Moving Ahead in the Face of Uncertainty
As we work our way through the late stages of 2020 (a year unlike any other in so many ways), business owners are attempting to size up the operating environment and what all of this means for their business.
By focusing on what we can anticipate, framing an effective and flexible plan will serve organizations of any size or specialty well.
The accelerated pace of change, advancing technology and increasing competition from non-traditional sources means there is no longer such things as small mistakes. This rapidly changing environment will punish organizations who fail to plan effectively and execute reliably and with predictable accuracy.
Recently, I spoke with several clients who make strategic planning an essential part of their core competency. They did not retreat from planning despite all the uncertainty encountered this year. Rather, they “doubled down” of the practice of disciplined, structured planning and execution. Frequent check-in’s (done even in “normal” times) took on even greater meaning in a vastly different COVID-19 world.
What are some of the reasons executives of leading companies feel so strongly about planning as critical to the continued growth and profitability of their business? Here are a few.
- Consistency in decision making is helped by the planning process. Because allocations of resources are viewed over the long term, future decisions are generally more consistent.
- Direction is clear. The planning process requires management to determine what is important, as well as to state future targets for accomplishments in objective, measurable terms.
- Planning assists problem resolution. As business conditions change, alternatives and contingencies outlined in the plan can be quickly implemented.
- Planning provides a basis for monitoring (to observe an action against a pre-determined standard) and evaluating the performance of the organization and each of its employees.
- Planning helps employees understand the corporate vision, where the organization is headed and how it is progressing against the plan.
One executive said it this way. “Something happens when the management team gets together for a day or two for robust, focused strategic planning. I’m not sure why, but getting away from the day to day operational issues to work on the future of the business creates a different dynamic among our team. Relationships are strengthened, and higher levels of understanding and commitment result.”
Joseph P. Truncale, Ph.D., CAE, is the Founder and Principal of Alexander Joseph Associates, a privately held consultancy specializing in executive business advisory services with clients throughout the graphic communications industry.
Joe spent 30 years with NAPL, including 11 years as President and CEO. He is an adjunct professor at NYU teaching graduate courses in Executive Leadership; Financial Management and Analysis; Finance for Marketing Decisions; and Leadership: The C Suite Perspective. He may be reached at Joe@ajstrategy.com. Phone or text: (201) 394-8160.