The COVID crisis required us all to be as “nimble” as possible and then “pivot” in new directions. However, some organizations were more successful at this than others.
What do we need to do to build the capacity for “strategic agility” in our organizations so we can handle future challenges? A recent article in Harvard Business Review provides some insights. The authors suggest that we need to pay attention to the Three “A”s: Avoid the worse impacts, Absorb a lot of damage, and Accelerate forward faster.
*Avoid the worse impacts of changes in the environment. In order to do this, the authors suggest: Prioritize speed over perfection. Opportunities come and go during a crisis. You may need to sacrifice quality in the short run. Prioritize flexibility over planning. Don’t lock yourself into your old strategic plan if the environment has changed significantly.
*Absorb a lot of damage. Build in some slack to your budget and your staffing during “normal” times, so you are better prepared for disruption. When the crisis hits, Prioritize empowerment over hierarchy. Give your team the authority to make quick decisions.
*Accelerate forward faster. Embrace a Learning culture and learn from setbacks, rather than blaming one another. Also, be prepared to move resources around quickly to an opportunity that may need it quickly.
There is no absolute playbook we can count on when a crisis hits. However, these tips give us some insights on how we can prepare now and move forward most effectively through the next challenge.
*Ideas for this blog taken from: Wade, M, Joshi, A., & Teracino, E. A. “6 Principles to Build Your Company’s Strategic Agility,” Harvard Business Review online, September 2, 2021.