Planning in a Post-COVID World

My guess is that the plans you made for your business at the start of 2020 did not carry you through the year.  If you threw out your plans and didn’t start again, you are not alone.  Now as we head towards ‘business as usual’, and we start putting new plans in place, what do we base our considerations on?

McKinsey’s report ‘The Future of Work after COVID-19’ states that “the pandemic accelerated existing trends in remote work, e-commerce and automation”.  So, what is the impact on strategic planning?

To answer that, we need to consider the three aspects of strategic planning – the process, the content and execution.

  1. PROCESS

In my view the process of planning post pandemic should not change from what you were doing before, if you are following best practice.  In other words, at the strategic level, you will still need to:

  • Review the current Mission statement and assess if it is still valid for where you are today – in terms of product and/or service.
  • Review/Define the Vision – where we want the organisation to be at some point in the future.
  • Review the Corporate Values and amend if appropriate.

Then you need to look at how the organisation will achieve its vision.  This includes considering:

  • Strategic Objectives and the expected Results.
  • Strategic Performance Measures.
  • Strategic Organisation-wide Initiatives.
  1. CONTENT

In terms of the content of your plans in our post-COVID world, I believe that we will see more Strategic Initiatives than previously because of enhancements to working practices that will require organisation wide changes.  Inevitably there will be a need for investments in capability, skills, infrastructure and resources throughout the organisation. The ultimate responsibility for this lies with the Board.

McKinsey talks about capability building as a strategic advantage and poses the question for all levels of employees:

  • What capabilities are going to be absolutely critical for our organisation going forward?

The resulting plan, owned by the Board, should then address these critical requirements.

As the strategy is cascaded to the various divisions/departments for them to develop the operational plans.  The process here should also remain the same, again, only if they were following best practice before.  The starting point would be:

  • An understanding of their purpose within the organisation.
  • Knowledge/understanding of the strategic objectives.

It is then up to them to consider which strategic objectives they can directly impact, and develop their own plan to achieve that.

Too often I see every division/department linking to every strategic objective.  What should happen is that you ask yourselves “Where can we make the biggest impact?”.  That is where your focus should be – not spread thinly over all the objectives.  By doing that, everyone is working towards the vision for the organisation and ‘doing what they should be’ to make that happen.

  1. EXECUTION

The execution of strategy in a post pandemic situation is really the same as any other time, as long as the planning is completed correctly.  I’ve already created a three part series of articles on the execution of strategy which you can read here.

If your organisation needs help with planning for its future, get in touch with Lavery McGlynn today.

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