6-Months In: Look for Possibility
As we are now more than 6-months into the COVID journey, it is easy to feel consumed by defensive business tactics. Contingency planning, internal restructuring, price negotiations, and cashflow management have understandably become a major focus for many organizations. However, your people, your clients, your partners, and likely your inner self, derive little motivation or positive energy from playing good defense. Imagining the future and dreaming of big ideas is important, even more now as we head towards what will likely be a difficult winter.
“The job of the leader is to speak to the possibility.”
Losing sight of possibility is a certain path towards feeling discouraged, frustrated, and demotivated. There are no circumstances so challenging, no setbacks so frustrating, and no problems so difficult as to preclude possibility. What is your big idea? Where are the opportunities for growth? How can you pursue new possibilities? These discussions unlock a different perspective for our teams and will serve to drive renewed energy and motivation. It is your job to look for and to nurture the possibilities.
We all get stuck. If that’s where you are right now, reach out. A quick 20-minute brainstorm with an outside perspective is often enough to rekindle what might be possible and start to reimagine a different path forward.
Strategic Planning: Assessment and Problem-Solving Tools
Fall is often a time for organizations to revisit their strategic plans as they prepare for the coming year. As your team takes stock of its current reality and attempts to chart a course forward, the following 3 simple frameworks can be helpful in facilitating an effective internal session:
1. Six Thinking Hats
The Six Thinking Hats approach was developed by Edward De Bono to support groups in thinking together in a more collaborative and effective way. By ensuring groups work in parallel through a structured process, the Six Hats approach helps explore problems from multiple perspectives. We find this tool very effective for tackling specific issues or challenges like “should we launch a new product/service?” or “do we enter a new market?”. Consider an issue through the lens of:
- Blue Hat – Big picture; framing the process
- White Hat – Information; data; facts
- Green Hat – Ideations; possibilities
- Yellow Hat – Positive outcomes; opportunities
- Black Hat – Negative outcomes; risks
- Red Hat – Emotions; personal considerations
2. Start Stop Continue
This framework is effective for evaluating the current state and identifying opportunities for improvement. It can be used to explore a specific issue or to assess overall corporate performance. Simply ask three questions:
- What do we need to start doing? This includes new actions and opportunities for change.
- What do we need to stop doing? This includes problem areas and things that must be addressed.
- What do we need to continue doing? This includes what is working well and actions to maintain.
3. GROW Model
An effective process to guide strategic planning, the GROW model is a structured approach to support long-range planning or tackling strategic priorities. You can work through the 4-step process of:
- G = Goals (What is your vision? Future objectives?)
- R = Reality (Where are you right now? Current reality?)
- O = Options (What are the possibilities? Alternatives?)
- W = Will (What is the plan? Committed action items?)