Category Archives: Leadership

Preparing for the change that you know is coming.

One of the constants in life, as the 5th Century BC Greek philosopher Heroclitus opined, is change. While this paraphrase of his “no man can step into the same river twice” maxim was true in his day, it is ever more relevant in 2017.

Reflect on some of the change that we have witnessed over the last few decades: the ubiquity of social media, the power of computing that we carry around with us and the cost-effectiveness of DNA testing. We’ve seen the rise of self checkouts and driverless cars. It seems we can make anything we like with 3D printers.

All of these improvements and new ways of doing things. These inventions and innovations that are impacting organisations of all types.

Whether this impact is felt in the way staff approach their job, or the speed at which new competitors arise, or the way technology can bring improvements to your business. Your organisation will continue to be affected by what is going on around you.

So, how do you prepare for what may lie ahead? How do you ensure long term success.

How do you see the risks and opportunities that lie over the horizon.

And how do you prepare yourself to either mitigate these risks or to exploit the opportunities?

In two words – use strategic thinking.

Rather than using standard strategic planning or business planning you need to dig deeper to see what is really happening.

Rather than using environmental scanning or SWOT analysis to see what is happening around you, you need to ask questions about why the change is happening.

And its called strategic thinking for a reason, because it involves thinking!

Consider say cloud computing. All of your competitors and others that you know are shifting to using these platforms. Why?

A simple answer would be that it is cheaper. It is more efficient to just buy the software to run the business rather than all the computers and staff that are needed to run the software.

But dig deeper to find a more profound answer. Ask yourself some questions about the drivers of change.

And these “drivers of change” questions about, in this case, cloud computing, may well lead to the following:

  • Is it because cloud computing can be more responsive to helping businesses respond to competitive pressures?
  • Are competitive pressures mounting because products can be brought to market quicker?
  • Can products be brought to market quicker because of more efficient market research mechanisms?

Taking that last question about efficient market feedback, what risks and opportunities are there for you?

Do you have personnel risks – that you don’t have the right people to implement the market feedback you get?

Do you have systems risks – that you don’t have the right processes in place to gather timely market feedback?

Do you have R&D risks- that you don’t have a culture that embraces innovation and bringing to market new products?

Strategic thinking is the new game in town.

Through strategic thinking you can discover, and prepare for, the risks and opportunities that are over the horizon.

 

For more of what I have to offer, visit Dellium Advisory, follow on Twitter, connect using LinkedIn, or review my IT Strategy blog, or subscribe to my YouTube channel.

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There is change between now and the future – how do you view them both?

Given that we’ll experience the same amount of new inventions and technological change over the next 25 years that we have experienced over the last 75 years, how will your business be affected?

Secondly, given that the volume and value of international trade has consistently accelerated since the early 1950’s, how will our economy be affected?

And given that some of the highest value jobs on the market were not around 10 years ago, how will your career be affected?

Given these things, can we really say that the future is a far off time? Firstly, can we approach our business, including our customers, suppliers and the competition the same as we always have? Secondly, what about the economy? How will the global changes that we are seeing affect us? For example, look to at the trends in China’s economic growth or even reflect upon how the current events across Europe will play out. The question is how will these global changes impact the local markets in which we trade and the social environment in which we live? And finally, what about our jobs, the career we are planning on having?

Yes there are risks. But there are also opportunities. We can look at the glass half empty, or we can see it as half full (as an aside, some wags suggest that the glass is twice as big as it needs to be!).

So, we should be planning for these possibilities. We should be considering the social and economic trends that will be affecting us. We should be weighing up the risks and opportunities afforded by new technologies, by new ways of doing things.

We should be considering the future through more than “business as usual” lens.

Would you consider viewing the future through a dystopian lens or a utopian lens. What about using a lens of greater regulation and discipline?

For the question is: through what lens do you see the future?

For more of what I have to offer, visit Dellium Advisory, follow on Twitter, connect using LinkedIn, or review my IT Strategy blog.

Three Uses of Strategic Planning

Strategic planning can become quite complex.

We can go all in on Porter’s 5 forces, be thorough with our SWOT analysis, develop quite a detailed view of the organisation using the VRIO framework, base the strategic plan on some form of a Balanced Scorecard view, or even think about strategy in terms of the Value Chain.

We might even think of strategy planning and development in terms of the market cycle, even industry life cycle, in terms of diversification, mergers & acquisitions, or even some form of international expression.

But in my view, strategic planning comes down to a mix of the three main uses of strategic planning.

  1. Setting a common vision
  2. Improving resource usage
  3. Uncovering other possibilities

 

With “setting a common vision“, the emphasis of the exercise is to ensure that everyone is going in the same direction. While there may be those who wish to no longer take the same journey as everyone else, the outcome of the process is to raise the organisational flag and set the vision. It’s to get buy-in from everyone. Its to say “this is where we are going, and how we are getting there”.

With “improving resource usage“,  the emphasis is to make sure you have what you need for the journey. It’s a process of uncovering either shortcomings or abundance, of looking at what you have or what you need in order to achieve the vision. Of either doing better with what you have, putting aside the things you don’t need, or investing in labour/capital/resources to ensure your success.

With “uncovering other possibilities“, the emphasis is on finding out alternatives. Whether they be new products, markets, processes, and so on. This could be seen as the province of innovation. While in other posts I have discussed strategic foresight/thinking as solving the “what might we need to do” conundrum, strategic planning is about “what will we do and how will we do it”. Thus “uncovering possibilities” falls firmly within the “what will we do” question.

So, for the obvious question, can you use strategic planning to achieve one or more of these three aims?

 

For more of what I have to offer, visit Dellium Advisory, follow on Twitter, connect using LinkedIn, or review my IT-centric blog.