Strategic Thinking Must Include the Brutal Facts

Everyone’s tired of talking about the pandemic, but the fact remains, we’re all still dealing with it. And, there’s a bigger point we have to remain aware of no matter what the external circumstances, so my point here is just as important for you to consider if you feel you are past the Covid crisis in your business or if you’re still fighting for your business’ life.

There are three elements of strategy you need to keep in mind all the time, core values, purpose and long-term goal, or BHAG. Let’s define them: You’re probably already aware that

  • Core Values are those hand-full of rules that people must follow in your company,
  • Purpose is why you exist; your higher purpose, beyond money, and
  • BHAG is your 10-30-year goal that inspires you to greatness.

By analogy, your purpose is your north star, something that guides your decisions and long-term journey. Imagine your BHAG is a particular mountain far off in the distance that you are journeying towards. Your core values are how your people behave along the way. Your annual plan is the valley before you. It’s close to you and you can more or less, see the twists and turns in the path that you expect. And then …

Avalanche.

Covid has been that avalanche, much more impactful on most of us than the usual fires, floods or predators that we encounter in a normal year. When an avalanche hits, the most important things become incredibly clear, prevent frostbite and hypothermia. Survive. Get through it. Find shelter.

All of that is incredibly important, but once you’re through the immediate crisis, or know this will be a longer survival fight, you must turn back to WHY? Why survive? Why fight? What’s the point?

The answer, of course, is your BHAG (plus your core values and purpose).

If your business has pivoted into providing different products and services to your core customer as a way to survive, that’s great. Now’s the time to renew focus on the long-term play. Why did we pivot? What’s important about the short-term to position us for the long-term?

If you’re still in the crisis, you and your people are experiencing much more stress than usual. To keep everyone focused so you can maintain energy to get through, renew your conversations about the BHAG, even if that’s all that’s currently clear about your strategy Talk about it in executive team meetings. Talk about it in all-company meetings. Talk about it in one on ones and in your company newsletter and in your internal video updates to staff. Remind them what’s important. A lot. And don’t stop. Your job as a leader is to provide focus, and short-term focus has to be balanced and grounded in where you’re headed long-term.

Ted Sarvata

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