As children, we were all asked some variation of the age-old question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Occasionally, as adults, we’re also faced with a similar inquiry – sometimes in jest, but other times as a part of a general inquiry that forces us to imagine what we might envision for our future selves.
Executives and leaders are presented with a similar scenario every day, but often the questions sound more like: “What’s the strategic vision for your company?” “How do you plan to disrupt and grow market share?” “What new offerings will you produce to differentiate yourself from competitors?”
With factors such as remote working, cybersecurity and ESG finding prominence over the last decade or so, organizations are facing the challenge of reexamining and pivoting from how they’ve traditionally operated to transform and innovate to sustain market relevancy.
In Mazars’ C-Suite Barometer, more than 1,000 executives were surveyed on a variety of topics, including the skills and qualities they deemed most critical for the next three to five years. The results revealed that strategic visioning and planning topped the list.
As a manager, navigating business-as-usual operations to sustain profitability can be daunting. The daily challenge of orchestrating tasks and activities related to resourcing, budgeting, product development (and more) has been increasingly compounded by recent hot-button topics (e.g., the pandemic’s lasting effects, issue-based consumer buying trends and the rapid shift towards digital transformation).
Facing new factors
Today’s management teams and leaders face factors their predecessors would likely have never foreseen (or maybe even been able to imagine) 25 years ago. With this foundational shift in the leadership and management landscape, why would we assume previous conventional approaches to strategic planning are sufficient to address “the art of the possible” issues we face now when mapping out the vision for an organization’s future road to a new reality?
While businesses routinely undergo planning cycles for project investments, many of those organizations are inconsistent and less diligent when developing and maintaining a comprehensive strategy and actionable road map that encompasses near-term goals and long- term aspirations. More than ever, modern-day leaders must reorient their visioning and planning practices to incorporate contemporary complexities, like digital transformation, that weren’t necessarily top-of-mind for their predecessors.
Several years ago, Mazars assisted a large global biotechnology company redefine its learning culture. As a critical initial phase, Mazars guided the client’s leadership team and key stakeholders through a strategy articulation workshop to understand the organization’s current state, needs, gaps and future vision.
Mazars enabled the client to think and talk through its objectives while providing subject matter expertise across each of the cornerstones of business transformation success (people, process, technology) to develop an immediate, implementable road map. Armed with the right resources and a well-defined plan, the client then asked Mazars to continue our support by providing project management and implementation services to convert its vision into a new reality that would reflect universal employee adoption.
The team’s strategy-to-execution accomplishments resulted in a success story the client later shared within its industry. The result? Mazars gained two additional global life sciences organizations as clients.
Mapping a path to the possible
Having visions of the future? What does the road ahead look like for your organization? Here are five considerations for successfully mapping a path to the possible:
- Have all players in the room. An organization’s DNA is held together by a complex ecosystem of teams and employees who safeguard layers of insights and experiences that can provide valuable perspectives on potential growth opportunities beyond leadership’s line of sight. Mapping the future is most effective when all those impacted by and responsible for its success are represented and engaged throughout the planning process.
- Start with the end in mind. Newer companies with big dreams may find it useful to begin with our classic, age-old question, “Who do we want to be?” While the latter half of the question may not be, “…when we grow up…,” completing the thought with what is relevant to your organization is fundamental. Anchoring the question with a clear desired state and concise goals drives discussions that focus on articulating a vision that will be critical to successful tactical planning.
- Size and needs matter. Conversely, perhaps your organization already is experiencing significant success in its current state. If so, seeking ways to improve, enhance or emphasize specific areas of operations or services might be your goal. Whatever the case, having a clear understanding and knowledge of your organization’s precise current needs, resources and limitations is imperative before planning for what comes next.
- There’s no such thing as a bad idea... …unless it’s not shared. As you begin to create your path to the possible, it’s essential to keep an open mind. Providing a safe environment and eliminating any fear of criticism encourages diversity of thought, creative ideation and innovative thinking.
- People, process, technology, oh my…brace for impact! The cornerstones of business transformation are foundational for crafting a successful strategy. As a leader of change, holistically evaluating your organization’s goals enables you to map an optimal, integrated strategy. With a solid road map to guide you and a tactical plan for driving the vision ahead, you can now kick-start the journey and focus on successful execution. So buckle up, trust the process and enjoy the ride!
Contact us today to discuss how Mazars can help develop your digital transformation strategy.