Rarely does any battle plan survive contact with the enemy. And in business, this is also true—unpredictable market forces interact in such a way that can quickly render a plan obsolete. This is true of one year, horizon one, planning, and especially any 3- to 5-year strategic plan. Hence, organizations need to build adaptive capacity to ensure their people can be more agile in the face of change.
As the New Year begins, leaders should be considering the following strategic planning questions:
- What worked in 2018, and how can we accelerate our advantage?
- Where do gaps remain, and what are the insights behind these that will allow us to take appropriate action?
- What disruptive forces have emerged, and how should we address these?
- In which areas have we chosen to just show up for, or even abandon, so that we can do other things amazingly well?
- If we were starting the business today, where would we place our bets?
- Is the organization deployed in such a way to deliver on our differentiated advantage—and what shifts should we make?
The best companies “ritualize” the habit of coming together often to revisit questions like those above—and involve key leaders, and ideally high potentials, in the conversation. At a minimum, even testing the current plan through an “operational rehearsal” is prudent, as it can highlight risks and untapped opportunities.
Indeed, it is that most wonderful time of the year…and it all leads to very real business financial success—this year and many years to come!