Whether you’re a startup producing the latest innovations or an established organization, your corporate strategic planning process must deliver a dynamic strategy to build agility organization-wide.
The ever-increasing dynamics of our fourth industrial revolution pose serious threats to organizational viability. The business environment is changing faster than ever before—and faster than most companies can match. Organizations have always had to be agile enough to adjust to marketplace challenges or they would cease to exist. But strategic agility is now a business necessity.
Corporate strategic success depends on an ability to be future-oriented, seize external opportunities, and bounce back from unforeseen changes. Leaders must capitalize on market trends and anticipate and respond to change more rapidly, as discussed in the AMA program Strategic Agility and Resilience: Embracing Change to Drive Growth.
Corporate strategic planning
Globally, the business world is awakened to the fact that knowledge management and organizational learning are the new frontiers for competitive leadership and sustainable viability. Individually, this awareness doesn’t come from foresight or innovative strategists, but rather from a demonstrated ability to keep up with the furious pace of changing knowledge—knowledge the business is based on.
In established organizations, the process of scanning the competitive environment, analyzing and responding to the latest data, and weighing these changes often is compartmentalized to annual corporate strategic planning sessions. Achieving the strategy relies on a commitment to multiyear plans.
Yes, long-term strategic planning is a necessity and provides a fundamental organizational focus. However, due to the speed at which the environment is changing, organizations need an active and nimble plan to develop strategic agility that finds its way up and down the org chart and to and from individual contributors.
A corporate plan to create strategic agility
Introducing a corporate strategy for agility creates challenges in all areas of the organization’s ecosystem. For example, in approving and putting forth a “strategic agility plan,” an organization’s members may presume that the organization can pivot from one or more component(s) of the long-term strategic plan at any time and therefore not commit to or act on the key goals of the current path forward. But inaction of this type furthers the risk of the organization remaining stagnant and perhaps “stuck in the middle” versus potentially opening the business to new segments.
Strategically agile and resilient organizations are able to thrive in turbulent times and become as efficient at responding to change as they are at providing the day-to-day framework and leadership needed to produce products and services. To create this alignment, a company must assess the pros and cons to changing the corporate-level strategy, and it all revolves around taking a risk in order to remain viable.
As stated in the AMA program, “Since executing and adapting often require many of the same resources, organizational leaders face the strategic agility dilemma of preparing people, processes and technology to deliver goods and services and the equally vital need to build agile capability and invest for the long run.”
Balancing the concurrent strategies is the real art of operational excellence and execution.
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