You have a strategy? Great! But how robust is it? Will it endure a crisis? Is it future proof? Many companies struggle with these issues.
How do we know if we are heading in the right direction? How can we keep our critical eye? And how do we bring it into practice? No worries, TomorrowLab at your service!
Where are you going?
First things first. What is your company strategy? Employees rarely answer this question correctly. Yet, employees perform better when they understand where their company is heading. Start with translating your strategy into a concrete & comprehensible format. For example: translate a strategic domain or crucial pillar and visualize it in a strategy roadmap. Other options are a strategy map or a strategic plan. There is no one size fits all. But this exercise obliges you to think about what the crucial pillars of your strategy are and what you want to achieve. Use storytelling to really incorporate the story into your organization's DNA. Whatever you do, communicate internally and with your stakeholders.
Challenge it, stress test it: what are the flaws and hidden opportunities?
By stress testing your business strategy, we discover how resilient your business strategy and business plan is in the face of all the external factors, trends and challenges that are coming our way. It gives a clear overview of the weaknesses/points for improvement and the focus points. The core question is: do you provide sufficient agility in your strategy to respond to the impact of certain events, like covid, on your business?
Make time to capture future trends. Which trends are critical to your industry and will influence it? Involve other verticals as well. How will they affect your business models? We often see that events trigger the acceleration of trends. Digitalization, car usage, our focus on health, all have changed in a short period of time, due to the coronavirus. Although these trends had already started before the coronavirus pandemic, they have accelerated. You know what they say, there are only 3 things certain in life: death, taxes, and the fact that today's strategy won't work tomorrow ;-)
How do we bring this into practice? For some clients we create an early warning signal setup. This helps to respond to the trends on a timely basis. We do this on a quarterly basis, together with the team, based on the PESTEL framework. This is a starting point to extract the most important action points for your organisation. The added value of this approach, is that employees participate in the strategy process and become more aware of what is happening outside their own business. At the same time, they feel involved. So, it is a win-win!
Strategy is still something that many business leaders pay too little attention to.Dorien Piessens
In business, you are constantly dealing with the future and uncertainties. But who knows what will happen in 10 years? How can you prepare your business? In times of rapid change and uncertainty, management must consider multiple future possibilities. Strategic foresight provides the means to do just that. With foresight techniques, you explore a wide range of plausible future scenarios that could potentially impact your organisation. Strategic foresight uses forecasts, exploration of alternative futures, analysis and feedback to produce or modify plans and actions of the organisation. The result? You are ready and able to respond to the uncertainties and guide the organisation through them.
Focus is king
Focus is something we all struggle with. There are so many opportunities and so many things that are interesting: digital, blockchain, AI and do not forget about doing something with data. This prioritization can be hard, but is inevitable. Remember Steve Job's quote "I'm as proud of many of the things we haven't done as the things we have done. Innovation is saying no to a thousand things".
A tip to help you prioritize, is to not lose sight of your primary customer in your innovation strategy. It is possible to target new segments or audiences at the same time. Or explore new markets. Great, but keep in touch with your current primary customers and their needs. Good portfolio management helps to balance your innovation strategy. These choices help you to allocate resources based on criteria that are important to your strategy, so that you can make the right adjustments.
A system that keeps you going
There is no black and white answer in how to organize your business strategy. Strategy is still something that many business leaders pay too little attention to. Which is only logical if you must run the daily business and steer it through a crisis. But it is important to embed strategy more structurally into your organisation. Take time for it and discuss it.
Strategy must be interwoven with daily operations. Put clear responsibilities for the follow-up. When will we meet, who will be in the meetings? We organize annual roadmap reviews meetings with our clients. We evaluate the strategy based on innovation roadmaps, we look at whether the proposed KPIs have been achieved. Are we still going in the right direction? These sessions are based on the insights from the Early warning signals set-up or by trend sessions.
Strategy stress testing
Get critical employees involved!
Strategy is not something you can do alone in a small dark room with a handful of directors. Get critical innovation minds involved in the process. This is often the strength of startups: participation. Prevent bureaucracy and hierarchy from slowing down your organisation. Do not be afraid of feedback. Embrace it. Of course, we must make sure that it is based on facts, trends, refutable assumptions and not on mere feeling. A good innovation culture will foster this trust and promote ownership. An organizational network analysis can help you spot these critical innovative minds in your organisation and help you strengthen your business.
Get everyone on board
- A strategy is something that must be supported by an entire team.
- Make sure you clearly communicate the choices that have been made, the change of direction that has been initiated. Make sure your story gets told, inside and outside the organisation.
- An innovation culture is key. Passion and support are indispensable. If employees understand the values or why certain things are put in place, then success is one step closer.
Feel free to get in contact with our experts, we support you with a variety of expertises.
- Future trend session
- Future Foresight
- Early warning systems
- Strategic planning
- Innovation roadmaps
- Innovation portfolio
- Innovation culture
This Strategy Stress Testing program is an assessment of how your current strategy and business model perform under realistic but severe or unexpected market changes. Across different phases and through challenging questions, your business will be examined, the most critical future challenges will be identified, and pathways to address these challenges will be determined.