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Throw away that business plan!

Strategy in business: dealing with uncertainty and change

The year is on its way. And? Did everything come out what was in the plan? Or did things go a little differently?

 

In my work as a director of a strategy agency, I am regularly asked to provide a roadmap to success. A step-by-step plan to achieve growth in the coming two to five years combined with an increase in happy customers. Unfortunately, making such a plan is really a waste of everyone’s time: from both the makers and the readers. Why? Because the only roadmap to success lies in how an organization can deal with uncertainty and change.

Value creation: dealing with dynamic

There are so many things today that we have no influence on and that we cannot predict either. So not your business plan, but the way we deal with this dynamic determines the success of an organization. The ability to deviate from the paved path based on new insights. This requires a number of qualities that are not self-evident for most organizations.

First of all, fast planning. The time for static strategy projects is behind us. No planning between four walls at management level, but rapid planning is the motto. In other words: strategy design. By putting all available knowledge on the table and making a sketch of the intended direction to realize the stated ambition. Then go outside in the field quickly to test, refine and adjust these sketches based on new knowledge and insights from the market. An external perspective is then a precondition. We are dealing with a dynamic market. Full of possibilities and opportunities to create value in new ways. To identify these possibilities, the visor must be directed outwards.

In addition, curiosity is essential. Ten years ago, the professional was the person who showed what he or she knew. Today the professional is the person who is looking for what he or she does not know yet. Someone with a curious mindset who knows how to ask the right questions.

Co-creation is an extension of this. Strategy is no longer the domain of management alone. Together you see and you know many times more. So the input for the strategy, and especially how to apply this strategy in daily practice, must come from the entire organization. Preferably also from partners and customers. This increases the chance to identify new opportunities and, above all, to cash in.

And finally flexibility. There must be room in the process and in the organization to quickly translate new insights into the strategy. The organization must not only be able to translate the insights, but it must also have reserved resources to revise and support the approach. In short, possess the ability to go back on her steps and to take new paths. If you want to remain successful in a market that is constantly on the move, then plans based on analyzes from the past offer no solution. A successful strategy requires a different mindset and a different approach. A  dynamic approach with room for new insights!