Business Not As Usual: The Most Important Thing to Do Now to Prepare for an Uncertain Future

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By Chris Cook, Capiche 

Now’s the time to plan for the new normal as we inch back into business. Expectations are different. And your modus operandi had better be different if you want to attract, recapture and retain customers.

Even if you have a strategic plan in place, there’s no doubt it will need a massive re-imagination as the competitive landscape has experienced an earthquake with numerous aftershocks (many still to come) resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.

If you are like most people, when you hear “strategic planning,” your shoulders noticeably slump as your eyes glaze over. You are reminded of that daylong off-site slog of a session that produced a binder that is gathering dust on your bookshelf. 

It doesn’t have to be this way. Over the last six months, I’ve been working remotely with various companies and organizations on strategic planning and I’ve found a better way. Instead of those interminable marathon sessions, I’ve made the planning sessions “snackable.” A palatable series of shorter planning sessions that makes the process invigorating, more productive, and even fun!

The Building Blocks

Strategic planning defines the organization’s goals and strategies and how they will be achieved in keeping with its vision, mission and values. 

It specifies baseline capabilities and potential constraints, improves resource utilization, reduces redundancy, and allows an organization to both create stability and seek opportunity.

Start with SWOT

Revisit that SWOT analysis you did before or create one now. Are there strengths in your client base, market position, products, sales channels, or profitability? Are there weaknesses in your financial resources, staffing, or competitive vulnerability? Are there opportunities to enter new markets, form alliances, pursue M&As, and launch new products? How are the threats surrounding the economy, lack of financial resources, loss of key staff, and more aggressive competition affecting you?

With this information in hand, you can answer these four key questions.

1) Why Does Your Organization Exist?

Refinement of the organizational vision, mission, and values, which define the purpose and function of the organization.

2) What is Your Organization’s Major Work?

Development of strategic goals, which are based on the critical issues and needs facing the organization.

3) How Will Your Organization Complete its Work?

Here’s where we drill down to department-level objectives. Your strategies and tactics will be developed with specific details of implementation written in an action-planning format with SMART goals (specific, measurable, achievable, results-focused, and timebound).

4) What Are Your Staffing, Budget, and Financing Needs?

With all the departmental needs defined and quantified, we round them up to a centralized plan with an organizational structure and budget. If your financing is not at the required level, there are two solutions: either decrease the plan to a level you can afford or raise the capital required to achieve the full plan.

Together Yet Apart

We can create or update your strategic plan in a series of short, highly-participatory workshops. These shorter sessions are easier for your team to schedule since they can participate from their own home. And I’ve found that we can keep things moving, interesting, and completely interactive with skillful use of the many online communication tools available. I selectively use these tools to enhance processes and outcomes. 

The planning happens over a series of four to five weekly sessions lasting between one and two hours each. Using breakout ‘rooms’ and collaboration tools, this format has achieved even better outcomes than the typical daylong in-person marathon sessions.

We begin with SWOT and then move to Vision, Mission, Values, Goals and Strategies. 

Get Started Today

Capiche is currently working with organizations remotely with great success, and we can do the same for you. Let’s get started on your organization’s new strategies for success as we all find our way toward the future. Contact chris@capiche.us or 541-601-0114.

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