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Rethinking strategy: Doing more with less

propelland
Jun 25 · 8 min read
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1. Is your vision still relevant and sustainable?

Very few businesses will emerge unscathed in the COVID era. While your financial year strategy may have clearly delineated the vision, objectives, and activities for the year, changing consumer trends will have had significant financial ramifications for firms. Across all industries, consumer spending behavior is shifting to saving and extreme frugality. According to the Commerce Department, “consumer spending, which accounts for more than two-thirds of U.S. economic activity, plunged 13.6% last month, the biggest drop since the government started tracking the series in 1959.” Companies are finding that what worked before will no longer work today, and a more flexible, proactive approach is required to survive and thrive.

  • Evaluate your corporate social responsibility and values: In light of recent social justice campaigns, it’s also important to ensure that your vision and objectives are in line with consumer expectations. As many as 71% of US consumers believe that companies have a social responsibility to their employees, environment, and community. While many companies are making statements in support of social causes, consumers are savvy enough to confirm that companies match their words with actions.
  • Consider changing the system, if the fundamentals have shifted: International travel has largely ground to a halt, and domestic flights have decreased by as much as 90% in recent months. Travellers are wary to resume flying despite planned initiatives like installing plastic shields in between seats and social distancing measures, resulting in significant revenue loss for airlines and the entire travel industry. Moreover, different demographic segments are reacting differently. While travelers over the age of 60 with health concerns may stay away all together, travelers under the age of 30 are still scheduling summer trips. In travel and hospitality, fundamental shifts will need to occur to reflect a new reality that will be in place for at least a year, if not a few.

2. Do I really need to focus on this right now?

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  • Mid-term (Up to a year) — will this initiative continue your growth trajectory? Initiatives that require more time and resources need to produce results that justify the investment. More than just keeping the lights on, how does each initiative in the mid-term help you hit your financial year targets and allow you to continue to grow in a sustained manner? For example, cost-cutting by reducing headcount does not set you up for sustained growth unless you find a way to automate repetitive tasks using Robotic Process Automation (RPA) or Intelligent Process Automation (IPA). Doing so can increase your operational agility and capacity so that team members focus on the tasks that matter the most to your clients and business.
  • Long-term (1 year and beyond) — will this initiative enable innovation that sets you up for the future? With unpredictability comes the opportunity to try new things, think differently, and drive innovation that grants you a strategic advantage. Often, these initiatives will be pushed back or deprioritize in favor of short term projects or priorities. While innovation (at the best of times, and especially during a recession) can seem amorphous or even frightening to consider, it’s really about thinking differently to do things better, moving you towards your final goal or setting a new one. Take into consideration wider consumer and economic trends that may impact your business in future. Don’t forget that your competitors will be thinking similarly. Many are retrenching during the current crisis to emerge stronger than before.
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3. Am I spending time on the things that matter most?

Not all things are equal. To prioritize and make effective use of time, we can leverage the Eisenhower decision matrix below, as popularized by Stephen Covey in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Here, urgent refers to activities that require immediate attention, whereas important activities contribute to long-term objectives. The challenge in times of crisis is that it can be easy to focus on fighting fires day to day in reactive mode, rather than pushing forward strategic initiatives that create a sustainable advantage. After all, some of your competitors will still be making big moves for their business tomorrow. While these categories are not mutually exclusive, addressing urgent issues doesn’t necessarily move you closer to the end vision.

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The Eisenhower decision matrix — an example of working smarter, not harder

How to get started

The time to act is now. Schedule a meeting with your senior team to cover the following items:

  • Set the team up for success: Help team members adjust to a new way of working that emphasizes agility and long-term thinking with short-term urgency by sharing new group norms. For example, what does a flexible decision-making process look like? Are fewer people involved? Encourage feedback on a regular basis, as this cycle will provide more visibility into potential issues, potentially preventing unpleasant surprises. It’s also important to have clear roles and responsibilities so that team members understand what is expected of them. If a re-organization is involved, establish a communication cadence that emphasizes proactivity and transparency.
  • Acknowledge ambiguity: In the current environment (and beyond), certainty is hard to come by. Every day comes with new swift changes that you will not be able to control. However, setting up an agile organization that is equipped with the processes to react and initiate quickly, can set you up for success. Many organizations are shifting mindsets from everyday business to leveraging an innovator’s mindset.

propelland

collection of thoughts, tips and ideas from the thinkers…

propelland

Written by

we bring ideas to life, to help companies transform and grow designing products, services, and experiences that add value to peoples lives

propelland

collection of thoughts, tips and ideas from the thinkers, makers and hackers at propelland

propelland

Written by

we bring ideas to life, to help companies transform and grow designing products, services, and experiences that add value to peoples lives

propelland

collection of thoughts, tips and ideas from the thinkers, makers and hackers at propelland

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