2021 A Transition Period to Post-Crisis Strategic Planning
Crisis management is not a new topic and strategic planning during the crisis is not either. What makes us think more is the transition period and post-crisis time. What companies did before is the past and it is gone. What we can do is to learn that
"our business history has only one benefit and that is all lessons learned!"
2021 has the potential to turn to a fun year if we smartly understand the texture of the year and wisely plan for it.
As a default, let's agree on a simple fact: The crisis is not gone yet but there is a light at the end of the tunnel. This is what we call a "Transition Period".
Planning in this period needs better understanding of the situation and an intelligent measurement system to enable us for faster reactions. The measurement system can be defined as certain indicators leading the company to the future and indicating the past to understand where we are standing. As you know the KIPs that are showing the past are called lagging indicators such as profit, cashflow etc. In one word, we should understand the business atmosphere to be able to define or redefine our processes. To achieve such an intelligence, we should analyze the crisis from different aspects.
These are the main "must" aspects considered during the transition period:
1. Business Bottlenecks, where we may have the biggest challenges:
A) Volume: It is general but important. Production volume, orders volume, warehouse inventories and many more. Based on the nature of your business, you can develop it.
B) Organizational Capabilities: Problem solving abilities, organizational innovation (for implementing innovation, you can find a great article here from by Janice Molloy on Harvard website.
C) Business Relevance: I already explained it in one of my articles. This is the link.
D) Ambiguity and vagueness: the solution is setting up a great risk management system by defining customized KRIs.
2. Future Trends: Understanding trends in upcoming months or years make the stakeholders confident to plan effectively.
A) Customer Needs: not all futuristic innovations would be wanted. Those products/services that are WANTED by customers survive and others turn to case studies for MBA students. A big focus is needed on the customer pillar of your balanced scorecard to make your business relevant and sustained.
B) Business Authenticity: it's a reflection of reliability. Basically, we should be honest with customers and clients and show them what we are or what we do in reality. In many marketing campaigns companies try to show more but in reality they do less (seem familiar, right?). This is the start point for dragging down your brand! To avoid this, we must be able to measure the image of the company. Simple surveys after buying the product or service seem necessary but not enough! The next step could be focusing on value stream mapping to understand the waste and consequently to increase quality.
C) Resilience: Now that we survived after the crisis, can we tolerate more? What if our competition comes up with better solutions?
To understand our situation better, we should again go back to our finance pillar on our scorecard and also pay attention to measuring market share and asset management.
3. Data, data, data: the reply as words is summarized as below but in practice it needs huge effort
Data gathering system around the business, data understanding, mining and monetizing data. If you are not studying data around your business, do it now! Click here to know why.
KPIs measuring data management progress are being considered as one of the most important measurements recently.
A) Digitalization during the pandemic went beyond the expectations. Many processes became digitized to survive. From simple meetings to training and development.
B) AI & ML are growing in all aspects of business. Here, there is a quick and useful article about AI and the future of it.
C) Mobile: The patterns of connecting to customers are evolving very fast. Apps are changing and platforms are getting old. Millennials were known as Facebook users but for the Z generation Facebook is old style. They are searching for easier and faster contents, products and services. That is why now TikTok is the new trend!
The same goes to your digital platforms. Digitalization is probably the old trend. Now, the focus is on easier and faster connections on mobile. We should all try to develop our contact points with clients and customers on mobile too.
The above article is not a step by step solution for the current situation. Every business has its own DNA and needs its own solutions, therefore I just tried to bring up the necessity of rethinking about 2021 from another channel.
Wishing you all a great year full of solutions and innovation!