A Strategic Plan For Extreme Disruption

By: • 11 months ago •


How do I prepare a Strategic plan for the unexpected?

When it comes to strategic planning, I’m often asked the obvious question: “How do I prepare a strategic plan for the unexpected?”

Well, that is exactly the point!

It is surprising just how many business owners have simply never written down a plan.

One with enough detail to follow; with a well thought out sequence of steps to take when things aren’t going “according to plan”.

In the personal development universe, the focus tends to be placed so much on a mental picture, that we can forget some of the basics… Visualization and goal setting are at their most powerful when you write it down!

A strategic plan is a tangible document that you can show the bank or the management team.

Corporations labour over large complicated documents, SMEs who want to remain nimble should keep them concise.

Clarity of Purpose

If you look up the definition of strategic planning, you will find that its purpose is “to strengthen and protect your position in the marketplace and to align the team behind a vision”.

You then need to lay out the steps towards the implementation of that process.

You established a business because you can provide a solution (product or service) to solve a problem for somebody. Your passion and purpose hopefully align with that solution.

Then your vision, values, value proposition and strategic objectives are clarified.

Work out: Where are you now? Where are you going? What’s your competitive advantage? How will you use that? Prioritise strategies and transform those into actions.

Constant Change

The thing to remember is this: If you are not constantly moving forward then you will get left behind. The world is moving rapidly, and the rate of change of this evolution is increasing.

If you think about that poor old frog… the one who does not notice the temperature of the water increasing until he gets boiled to death, you appreciate that disruption is a constant. Thus, a Strategic Plan ought to be a living document, with a continual improvement process embedded in it to prompt progress.

The Disruption

Now, what about the unforeseen?

The point is this: How can you prepare for disruption if you can’t see it coming?

Sir Isaac Newton, the very same man who gave us “For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction” and clearly a man of great intellect, was financially ruined because he allowed the heart (emotions) to over-ride the head (logic).

chart 1

At the crux of the matter is the observation that Albert Einstein made, telling us that we would not be able to solve our problems with the same thinking that created them.

Risk Management

How do you build a Strategic Plan to lessen the impact of a major disruption to your business?

The answer lies in risk management. Logic.

This is a key point. In the world of business and money, the reward lies where there is risk. The smartest folks will manage the potential return on that investment against the probability of loss.

Humans use about 5% of their mind to consciously interpret the flood of data coming in through their senses. The 95% that is handled by the unconscious mind (values, beliefs, attitude, emotion), also runs in the background to keep us breathing, standing upright and dilating our pupils in the darkness.

Risk mitigation (flight or fight) was handled unconsciously when we were cavemen – it kept us alive.

Strategic decisions and planning how to survive a harsh winter, or how to read economic signals when running a business, is now a conscious process. It can’t be done effectively without understanding the data that’s going to impact those decisions. Leaving this to emotion and the unconscious mind might lead to financial disaster!

Learn about, or seek advice on, the 5% that affects your finances.

Maybe not so unexpected?

Look at these charts, and you can begin to understand some clues in things like business cycles that will cause “unexpected disruption”, even though the unexpected has a high probability of occurring!

Then, make a plan!  See these:

chart 3

The Process

Ask questions. Drilling down further on the answer to each question will produce a sequential set of points that can be teased out into a plan of action.

Try using: “For What Purpose”, or “And Then What”. Ask this of each answer 6-10 times in a row.

In various roles over the past decade, I have been able to design a number of disruptive models – in response to disruption itself!

Disruption is here to stay. Be Prepared.

You might like to read a case study here. This was in an environment where interest rates were creeping up to over 50% p.a. The strategy we rolled-out, reduced that rate by half to the borrower, and resulted in a 95% industry-wide market share for us.

Paul Manning

Paul Manning
MBA, B.Sc.Agric, Dip. Project Management

Paul has proven abilities to critically analyse macro problems and develop and lead a vision.

Having lived and worked in some of the most challenging economic environments imaginable, including a civil war, economic sanctions, price controls, and subsequent hyperinflation and financial collapse, he brings a depth of problem-solving and strategic planning that few other business advisors have experienced.

Link with Paul here.

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