Peak performance and the likelihood of achieving growth toward full potential are rarely solely under the control of the individual doing the job. Instead, it is influenced by the institution in which they work. Determining the organizational position and identifying areas that may need to change requires asking some pointed questions. Are the right resources in place? Is the proper structure in place? Is the right leadership in place? Is the culture appropriate to allow strong performance?
There is a subtle but important difference between being agile and responsive versus reactive to unprecedented and sustained disruptive events. In addition to ensuring your organization has a robust long term strategy that speaks to a 3 year horizon, PulvermacherKennedy and Associates (PKA) recommend adopting a pandemic-fit agile approach to strategy. Reviewing and optimizing strategy at frequent intervals will enable your organization to mitigate emerging threats and harness ever evolving opportunities
As the burden of COVID-19 shows signs of easing across Canada, organizations are cautiously navigating the unchartered waters of the ‘new normal’. While there is a measure of relief, the realization that the pandemic- stricken operating environment is constantly and fundamentally changing is an ever-present concern.
Addressing challenges and maintaining an organizational position of strength requires adopting strategy that is both future-fit and sufficiently agile to deal with the ever-shifting challenges of the current internal and external environments.
Future-proofing your organization is a team sport, requiring input from all players. PulvermacherKennedy & Associates (PKA) recommends three key focus areas for organizations seeking to adapt their strategy and position themselves for a successful present and future amid the pandemic.
See the current climate as a positive pivot point for present and future business leaders
For many businesses, the prolonged and compounded effect of uncertainty, anxiety and stress fatigue can strain relationships between transitioning business leaders and the next generation. Times of great flux can put all members of a team under tremendous stress, causing uncharacteristic outbursts, tension and anguish. “Facing and overcoming challenges external to the organization is often a difficult and lengthy process when there are unresolved internal issues hampering business performance,” says Luzita Kennedy, Managing Partner at PKA.
By conducting difficult but essential conversations clients can achieve smooth business transitions, empowering teams and bringing about a seamless translation of strategic vision into business plans and budgets.
“Unity in a business is a powerful force for success and sustainability. By addressing internal challenges in a constructive way, business leaders across generations can place the organization on a solid recovery and growth trajectory,” Kennedy asserts.
Plan for tomorrow and today concurrently
While Canada’s COVID curve appears to be flattening, some of our closest trading partners are in a vastly different, and deeply worrying position. “I’ve heard the words ‘when will this end’, uttered by friends, family members, colleagues and clients”, Kennedy remarks. “I think we need to constantly process the reality that the landscape has shifted and will continue to shift. Planning for a three to five-year horizon is still important, but equally important is addressing the emerging challenges on a weekly, monthly and quarterly basis,” she adds.
As a leader, having a clear vision for the post-crisis future is essential, as changes that may have unfolded over an extended period may now happen far more rapidly (Johnson and Suskewicz, 2020). Kennedy emphasizes that for owners to maintain and grow their businesses, they will need to keep one eye on the future, and the other firmly on the present. “We’re not on the other side of this pandemic. To excel, astute business owners need to look both far and near, adjusting business models and strategy to fit the environment,” she observes.
Exercise agility by reviewing strategy at frequent interval
While an annual or bi-annual strategic review may be sufficient under normal circumstances, the uncertainty created by COVID-19 calls for a far more agile approach. Frequently reviewing strategy enables business owners and their teams to gauge whether or not the approach is still relevant, empowering the organization to course-correct quickly. “In order to keep a finger on the pulse of your business and respond swiftly to changes, we recommend that you consider reviewing strategy on a quarterly basis,” Kennedy explains.
The pandemic has undeniably influenced the need for organizations to adopt a more malleable approach to strategy and business models (Howard, 2020). Kennedy highlights that selecting appropriate metrics is crucial to measuring and understanding where the business is headed. “The choice of which metrics to put in place requires careful consideration. Once you’ve selected fit for purpose metrics that align with your long-term strategy, it’s important that those metrics are frequently reviewed and utilized to inform the effectiveness of that strategy in the short term,” Kennedy expresses.
Navigating business change during an unprecedented time of global uncertainty can be daunting.
“When facing uncertainty, it’s a great comfort to know that expert assistance is readily available when you need it. PulvermacherKennedy and Associates is committed to partnering with clients, ensuring that their strategic approach positions them for sustained business success,” Kennedy concludes.
“Our clients, both in family owned and non-family owned organizations, have invested significant resources to build thriving businesses,” expresses Kennedy. “When you’ve poured your heart, soul and financial resources into a venture, you want to make sure that what you’ve built doesn’t get eroded,” she adds.
Kennedy explains that taking a tailored approach suitable for the nuances of each business they serve enables PKA to deliver value by drawing on the experience and expertise of their team.
“By facilitating timely conversations and sharing insights with our clients, we’ve been able to facilitate the process of crafting agile strategic approaches, and aid the development of pandemic proof business models,” she expresses.
Johnson, M. and Suskewicz, J., 2020. Leaders, Do You Have A Clear Vision For The Post-Crisis Future?. [online] Harvard Business Review. Available at: <https://hbr.org/2020/04/leaders-do-you-have-a-clear-vision-for-the-post-crisis-future> [Accessed 23 July 2020].
Howard, C., 2020. Reset Your Business Strategy In Covid-19 Recovery. [online] Available at: <https://www.gartner.com/smarterwithgartner/reset-your-business-strategy-in-covid-19-recovery/> [Accessed 23 July 2020].