By Terry McKenna
The Chinese word for Crisis is composed of two characters signifying Danger and Opportunity. The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic of 2020 has forced us into a new and unknown future; the New Normal. What will you choose: Danger or Opportunity? What is your post Coronavirus Countermove? The time to Reboot and Prepare your organization is now!
We’ve all experienced the Danger side of the Crisis Pendulum: lost sales, financial instability, uncertainty, need to reestablish our business footing, new employee, and customer safety first conscious mindsets; Uncertainty, Anxiety, Stress. But perhaps the Opportunity side of Crisis Pendulum, is better: an opportunity to outflank and outmaneuver your competition who may be caught flatfooted, in a retrenchment, cost reduction mode, and slow to respond. When the competition retreats, that is the precise time to double-down; an opportunity to gain ground and leapfrog; an opportunity to Attack!
There is no going back to the pre-Coronavirus economy and “business as usual” because those days are clearly over. Thinking otherwise would be a mistake. It’s a new world for consumers, businesses, and brands. The New Reality is in front of us. We need to: Stabilize, Analyze, and Focus. Before we rush into the New Normal, we should first slow down and re-evaluate. We are compelled to change, improve, and find more creative ways to operate our organizations. We need to quit playing defense and start playing offense. But that requires planning!
1. Reevaluate your Strategy:
Strategy is about winning. To play merely to participate is self-defeating – it’s a recipe for mediocrity. Winning is what matters and is the ultimate criterion of a successful strategy. Leaders who choose to Play vs Win wind up settling for average industry results at best.
Great organizations Choose to win rather than simply compete. Strategy is a way to win and nothing less; a battleplan for winning. Strategy refers to the ways in which an organization’s competitive advantage will be achieved. These include the activities the organization undertakes to gain a sustainable advantage over the competition. A lack of strategy has a clear and obvious result: it will kill you! Maybe not right away, but eventually organizations without winning strategies die. The essence of strategy requires you to make tradeoffs – to choose what not to do. Therefore, the essence of execution is truly not doing it. Your choices should be based on Strategic Fit with your: business model, system of activities, competencies, and capabilities that you can confidently, and consistently deliver to your targeted customers.
Above all, your strategy should be based on differentiation. Sameness is the Danger Zone. Differentiation creates a Competitive Advantage, and competitive advantage provides the only protection an organization can have. Competing to be the best feeds on imitation. Competing to be unique thrives on innovation. How is your organization different from your competition? What can you do better than your competition?
Lack of Alignment is the #1 reason organizations don’t perform at a higher level and produce greater results. Achieving alignment between an organization and its strategy is essential for success. Without alignment, even the world’s best strategy will fail. Why? Because alignment is the link between strategy and execution. Organizational alignment occurs when an organization is aligned with the organization’s strategy, so that the organization’s business model, systems, activities, and talent, all support’s its strategy. The tighter the alignment, the more effectively the strategy will be executed. The tighter the alignment, the better the performance.
Ultimately, no strategy can be better than the people who must implement and execute it. Performance standards and expectations, right people, in the right jobs, trained to perform, held accountable, properly led, and recognized and rewarded for results. Rigorous execution, meticulous attention to detail, with structure and discipline. Alignment! Be sure of this – if you don’t get the metrics right, none of the required behaviors are likely to follow. Your Metrics should reflect Behaviors that are Measurable. You can’t improve what you can’t measure.