May 21, 2020

Steering Your Next

The coronavirus outbreak thrust many businesses into unchartered waters as we faced profound changes to how we live, work, and serve our communities.

Many organizations innovated out of necessity, utilizing digital platforms to execute operationally, and shifted to a remote work environment with human safety and business continuity as fundamental priorities.

Companies found new ways to serve customers while dealing with changing supply chain and market dynamics.

No marathon here. This was an all out sprint.

Our economy experienced a peak and valley in only thirty days. Many people experienced loss.

Whether it was the loss of a job, loss of a loved one, or simply the loss of what once was. We grieve for the way it used to be.

For many leaders, it’s been about developing a strategy for today, and getting the business to tomorrow.

During the pandemic, one leader told me that their strategy had a shelf-life of two days.

We are steering in unchartered waters.

The adage “change is constant” has never felt so true.

With many organizations transitioning back to work, its an important time for leaders because your teams need your leadership.

It’s a time to bring people together, to lead with purpose, and take a focus forward approach.

After all of these abrupt shifts, employees may be feeling grateful for what they have, knowing that millions are unemployed.

But they may also be feeling tired, anxious, and uncertain about what’s next.

If this sounds like the emotional stages of grief, then you’re correct. That’s my point.

Acceptance is the most powerful. It’s the stage that says, let’s take control of our next.

Organizations are facing one of these scenarios:

1. There’s no strategic plan in place.

2. Too much has changed with the existing plan.

If your organization has a strategic plan, that’s an excellent start. But the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on our economy probably warrants either a refresh, or an overall makeover, of the plan.

It’s important to understand the facts around what has changed and why.

Use this information to update your goals, objectives, and action plans to address the most important challenges that you’re facing:

  • External factors including regulatory, legal, environmental, and technology may necessitate an update because of impacts to your industry, competitors, and customers.
  • Internal factors to your business including financial, human resources, structural capital, operational, innovation, and cultural dynamics.

Use strategic planning as a catalyst with your team.

A few months ago, I wrote a blog article about my experience as a CEO, and galvanizing my team to drive our growth forward, and received positive feedback on that piece. The message of finding time to spend on your business, and not just in your business, was a challenge that resonated.

Especially now, it’s important for leaders to shift from reacting to planning.

“When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you achieve it.” – Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

With a remote strategic planning process, it is logistically easier than ever to engage not only your top managers, but also high-potentials and skip-level teammates. Bring together your best thought leaders and people who know the pulse of the organization to help shape the recovery for your company and to drive new initiatives forward.

There are many benefits to the strategic planning process. By reaffirming your overall vision, values, and goals, you are aligning your most important resources towards achieving them.

About Laurie Barkman:

Laurie is the founder of SmallDotBig, a growth advisory firm. With more than 25 years of experience as a CEO and revenue generation leader, she works with entrepreneurs and business leaders to accelerate their success. Contact Laurie at to schedule a remote strategy planning session for your company.

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