I have been thinking a lot lately about corporate strategy and future-focused business plans.
When I dedicate the time and energy necessary to the undertaking of a strategic planning process, I expect long-term payoff for the up-front investment. A three to five-year plan is standard with some expectation of deviation but nothing business-altering. This time horizon allows for short-term wins along with the time required to make larger dreams a reality.
I don’t know of anyone who had a global pandemic on the radar in their plans for 2020. Yet here we are: grappling with the current reality, trying to pivot to minimize the impact and maximize our response. The aftermath is expected to be felt in the long term, and it necessitates a fresh look at strategic planning for the months and years to come.
Since no one has offered me a reliable crystal ball, I am digging in with some tried and true methodologies taught in business school and strategy seminars. These concepts provide the foundation I require to wrap my head around where we are today, where we want to be tomorrow, and the paths we can take to get there.
There is nothing revolutionary about a SWOT and gap analysis, BCG matrix, or a Porter’s five forces chart. In fact, I used to be skeptical of these tools due to their fundamental simplicity. Strategy is complex and layered, so how can a two-by-two grid inform years of future planning? Over the past few weeks, however, I have been drawn back to these foundational concepts and tools. By starting with a few tried and true concepts, I can begin to wrap my head around the larger unknowns. Instead of grappling entirely with the negative aspects, I can take a balanced approach of matching strengths and core competencies up with challenges I see on the road ahead.
Paralysis by analysis is a real problem for me at the best of times and I am on high alert these days. By going back to the basics, I am able to take full advantage of familiar methodologies that help me frame my thinking in terms of the things I know and where I need to gain a deeper understanding. This helps relieve the stress of dealing with an exponentially growing list of threats in the SWOT analysis.
This back-to-basics mindset helps me with my regular work, the strategic planning I am focusing on, and my daily home life. It is surprisingly refreshing to work through both simple and complex challenges using a two-by-two grid to focus my thoughts and determine the next steps. I might not be solving all of the big problems, but I am confident that the work I am doing today is going to pay off tomorrow.
Funding Social Innovation
Persistent poverty, chronic ill health, environmental destruction and more, ….it’s all forcing innovations in the way we tackle some of society’s toughest challenges. Because of their complexity and scope, these challenges, necessitate bold solutions. We’re now starting to see some of these emerging and innovation solutions in relation to social innovation funding, namely in the form of “Impact Investing”.Read More