Sparking your organisation’s growth potential
Organisations were blindsided by the onslaught of COVID and forced to swiftly shift to a ‘new business normal’ as a means of survival. As we all acclimatise to the far-ranging implications, it’s now become a question of how we quickly we can reorient, evolve and bring to life new sources of value and opportunity.
To uncover our potential for growth and accelerate our momentum, we need to draw on ideas that help us see the status quo with fresh eyes, with objectivity and with dispassion.
The ongoing COVID crisis has significantly impacted the majority of Australian businesses, breaking the anticipated trajectories of their strategies, budgets, forecasts and growth plans. Customer priorities and preferences have shifted significantly. Delivery and freight delays have become commonplace. For many, we've lost perhaps both customers and staff, and we've had to hurriedly adjust to enable our workforces to operate remotely. Together with the challenges of extensive shutdown periods, these things have changed the way many of us think about, go about and do business.
And it’s likely that we’re just getting started on this “great reset”.
There’s no going back.
Over the last 12 months, what we’ve seen accelerate are new and increasing demands for tailored services, faster deliveries, more relevant sustainable products and outstanding, personalised customer experiences, delivered with greater convenience and choice. This has caused many businesses to re-engineer not only their product and service offer, but also to re-examine, streamline and localise supply chains, distribution channels and workforces. In some way, we’re all facing into the often harsh implications of the new reality to re-evaluate what we do, the value we add and how we do it.
It’s clear that things can’t - and won’t - return to pre-COVID normal. As consumers, for example, we’re coming to expect that we can access health and medical services remotely on demand. We now want greater choice about how we shop, and when and how we receive our groceries and other purchases. We’re becoming increasingly sensitised to our relationship with the environment, how those around us impact us and how we impact them in return. And we’re expecting that yes, of course we can work from home and only visit the office when absolutely necessary!
Faster. Easier. Better.
Businesses now need to rethink how they remain relevant and sustainable under these conditions. We’re seeing many re-think their employee-employer relationships and propositions. They’re uncovering ways to become more agile, flexible and nimble. They’re exploring how to more quickly adapt to and roll out change. They’re experimenting with new technologies in the name of service, speed and productivity. They’re listening to customers like never before and adapting their products and services real time to evolving customer views, needs and desires. And they’re turning a laser-like focus to finding bright spots for growth and opportunity, while embedding and streamlining strong operating foundations.
Signalling with strategy.
What’s becoming increasingly clear is that for the majority of businesses, the strategies and approaches to business planning of old don’t cut it any more. Once when we had greater certainty, we could plan for the next 2-3-5+ years. Senior executives were the ones who were seen to have all the answers about the future. We had the time to waterfall our projects over time periods that just don’t make so much sense any more. We could rely on customers to conform to how we wanted to do business with them. We could make changes first and then circle back to train our people (or not!), or just find new people who had the mindsets and skillsets that were needed.
What we know now is that success and sustainability will more often be a result of a focus on delivering sooner with tighter time-frames, embedding stronger up-front governance and quality assurance, building in more frequent proactive feedback loops, iterating our products and services externally and internally, and pre-skilling and pre-loading our people, all supported by rapid decision-making based on evidence and data.
And the place to look for these kinds of signals is often in an organisation’s strategy and business plans. So perhaps ask yourself, how well do your current business strategies reflect these new realities – whether in their content, the paths they lay out, or in how they have been developed?
From the outside in.
To help uncover the priorities for how your business can grow, be profitable and prepare for what’s ahead, find ways to step out and away from what you believe you know. Familiarity and comfort often hide blind-spots of all sizes. Think about how you might distance yourself from all the blood, sweat and tears that you and others have invested to this point.
Imagine as the CEO, you’re taking a sabbatical for the next 8 months. What would you share with the interim CEO about what to watch out for? What insights or apprehensions would you tell her about in confidence, so she might significantly and positively shift the growth trajectory of the business in your absence?
Another idea is to commission a growth potential assessment by knowledgeable, experienced externals so that you receive a dispassionate, arms’ length view of your business. Socialise it with your whole organisation. Canvas ideas and opportunities to quickly close your prioritised gaps. Crowd-source the hypotheses that need to be true, if real growth and profitability are to follow. Engage your people. Have some fun with it!
Or perhaps get your most recent hires into a (virtual) room. These fresh eyes bring gold, so create a structured facilitated process that digs deep. What is it that they notice about how you do business, service customers, engage people compared to other businesses they’ve worked for and with? What are/were they surprised to learn when they arrived here? What do they wish would be different, better, easier, faster? How might they keep contributing to what needs to change?
Spark your organisation’s growth potential
So we’re curious: What are the small or big ideas you’ve either used yourself, heard about or might imagine would help your business to spark stronger growth?
Feel free to either post them below so others can benefit, or share them with Elisa at email@example.com. I’d also be glad to chat through how you might set up game-changing growth ideas in your organisation.