It is Time to Rethink Strategy for Business and Personal

A “Thought Essay” for all

It is not often that world events cause such disruption over multiple nations that the core strategies that we all utilize as our guide posts are challenged for validity moving forward. This is a true global “black swan” occurrence. We are at that point again, and for some the first time in generations we have to face this reality.  When this pandemic started, very few ever thought it would come to this level of severity.  We almost felt immune and that any impact would be minimal.  Reality all around us tells us that the next chapter for each of us and our careers and work are and will be impacted!  How?  We do not know.  What should each of us be doing?  There is NO road map other than facing this reality and start discussions with others about their thoughts.  There is no one source with answers. Being proactive sure beats being reactive!

Why government will not be able to solve these issues.  First and foremost most political leaders are vested in their political wellbeing.  But more importantly, and this is not a negative, they are Administrative Leaders who run systems and bureaucracy, not businesses.  Governments spend our money, businesses make money.  Governments think in the collective, while businesses think of customers.  A different leadership model is necessary, if they have the ability to do this.  With the business models in turmoil, what should we as professionals and leaders do?  We all have an impact either professionally and/or personally.  Being proactive is your best step “out the door” so to speak as the world of work is opening up again.  And what if it happens to be shut down again?  There has been an interesting ad on TV (watching more of this than ever before) that states: “If you are laid off for 9 months and expected it to be only 3 months you are in crisis.  If you expected 9 months and it was only 3 months you are in great shape.”  Think about this in analyzing your next tactical moves.

This brings us to Strategy versus Tactics.  Most of us think in terms of tactical moves which will lead us to the strategic results.  As an analogy, it is like how your GPS works when travelling.  One move at a time with adjustments for traffic will bring us to our destination.  But today we need to turn this thought process the other way.  Start with rethinking the destination and the viability of getting there before taking the first efforts of the journey.  Analyze the viability and how well you are equipped to achieve that journey.  Is it the best goal or strategy or is no longer obtainable?  This is changing the model to think strategy first and then tactical actions to reach the strategy.  While this sounds logical, and it is, most of us-fully 80%- think tactical actions first versus strategic goals first.  Proof of this, and back to my earlier statement about Administrative Leaders, this process approach does not factor in Critical Thinking and un-intended consequences at a high level.  Your business and you cannot allow this to happen at this critical juncture.

Based on this premise I urge each of you to take the following approach:

1= Set aside quiet reflective time and think about your upcoming return to the new world.  Write your thoughts down, revisit and add/subtract bullet items.  This can be called a creative exercise.  Do not judge viability or reality at this point.  These are your thoughts.

2= Review them with “trusted advisors” such as family, friends, other professional, a coach or colleague.

3= Do this once for your professional activities, your industry and all related.  Do it again personally and be self-critical. Identify caps and work on closing them.

4=Look for alignment of work and you as well as viability of the two parts of this analysis.  Look for connections and disconnects.

5= Now is time to establish realistic strategic goals, obviously with some assumptions, and prepare to examine what you and others need to set as a tactical road map.  You are now driving the GPS map to achieve the strategy.

6= This should not be done in a vacuum but with viable and collaborative discussions with your team members.  This applies to work and home.  Remember everyone is in this same situation.

A long time ago when I was in Training and Development roles, I used to teach sales training.  Working with experienced as well as new members of a sales team is both interesting and frustrating.  When doing an analysis of why a sale was lost, frequently the responses were always blaming someone or something. Never accepting personal responsibility that they simply did not best meet the buyers needs.  While this is human behavior, it can be devastating in times like we are in today.  Accept reality, yes and no, it is or is not anything you can do about it. But you do control you and your personal and business focus.  Have the strategic discussions after an analysis of what you can predict will be happening over the rest of 2020 and 2021.  This is a conversation with collaboration from all vested individuals.

The summary message is do the 20% first.  Analyze the goals and the reality of them coming to fruition in the established time frame. 

  • Analyze the pro and con issues and roadblocks. 
  • Project forward by bringing in other intuitive thinkers. 
  • Balance personal emotions.
  • Set new or modified guidelines for strategies. 
  • Lay out a reasonable action plan with reasonable goals. 
  • Bring the team together (even if virtual) to discuss and share. 
  • Obtain buy-in from all invested parties and communicate over and over again. 

Being successful will help elevate your personal abilities to navigate the unknown.  Old processes may or may not work, but remember there is no GPS for where we are. Have a great Journey into the unknown future.  Make it a win-win, albeit different than anticipated in 2019.