Change is today’s normal. As individuals are daily routines are besieged by new tools and methods to purchase, communicate and coordinate. Although many of us choose to opt out of many of these innovations, it is virtually impossible to avoid embracing some of these changes. The same is true for organizations; business and non-profit leaders are also barraged by change.
This pace of change puts tremendous pressure on the confidence leaders need to stick with their long-range strategic goals. Often their confidence is eroded by a lack of evidence that their plans will pay off or that their goals, once met will have the impact they desire. It can also further eroded when a market innovation takes the attention of their customers, and they have nothing in the works to respond. So, what’s a leadership team to do? Stop setting strategic goals and spend all their resources responding to change a fast as they can?
Well, that is one approach. Let’s call this the Also Ran strategy, and it can work, for a short time, but it is not a strategy for long-term growth. Today strategic thinking is more important than ever, but so is how you put together your strategic plan and move into implementation. A key element of building a winning strategic plan for today’s highly changing market conditions is to plan for change. Here are my tips in incorporate into your strategic plan so that you too can stay focused and flexible for change.
- Prioritize and Order your objectives, so they build on one another and create a sustainable focus for executing the new strategic direction. Think - First Things First - regardless of how excited you are to see a longer-range goal come to live. READ MORE about how to prioritize and order and use our prioritizing exercise: Big Rocks First.
- Plan at 80% of your capacity. Agree to support (fund) plans that will require only 80% of your total budget. Set your budget up to have the resources to respond to a degree of change while still executing on your other priorities. READ MORE about My 80/20 Rule
- Share Progress Frequently and Demonstrably to shore up confidence (yours and others) in your strategic direction and to clarify how your plans and responses to change ALL are working together to move toward your long-range goals. Actively embed new thinking throughout your organization, effectively winning over the status quo and foster new strategic thinking capabilities to bridge the gaps created by high change.
Change is today’s normal, so planning to respond should also be today’s strategic thinking normal. Don’t settle for the Also Ran Strategy. Tighten up your planning with the wisdom of real strategic thinking to embrace a multifaceted strategic plan with room to flex while you stay focused.
Struggling to think through your planning process? Schedule a free mini-consultation to find the right approach for your entity.