Believe it or not, there was a time when the economy was predictable. Now it’s more of a distant relic than a familiar memory. Market crashes and corrections were the exceptions at the time, while repetition of tried-and-true business theories was the norm (think Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000 hour rule).
As a result, strategic planning and goal setting became highly systematized and an all-too-familiar organizational process took root. It looked like this:
- Conduct an annual meeting and set goals.
- Put together a plan that employs the company’s hard earned expertise and insights.
- Begin to execute the plan.
Today’s reality, however, is much different:
- Conduct a meeting and create a plan.
The economic climate changes – A competitor disrupts the market, the economy swings up or down or both, an opportunity arises, consumer trends change, etc.– or, as we are currently witnessing, the world has a major health pandemic and the result is…
- The expertise and insight no longer lead to the goals that were set.
- The goals are no longer attainable or are no longer relevant.
- Organizations chastise the team for failing to meet the goal.
In our new world, this constant volatility versus the predictably of the past has led to a better way of doing business. Instead of setting sweeping organizational goals, we follow a different planning process.
We begin by pinpointing a company’s purpose, values, and identity. These insights help inform the organization’s systems, processes, and structures. Using KPIs and other metrics we can measure how well all three are performing, effectively optimizing the organization to get the best results.
In addition, strong organizational systems, processes, and structures must be built with the following insights in mind:
- They must interact with the economic climate to build a feedback loop, which provides near real-time information on the performance of the company.
- They must be agile and respond to the feedback quickly, acknowledging that they may change often.
- They must clearly reflect the purpose, values, and identity of the organization which may also change with the climate.
From Machines to Living Organizations
These systems, processes, and structures are the factors that bring life to an organization. If the old analogy of organizations was that of a predictable machine prone to breaking under external forces and too much stress, the current analogy is that of a living organism that grows stronger in response to stress, regardless of economic changes and unforeseen environmental circumstances.
Psynet Group is always here when needed. Contact us to have a conversation about the pandemic, the death of goal setting, or even strategies for uncovering your organization’s identity.