Change, it drives us crazy sometimes. From earlier closing times to semi-lockdown, from hybrid working back to exclusively working from home. The question then remains: what does next month look like? Most companies have just completed their planning for 2022 and beyond, it turns out things have already changed before the new year has even begun.
Here are 5 steps to embrace change and turn it into opportunity for your organization.
1. From comprehensive planning to rapid business planning
Once again, a large part of our agenda and energy of last few months have been invested into the business planning for 2022 and beyond. A difficult task given all the developments. It is precisely the way in which we deal with these dynamics that determines the success of an organization. The ability to adjust your plan based on new developments and insights; most organizations still find this very difficult.
Stop with the annual comprehensive business planning. This can be done faster and better. In an interactive session, map out together where you want to be in one, two and five years and how each team can contribute to that. (See the Stay Future Proof ambition canvas here). Make your assumptions about the world view explicit and determine what is needed to achieve your goal within that shared context. Then continue to share insights and adjust your plan accordingly throughout the year.
2. From inside-out to outside-in
Success is never an isolated event. Success is largely determined by the dynamics of the market. Because that market is changing ever more rapidly, opportunities arise to add value in new ways in tomorrow’s world.
Therefore, look outward above all. Actively follow developments and seek out the changing behavior of potential customers. Be among your customers, dive into research, keep track of market developments and get under the skin of the customer. (See how our Stay Future Proof Customer Discovery Guide can help you).
Do not forget to share insights within your organization. Then translate what these external developments can mean for your business. Build in a periodic heartbeat to refresh your view of the world around you.
3. From strategy formation at boardroom level to strategy formation in co-creation
Together you see and know more than alone. The days when strategy was only developed in the boardroom are behind us.
Strategy is nothing more and nothing less than making choices. You can make good choices by looking at an issue from different perspectives. Therefore, involve colleagues with different backgrounds, but also partners and customers, in shaping your strategy. Not only will you make much better-informed decisions, you will also ensure that all those involved live and adopt the strategy.
4. From telling what you know to looking for what you don’t know yet
A changing world requires a curious mindset. Because when the rules of the game of business change, the knowledge of how the game used to go becomes less valuable.
Whereas in the past the professional was the person who showed what he knew, today he is the one who knows how to ask the right questions and look for what he doesn’t know yet. Someone with a curious nature who shares knowledge and knows how to combine this knowledge with new angles and insights.
This requires you to be aware of assumptions you make as a person or an organization. In addition, it requires skills to validate or invalidate assumptions properly and quickly. Finally, you need to understand how to practically apply the insights you gain. Validation skills are very important in a world full of change and dynamics, but often still limited in organizations.
5. From rigid to flexible
Finally, being able to successfully respond to change requires flexibility. Yet we have often organized ourselves in a way that made perfect sense a decade ago, but no longer matches today’s context. The traditional planning process is one example. Another example is the lost time and energy of budgeting or getting approvals from multiple counters and levels within the organization.
There must be room in the process and the organization to quickly translate new developments and insights into your strategy. In addition, it is important that resources are reserved to implement the new strategy and to develop new initiatives when opportunities arise. As an organization you want to have the flexibility to, in addition to existing business, also be engaged in new, future ways of value creation to identify and capitalize on new opportunities.
Where change occurs, opportunities arise. Signal them, validate them and implement them. In short, embrace change.
Best of luck in 2022!
Want to get started with strategy, innovation or transformation and are curious how we at Future Proof can help? Feel free to schedule a (virtual) cup of coffee with us at Hello@StayFutureProof.com.