If anything became clear out of the global pandemic of 2020-21, it is how many businesses and leaders had done a miserable job at strategic planning – And, worse yet, how many global leading think-tanks and consulting firms were caught with their pants down at their client’s expense!
The number of organizations dispensing information, articles, SOPs 18-to-24 months after the world started shutting down in 2020 is endless, and quite embarrassing actually. One-Hundred percent of our clients assumed a transformational role, not a change mindset role, during this time window and deployed what strategic guidance they were already committed to, and for those reasons they dominated their respective markets.
Imagine that there are always three categories of businesses and leaders in good times, normal times and in challenging times: Thrivers, Survivors and those that Die.
If we were to roll back the clock and had a gathering of business leaders in one room in January 2020, and each were asked by show of hands, “Do you have a strategic business plan for this coming year?”, most would easily have had raised their hands. If the same group were asked by June 2020, “How many of you are finding your annual strategic business plan has been thrown out the window?”, an equal number of hands would probably have gone up.
In fact, in my thirty years of business and business advising, it is far too often the case that when I ask people if they have a Strategic Business Plan, most say yes. When asked to hit print and send it to me, most fidget at realizing they don’t really have one or that it was too grandiose. And, for the small percentage that actually do, few of them actually use it as a living document daily-weekly-monthly-quarterly to ensure annual success – the very success measurements, goals, KPIs they created.
Years ago, I was the featured Keynote Speaker at an AICPA Annual Conference of the top 100 CPA Firms in America, their operating Senior Partners were the audience. When I pushed these very questions to them, along with succession planning survey questions, it was staggering at the percentages recorded in real time of my presentation and displayed at the front of the room. That night one of the Senior Partner’s of a leading firm shared a horrific anecdote with me at the reception – while we engage in this work for our clients, the reality is we are making so much money, we don’t really care about what they do in between our meetings!
Here are a few KPI considerations for your Annual Strategic Business Plan, albeit not conclusive, that the pandemic put a spotlight on as blind spots for most. And, your plan should be benchmarked monthly against executable deliverables to ensure you are on trajectory.
If the smart business leader learned anything through this decade’s disruption, is that every decade for the past Century has held at least one massive global economic shift/trajectory change, that challenged all businesses to evaluate what they were doing before, within and after that disruption!
And to those that apply the Business Disruption Cycle™ (or variational of the Grief Cycle used in psychology as a bell curve) to who they are, disruptions will always be leveraged opportunities.
Consider this Business Disruption Cycle model (and feel free to add KPI’s on either side and within the ascension and dissention as appropriate for you).
Annual Business Planning to Monthly Execution Planning comes down to a few simple macro measurements. Most people like to wake-up each day and have to some degree a set of expectations, routines, norms or standard-operating-procedures (SOP) to play by. When these are interrupted or disrupted, most people simply want to know the new expectations, routines, norms or standard-operating-procedures (SOP) to re-appear in a manner in which they can understand, embrace and execute. Consider these:
- KPI (Key Performance Indicators) of what excellence via goals, accomplishments, new roll-outs, progression analytics, performance scorecards, etc., looks like step-by-step must be clearly identified; To be transformational your leaders and SME’s should strategize what this looks like and must be in best of times and identify what these may look like in the worst of times!
- Second, these will directly correlate to the executable TDRs (Tasks, Duties and Responsibilities) necessary from both the human capital via positions and jobs to the automation and technology; To be transformational your leaders and SME’s should strategize what this looks like and must be in best of times and identify what these may look like in the worst of times!
- Third, this then will make obvious the KSAs (Knowledge, Skills and Abilities) that both the human capital and or automation owns and must execute; To be transformational your leaders and SME’s should strategize what this looks like and must be in best of times and identify what these may look like in the worst of times!
However, for most people the reality when an interruption or disruption appears, is to go into a series of self-defeating and self- alienating actions – psycho drama. As indicated in the Business Disruption Model above, at any interruption or disruption point, the SOPs/NORMs are challenged and human emotion and psychology are triggered. The amount of or percentage of time one spends ascending the bell curve in “denial” endeavors, “anger” episodes or “blame” gaming, only hinders ultimate success and can actually create the trajectory that derails one into survival mode, or worse yet a decline and death spiral.
Here are a few strategic questions to be asking and addressing into your Annual Strategic Business Plans that will directly impact our Monthly Execution Planning endeavors – and impact your ability to forecast impending interruptions or disruptions to your organization. And, yes, incorporate your already known Best-Practice regimen, After Action Review data, Root-Cause Analytics, etc., consider:
- If we benchmark our last three years financials (AP/AR) against our then plans, what would it reveal as to patterns, target goals/KPIs accomplishments or unexpected pivots made in that period? Then, how was that leveraged in the subsequent year?
- What are the analytics of our performance Scorecards by SBU (inclusive of all layered iterations therein) and Individual and did it matter?
- Do we know, what are/were the analytics of our rivals/competitor’s performance Scorecards by SBU, Individual or in General and did it matter?
- What are our core deliverables and how are they market connected?
- What is our capacity limitations and opportunities?
- What market challenges and challengers are there now and in our foreseeable future?
- How secure are we in our Human Capital/SMEs retention and engagement? And, what is our onboarding ability for future labor and talent acquisition?
- How do we leverage our assets and human capital in thriving times, sustainment times and in challenging times?
- How do you know if your Human Capital is outperforming market potentials, performing to market-share opportunities, or merely appear as a rock star internally and coasting?
- Where are the current opportunities for our business and where is the emerging business opportunities?
- What is our GO/TO plan at the moment of interruption or disruption? And, who are the critical SME’s to be involved?
The ability for organizations and individuals to encounter an interruption or disruptions and have already calculated that KPI happening (transformational thinking and leading), allows one to leverage opportunities and gain momentum within the marketplace. This subsequently, allows one to pull and unite energies at “Acceptance” and immediately deploy or engage in “Option” ideation to maintain success and experience even greater success within the Business Disruption Cycle™.
Another critical lesson learned when the ENRONs (2001-2008; Adelphia, tyco, MCI, LEHMAN BROTHERS, Washington Mutual, Arthur Andersen and many other global brands) of the world imploded, that all of the power pundits, consulting firms and academics all missed, came true once again in 2010’s economic recession to hit America, and then 2020-21 global pandemic, only proved our models (Dr. Jeffrey Magee | Leadership Mastery Series) to be massively correct. And, three additional strategic essentials to be the secret sauce to SUSTAINED WINS when everyone else is falling!
Accurate monthly strategic planning execution reveals why many thought of these implosions as accounting failures, and many new laws, regulatory processes and procedures followed to address what became a favored business school case study implosion for years. Yet, the real talent issues that lead to these implosions were completely missed by all involved – and to this day still missed!
If anything became clear out of the global pandemic of 2020-21, what was it to your organization and to you professionally individually?
How have you made yourself as bullet-proof as possible from the lessons you learned, as you enter this next decade?
LEADERSHIP MASTERY Executive Series: In this brand-new series of columns, Dr. Jeffrey Magee. Part one discusses perspective – Own Your Next Business Disruption Cycle!
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