How will you reach your goals in 2021?

by Strategy, Supply Chain

There are only a few weeks left before the end of the year and the holiday break. For many organizations, this is the last sprint of the fiscal year. For many also, it is a question of finalizing the planning for 2021. 

With health conditions changing from week to week, however, this task is a probabilistic exercise.

While many businesses are struggling with restrictions and changing customer habits, others are seeing their businesses flourish. The only constant is the climate of uncertainty.

Agility remains an imperative

My recent discussions with entrepreneurs and business leaders show a clear sense of urgency for one specific action: Deliver results now and maintain a “relatively” healthy financial position.

This implies different actions:

  • Rethinking collaboration with suppliers;
  • Ensuring collaboration between internal stakeholders;
  • Adapting prospection and sales activities in virtual mode;
  • Hiring talents that can “deliver” immediately;
  • Ensuring and maintaining organizational alignment.

Generating value differently in 2021

In the current context, it is therefore essential to master the “jobs-to-be-done” of customers and align the entire organization as well as the various partners on the value to be created.

The optimization of customer-suppliers relationships represents an under-exploited opportunity. Often, this implies an evolution of the role of the procurement teams. 

First of all, the value created by the different suppliers must be rethought in light of the adjustment of customer needs. As this value materializes contractually, it is possible to capture it and reinvest it in new activities of importance to customers. 

Secondly, the notion of governance can be seen from the perspective of strategic and operational alignment. It is no longer simply a matter of managing the relationship to ensure compliance with terms and conditions and respect for corporate policies. It is a matter of ensuring that management priorities and inter-organizations business practices are continually aligned to maximize the value created by all organizations. 

The project is ambitious. But in the current context, this collaboration is essential.

Objectives and strategic alignment

Planning for a new budget cycle involves evaluating strategic priorities, objectives, and initiatives. This strategic review must allow for the adjustments required to continue implementing the strategy and, above all, ensure alignment among stakeholders.

Two approaches are potentially interesting for developing and implementing strategic initiatives.

Strategy Maps / The Execution Premium (R.Kaplan & D.Norton, 2005 & 2008)

In these books, the authors who developed the Balanced Scorecard have elaborated an approach to develop the organization’s strategic objectives according to the dimensions of finance, customers, operations, and finally, culture, talent, and systems.

By combining a cause and effect logic, it is then possible to ensure an alignment of the different organizational components. This alignment takes shape through a balanced scorecard and specific initiatives. This alignment logic makes these books a definite recommendation. 

However, it should be noted that behind the strength of this approach lies its weakness. The process is rigorous, of course, but it can be cumbersome to deploy and manage. This is a top-down approach that may not be appropriate for today’s uncertain market dynamics.

Measure What Matters (J.Doerr, 2017)

Always with a desire to define strategic objectives and ensure the completion of activities essential to the success of the organization, John Doerr’s book presents a more organic and much more agile approach.

Initially developed at Intel and having since been integrated into various companies in the Silicon Valley, the OKR (objectives & key results) approach is extremely dynamic and involves the collaboration of all members of the organization. It is focused on the priorities for the coming quarters and involves the sharing and transparency of information that promotes alignment. 

The book is highly recommended. It presents the fundamental elements of the OKRs and develops the management system for creating an agile and adaptable organization, taking advantage of the OKRs in its second part.

Time to take a step back

The holiday season is approaching rapidly. It’s an opportunity to pause, to get together with family (a limited number this year), and, above all, to take a step back. The year 2020 will undoubtedly be a year to forget for many. But it will also have been a catalyst for changes and transformations.

I am optimistic about the opportunities that 2021 brings us. By staying aligned and focused on a clear vision and by implementing the right actions, it is possible to capitalize on everyone’s innovative potential and achieve ambitious objectives.

Have a great holiday season.

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