our free guide to the 6 Essential Steps to Accelerate Out of the (Down) Turn.
We have been deliberate in choosing a driving metaphor. Professional race-car drivers know that accelerating out of a corner on a racetrack has many advantages. It provides more control, stability, and traction while creating significantly more opportunities for overtaking competitors. The skills applied in the turn separate the winners from the losers.
The same is true for our businesses. If we accelerate as we come out of this economic downturn, we can be more stable, controlled, and successful in the months ahead.
But this will not happen on its own. As a leader, you are in the driver’s seat. You have already made many correct, albeit difficult, decisions in the past year to stay in business. Don’t get left behind, now is the time to take the first step in building a strategic business plan.
Step 1: Create a Strategic Business Plan
If the last year has taught us anything, it’s that often things don’t go as planned. Think about the plans you had at the start of 2020, and how much has changed since then. It begs the question, “if things are just going to change, why even create a plan?”
The goal of planning is not to predict the future with clarity like some fortune-teller gazing into a crystal ball. Rather, the planning process forces us to think through the relationships between the actions we take and the results we get, what we can control, and what we cannot. Planning, done correctly, better prepares us for whatever the future brings.
“The best way to predict the future is to create it”
– Abraham Lincoln
Now more than ever, plans must be fixed yet flexible. Any plan has embedded in it predictions and assumptions about what we expect to happen, but if those turn out to be incorrect, we need to be ready to pivot. To support this flexibility, your leadership team needs to commit to:
- Ensuring you have the most accurate and timely data available about the performance of your business and what is happening in the marketplace.
- A frequent and structured strategic planning rhythm.
- A healthy conflict where differing opinions can be tabled in an environment of openness and safety.
- A bias for simplicity – the simpler your plans are, the easier they will be for everyone in your organization to understand, the faster you can create and revise them, and the less likely people will be attached to them and resist change. Consider using a template like the Results Playbook.
It is also essential that a strategic business plan for your organization aligns with your overall vision and culture. There should be a clear line-of-sight between short-term and longer-term plans, targets, and goals.
Flexibility trumps accuracy in planning. For over a decade, research and thought-leaders have been arguing that adaptability is the new competitive advantage, and organizations need to look hard at their own internal processes for any opportunity to create more flexibility and take an adaptive approach to strategic business plans.
Acceleration Readiness Assessment
1. Do you and your leadership team have a strategic business plan; a strategic set of priorities and actions to take advantage of the economic rebound?
2. Is your strategy for the company simple and in the hands of all employees?
3. Is there a healthy amount of conflict when determining the path forward? Do people, especially those in your leadership team, feel safe to share unpopular information and proposals?
Next Steps — Develop a Strategic Business Plan
Are you ready to grow in 2021? We can help. Contact us to book a chat with a member of our team.
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