Business Strategy Planning: The Role Of Leadership In Strategic Planning

It has been said that strategy is destiny.

Robert Burgelman’s book notes that, “successful and unsuccessful strategies shape a company’s destiny. But if strategy shapes destiny, destiny has ways of asserting itself and constraining strategy.”

Leadership Resilience and Adaptability in Crisis

In today’s rapidly evolving business world, a crisis can emerge unexpectedly, challenging the strategic foundation of any organization. Strategic leadership is crucial in steering an organization through such turbulent times, focusing on resilience and adaptability.

  • Strategic Leadership in Action: Implement adaptive plans to ensure organizational resilience. Demonstrate essential skills in crisis management.
  • Balancing Stakeholder Interests: Align execution of strategic plans with department and company objectives. Consider stakeholder perspectives in decision-making.
  • Execution of Strategic Plans: Lead by example in maintaining strategic direction. Utilize key performance indicators to monitor progress and success.

The challenges presented by external factors like the pandemic have underscored the importance of agility in business strategy planning. This leads us to a crucial aspect of business resilience – strategic leadership in crafting effective plans for the future.

With COVID-19 many organizations and businesses have had to rethink and re-imagine their business strategy planning in what seems to be a blink of an eye. The tension between shifting strategy and external and internal factors is not new; what is different is the current economic climate and the impact of a pandemic on constraints of business strategy.

The limitations of the pandemic have essentially created lesser degrees of “stragility” or lesser degrees of freedom for organizations to be strategic, agile and nimble in shifting their course of action.

Strategic Leadership in Crafting Strategic Plans

As the business landscape continues to shift, visionary leadership becomes essential in navigating these changes. Leaders play a critical role in revising and aligning the organization’s vision and strategy with emerging market dynamics and opportunities.

  • Updating the Organization’s Vision: Regularly review and update the organization’s vision. Engage in strategic planning processes to align with company goals.
  • Strategy Formulation and Implementation: Develop new strategic goals and communicate effectively for their deployment. Drive successful implementation of new products and services.
  • Innovating with New Products: Lead the development of new initiatives. Ensure strategic goals are achievable and tied to the organization’s long-term vision.

While updating visions and formulating strategies are critical, they are only effective when combined with a culture of empowerment and adaptability within the organization.

Given Canada has 1.78 million SME’s, a bulk of which are in the service sector, it is not surprising then that these companies are hit hard by COVID-19 and the ripple effect of closures, social distancing and economic shrinkage.  Many SME’s do not survive the first 10 years in business; in fact, Statistics Canada notes that SME’s that make it past a 10-year mark are 42.9% in the service industry.  So, is all lost and should small and medium sized business owners just give up? Are the odds just too high?

Absolutely not.  With any crisis there is opportunity.

How might you ask can there be opportunity when my bottom line is shrinking and my business model is no longer robust? 

For the first time in my lifetime, the whole world has slowed down to an unprecedented pace.  Take time to reflect on your current business model and re-evaluate your business strategy planning and what drives it.

Let’s assume the stay at home policies go well beyond 6 months…

  • What can you do differently to keep your business alive?
  • What are you selling and how are you selling it?
  • Are you using various technology and tools to leverage your brands and products?
  • Is your marketing strategy shifting to new platforms and if so, are you tracking your data to inform strategy?
  • Are you shifting your marketing methodology to align with the data and opportunities?
  • Is your marketing integrated in a way to drive profits and sales?
  • Who is your competition and what can you learn from them?
  • Does partnering to complement what you offer make better sense than competing in this environment and allow you to expand the scope of your brand and client base?
  • Can you really step back and look at your company objectively, where it fits in current market and assess it in an arms length objective way?

It has been said if you do the same thing over and over you will get the same results.

Therefore, in a climate of chaos, change is the only constant.

Change and change management, business strategy planning, and more importantly strategic implementation are all critical leadership skills that are absolutely foundational to any organization’s success and sustainability.

It is not surprising then that many SME’s maybe struggling to figure out what next? How do I re-strategize? What are my options and opportunities?

And to be fair, these are difficult questions to answer when you are a leader that is heavily invested in a business you built through hard work and doing what you have always known as best.

Empowering Leadership for Strategic Agility

The ability to quickly adapt to new challenges and opportunities is a hallmark of successful organizations. This section explores the role of leadership in fostering a culture of strategic agility and empowering employees at all levels to contribute effectively to the organization’s strategic goals.

  • Communicating the Strategic Vision: Clearly articulate the organization’s vision and how it ties to day-to-day tasks. Ensure all employees understand and work towards common goals.
  • Role of Leadership in Execution: Enable team members at every level to effectively execute strategic objectives. Foster a culture of accountability and strategic agility.
  • Building a Culture of Agility and Transparency: Motivate employees to embrace new opportunities. Promote transparent decision-making and effective communication for strategic success.

I would suggest companies may want to consider reaching out to a business strategy consultant to get an objective view of their landscape, a fresh set of eyes on their business model, a coach to help them work through perhaps the biggest business crisis they have dealt with – these are all worthwhile investments as they will help leaders and organizations not only re-evaluate what they do and how they do it, they will help leaders retain their confidence in leading change, making thoughtful and smart business decisions and developing new strategies that set the stage for the next phase of the organization.

Because whether we want to acknowledge this or not, there will be a next phase with a new economy and a new way of doing business post COVID-19.

How, as leaders, we reset our business strategy planning, how we use the crisis as an opportunity to rethink our business models, our offerings, our marketing, our strategic partnership and our support systems will all impact and determine if your business is going to be in the 50% that survives in the next decade.

Key Takeaways in Strategic Leadership for Future Business Success

The role of leadership in strategic planning cannot be overstated. Leaders not only guide organizations through crises but also shape the future through visionary strategies and agile approaches. The successful implementation of these strategies is integral to the organization’s longevity and ability to thrive in changing business landscapes.

To further develop your leadership skills, consider enrolling in our Leadership Skills and Executive Presence Workshop. This course is designed to enhance your strategic leadership capabilities and executive presence. Learn more and register here: Leadership Skills and Executive Presence Workshop.