Strategic Planning

So, what does your future hold?
When the only thing you can accurately predict is that things will change, strategic planning is extremely difficult to say the least! Here are some thoughts that could help…

The importance of direction
Whatever journey you are on, every decision is made in the context of where you want to go – or should be. For example, no one gets in a car and just drives, yet sometimes that’s exactly what businesses are doing. By comparison, if you had decided to go north to Glasgow and the M6 was blocked (as usual), you might need to take a detour but it would still be in the context of heading to Glasgow.

So, at this difficult time when most companies are having to adapt and change, make sure you are clear where you are going as a business otherwise, further down the road, you are likely to discover you have wasted time and money going in the wrong direction!

The importance of doing something rather than nothing
For some companies, the process of strategy and decision making could be described as Ready, Aim, Fire. In the current climate though, this can lead to inertia at best and paralysis at worst because with the situation so fluid, you will never be ready before the next change is required.

Instead, perhaps it’s a time for being a bit braver and adopting an Aim, Fire, Ready strategy whereby some action to progress towards a clear objective is taken recognising some rapid learning will have to be done as you go along. To quote Abraham Lincoln, “The best way to predict the future is to create it”

The importance of failing faster
It was Albert Einstein who suggested, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results”. At a time when what you used to do maybe isn’t delivering the results you need today, it’s pointless continue doing the same thing but expecting things to improve; this will lead to wasted time, money and opportunity.

Instead, recognise the need to “fail fast” and develop different or better ways of doing things. Accept that many new ideas may not work so again, “fail fast” and keep trying until you find the few that do produce better results.

The importance of data
Accurate and timely data is essential at a time of change especially in spotting whether things are getting worse or improving. Too often though, opinions are expressed and even strategies developed without having all the facts to hand. However, as W Edwards Deming said, “Without data, you’re just another person with an opinion”.

So, what are your critical business metrics? Are they summarised each week/month in a format that’s quick and easy for your key stakeholders to understand and draw conclusions from? Frankly, if it cannot be printed out on one side of A4 paper, there is probably too much information included. Just a tip – if you are looking for improvement, metrics about activity are more important than metrics about results.

The importance of expert advice and opinion
When it comes to something as important as the future of your business, expert advice could make a real difference to what happens for you in the months ahead. Auricas brings to the table business acumen, expertise, opinion, options and ideas based on approaching 40 years’ experience, research and analysis of best (and worst) practice – we know what businesses do well and what they don’t!

We can help you to think more clearly about where you are going, what you want to achieve (and why), how are you going to get there and with whom. Our involvement creates more discipline in terms of getting things done. We also bring an important degree of impartiality to the process; someone who will provide a sounding board for your ideas, challenge your thinking and support you in taking your business forward to “the next level”.

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