The pandemic was a massive shock. Although some scientists had suggested something like this was pretty much inevitable, it is doubtful Governments, let alone businesses, included it in strategic planning considerations. Just as organisations responded to the pandemic and the arrival of inflation and disrupted supply chains, we were hit by a major war, which is resulting in consequences that are hard to determine.
The thing is, good strategic planning has always suggested that we should consider the likelihood of ‘exogenous impacts.’ Not necessarily knowing what they might be, but considering how an organisation should adapt quickly to them, is pretty fundamental to most organisations. This could include provisions for rapid decision making, making available financial reserves or short term changes to policy. Having an ability to react quickly to unforeseen challenges can help organisations respond to change, can help them prosper or at least survive.
The level of understanding of strategic planning processes, even in organisations of some size, is pretty poor, with many excelling at budgeting and forecasting but not really addressing corporate strategy as a whole, by product or service. Deploying strategic planning tools like PESTLE can help people look at the market place in a much more holistic way and act as a buffer against incremental and unimaginative planning and forecasting.
Arguably we’ve never needed good strategic planning more than we do now and hopefully one of the legacies of recent shocks is that we look at how we do it.
By Steve Bedford | Conical Director