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7 Critical Elements of Strategy: How to Modify Your Business During Challenging Times

With the emergence of a global crisis, you will need to rethink your strategy in terms of the current economic times. While you likely already have one, your plan of action during uncertainty varies from your normal operational plan. Every time the path to a given destination is unclear, there is a call for an adjustment — but what exactly you are adjusting is key. Most tend to think that shifting your tactics is the way to go when in reality it is your strategy that needs to be adapted.

We got our SlideShop strategy experts to put together the seven elements that you need to re-think your strategy and adjust your business during challenging times. These elements will allow you to frame and understand your new game plan — the strategy that will help you win, even during uncertainty:

  1. Re-Map & Re-Evaluate Your Performers
  2. Never Lose Sight of Vision, Values, Methods, Obstacles, & Measures
  3. Shift to Proactivity
  4. Segment Your Customers Using the Pyramid Framework
  5. Ensure Freedom & Flexibility When Possible
  6. Re-Evaluate Your Portfolio & Invest Accordingly
  7. Ditch Delegation for Leverage

#1: Re-Map & Re-Evaluate Your Performers

When your company is in chaos, the bell curve and normal distribution of sales performance wanes and waxes. So, when you are going through a downturn, your core performers shift. Your laggards may become your stars and vice versa.

Here’s how you can evaluate your new bell curve:

  1. Map your old distribution curve to use as a control
  2. Then, map your current distribution curve
  3. Identify how you can best utilize your performers

Times are stressful, so it might be best to wait before making any permanent decisions about your performers. Still, having insight into how your employees react to tough situations is integral in the continuation and growth of your business. And remember, you never want to be an organization with only laggards and stars, you need this normal distribution curve inclusive of core performers.

#2: Never Lose Sight of Vision, Values, Methods, Obstacles, & Measures

With uncertainty and anxiety come disorganization. Your employees are trying to manage adjusting to a new normal and working simultaneously. It’s normal for your team to lose its sense of the organization’s vision, values, methods, obstacles, and measures.

It’s your job to remind them that outcomes matter more than anything else right now, as every organization is going to be measured on its outcomes. We are operating in a results-based economy, and you must act appropriately.

We suggest that you:

  1. Do not lose sight of any of the five elements: vision, values, methods, obstacles, and measure
  2. Remind your team of the significance of each of the elements
  3. Manage your team accordingly

#3: Shift to Proactivity

Don’t over-index on reactivity. Instead, approach your strategy with a proactive perspective, especially in regards to your customer needs. This is where Customer Satisfaction (C-SAT) and Customer Success (C-Success) come in.

C-SAT vs. C-Success: C-SAT is reactive; C-Success is proactive.

Pivoting to proactivity includes:

  • Shifting your goals to anticipating customers’ needs and focusing on their successes
  • Remembering that satisfaction is not your priority in this kind of economy, as getting new customers is challenging in a down economy
  • Bonding with and using the fragility of these times to create C-Success for your customers

#4: Segment Your Customers Using the Pyramid Framework

Q: Do you invest the same amount of time on every customer?
A: Of course not! Or if you do — you shouldn’t be.

Instead, ask yourself who your customers are and what your framework is for managing them. When evaluating your customers in this economy, you should rethink where they stand using a tiered pyramid framework. Your goal is to understand who you are losing, gaining, and the consequential impact on the business from these gains and losses.

#5: Ensure Freedom & Flexibility When Possible

Your employees are gifted with a lot of time to think right now. These considerations may include whether they want to continue working for your company after the pandemic clears, or whether they feel secure enough in their role today to avoid looking for a new role. They are concerned that they may get fired if the business goes down and they are considering their options: Is there something that another company can offer them that you are not?

The answer is likely yes, especially if you do not have flexible remote work policies. In fact, the desire to work remotely is growing more as more companies offer work from home options. And as many are forced to work from home right now, they will look to continue that flexibility even after the crisis is over.

Employees, especially Millennials and Generation Z, are looking for three basic freedoms:

  • Debt freedom
  • Financial freedom
  • Locational freedom

Access to all of those freedoms is what your employees are looking for from you. Your job is to figure out how to provide it to them so that they stay at your organization

#6: Re-Evaluate Your Portfolio & Invest Accordingly

The re-calibration of various elements in your business is critical, especially right now. You can only focus on what’s most important to your business in a downturn. You must look at what is and isn’t providing market growth and market share, then invest time and resources accordingly. Finally, make sure that you’re looking at different elements in your business, not just one or two. Specifically, re-evaluate your portfolio and assets with customer, business management, and investment perspectives in mind.

#7: Ditch Delegation for Leverage

The growth of your organization will depend on whether or not you are building an entrepreneurial leadership organization right now. With a massive shift to remote work, your role as a leader and manager cannot be to micromanage your team and their time. Micromanagement and delegation are wastes of your time; instead, look to leverage.

What is delegation and why should you avoid it?

  • The manager provides a focus on unique and disparate tasks
  • Executions are not aligned but focused on individual tasks
  • Team members have individual accountability to the manager and lack connection to a higher mission or vision
  • The role of the manager is to judge the completeness of task, to close “gaps,” and “merge” work

What is leverage and why should you strive for it?

  • The manager provides “north star” and the larger mission to the team
  • Manager aligns the team around shared successes and outcomes
  • Information is shared, a high degree of transparency and shared understanding exists, and shared responsibility and team accountability exist
  • The role of the manager is to inspire and provide collective guidance

In a normal business setting, delegation creates too much overlap and creates a sense of distrust with your employees. Now it does all of that, plus creates extra work that you need to be allocating toward running your business in an economic downturn. Take some time to redirect your managers and your efforts toward leverage and get rid of delegation.

Crisis calls for a re-evaluation and re-creation of your outdated strategy. Whether you’re the CEO of your business or a leading manager, this framework will help you shape and communicate your new framework. Then, once you’re ready to present it out, know that we’ve got you covered with the slides you’ll need.

Download the Guide  See the Slides

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