When I clocked 40 – I got a call from a young friend who after giving me his wishes asked ‘did you achieve all the goals you had set to achieve before 40’ I said No, but I achieved things I didn’t plan for.
‘Change the Plan, Not the Destination’ – anonymous.
Strategic Agility – (I’d come back to this)
I had an interview once and the question was what the role of Risk is in Strategy planning and Performance. And I started my response with Murphy’s Law. Murphy’s Law is a belief/concept that says that ‘anything that can go wrong will go wrong’. The first time I read about Murphy’s Law – I thought it was a pessimistic approach to look at things. But as I later understood, the law doesn’t have any mysterious elements attached to it. It is us who give relevance to Murphy’s Law because when life goes well, and we achieve all our goals as per plan, little is made of it (we expect to win, anyways) but when things go badly and not in tandem with our plan, we look for reasons and a magnifying glass to blow it up (how dare us?, we say).
We forget that some things we didn’t plan for worked out perfect for us to our advantage. But, this should never be by chance. It should be because we are not fixated on our strategy only, but also looking out for risks and opportunities.
Back to Strategic Agility
Picture Credit: Pinterest
For us to capture opportunities we must be agile in thinking and in adapting. Strategy execution includes strategic agility. We must continuously have our ears on the ground, our sleeves rolled up ready to grasp opportunities, and our heads properly screwed on in anticipation. We must note all the risks that may disrupt our plans so we can mitigate them (I can’t change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination – Jimmy Dean) and all the opportunities so we can leverage them.
I always say, this cannot be left to the Audit & Risk department or the Strategy team. Everyone should actively be in search of risks and opportunities (internal and external) as it relates to their function and role and share this in the team. How is the market changing? This fosters Innovation, flexibility in execution, customer centricity, competitive advantage amongst other advantages. Thoughts: Create a R&O feed/email/platform and encourage everyone within the company any risks that may impact the business and opportunities that can be taken or even ideas or insights (this can be bucketed by function). These can be reviewed and analysed and the ones with the most likelihood gets the attention of top management. (By all means, take this idea if you don’t currently have this). We cannot be too busy not to look out the window.
Strategic Agility is staying attuned to industry shifts, this becomes super important considering today’s fast paced world. For us as individuals, we should never lose sight of Risks and Opportunities too as it impacts our personal and professional goals. What opportunities are there which were not there at the time you were setting your goals and what are the risks to the goals you had set. Agility doesn’t just relate to organisations.
“When we run into unanticipated opportunities and threats, we have to respond. Sometimes we respond successfully; sometimes we don’t. But most strategies develop through this process. More often than not, the strategy that leads to success emerges through a process that works 24/7 in almost every industry.” – Professor Clayton Christensen.
Please feel free to share your thoughts, I am eager to learn from you 🙏🏾