The strategy of change
Change is the new normal. If it’s not natural disaster, it’s national pandemic. We are all aflurry with the push and pull of making things work, balancing the unexpected, enjoying some of the consequences while resisting others. Embracing fear and freedom all at once.
“If business is a game of chance, then strategy is a game of choice.”
Almost all business has necessarily had to retreat, pivot, determine what they can change and how in order to absorb the impact of circumstances from unexpected events in recent months. But change need not herald the end, rather a new beginning awaits.
If we are able to step into the uncertainty of change and develop a response that balances strategic and tactical requirements, we might just come out the other side better for the experience. I can’t call to mind an industry that is untouched by this latest set of circumstances over which we have little control. So can we move past the resistance and fear and identify the opportunities? Embed the learning and activate the potential?
If business is a game of chance, then strategy is a game of choice. Defined as a plan of action designed to achieve a long-term or overall aim, strategy embodies the ultimate aim of planning the work then working the plan. Adjusting as required while staying true to the vision and embedding the values in context for operational success.
But how does strategy help the everyday business adapt to something such a abroad scale and unexpected as COVID-19?
Strategy requires us to return to the basics:
Why do we exist?
What impact do we want to have?
What sets us apart from others?
What can we learn from what is happening around us right now?
And perhaps most importantly:
What can we do, discover, develop or deliver to respond to this changed environment?
None of us called for or wanted this eventuality, many of us wonder when or if, we will ever return to what we once called normal. One truth rings as true for business during these tumultuous times as any others: wanting and wondering never produced an outcome.
If we take a trip back to the drawing board, this time might just be a valuable reminder of why we started our businesses in the first place, of what we hoped our professional achievements might yield and of how we might attune ourselves to current circumstances and turn our attention to the future. Growing personally and professionally from the set-backs of COVID-19.
We rely on strategy every day personally, without even noticing it. From the routines that anchor us to the activities that support our growth, we reflect on who we are and what we want and we plan the actions that will help us to realise our goals and ultimately, to evolve. We never really know what life holds or has in store for us, so we stride boldly, assuming that our values, lived experiences and commitments will be sufficient to keep us from harm at the very least and leads us to a bigger version of ourselves at best.
Strategy is intrinsic to humans developing. Yet COVID–19 has many of us running for cover when it comes to our businesses, doing less when it’s time for more, silencing the message when it’s time to speak loud and be proud of what our businesses can and have, done. Now is the time to step out not shrink back. There are opportunities everywhere, even if they are not what you had in mind originally.
Repurpose your skills, reimagine your life. Renew your inspiration. And start again, right here, right now.
Why do we need a strategy? To create a clear pathway through the chaos of uncertainty, to help us chart a path to the other side. To build a bridge between hope and constructive activity that can cancel out the noise and steer the ship to shore. Now, more than ever we need clarity amid the uncertainty. To know that while we can’t control everything, we have influenced what we can.
If change is the new normal then strategy is a prerequisite.