One of the best reasons to do strategic planning is to help your team anticipate change. To lead your colleagues to think strategically:
1. Identify triggers. Brainstorm to list variables that can cause change. Examine potential drivers using “TIME” headings (technology, industry, market, event). This means identifying how technological advances, industry trends, market forces and special events (such as political elections or regulatory developments) can affect your business.
Assess the odds of such triggers impacting your organization within a defined time frame. Then plan for the most probable near-term drivers.
2. Imagine different future narratives. Work together to tell plausible stories, capturing what the future might look like.
For example, assume that a controversial regulation becomes law. One year from now, create a narrative that describes how your team is complying with the new rule.
3. Evaluate the customer’s changing role. Define how you’ll treat the customer differently. Will you need to allocate more resources to retain your best clients? Will certain target markets displace the ones you’re currently pursuing? Will you need to adopt new tactics to attract profitable customers?
4. Conduct an internal gut-check. Review your. Explore to what extent employees are ready to embrace change, even if it creates disruptions and uncertainties. Determine whether you possess sufficient internal resources to implement change initiatives—and plug any holes now so you’re equipped for what’s to come.
— Adapted from Business Model Renewal, Linda Gorchels, McGraw-Hill.