A pandemic like COVID has quickly demonstrated the limitations of classical approaches to strategy formulation. This is what we observe in many organisations that we accompany. Strategists in these organizations are used to work in classical environments that they consider somewhat stable and predictable. Hence the tools, methods and frameworks they use to analyse and suggest strategic responses are designed to support decision-making in this type of environments. But strategy under complexity needs different approaches.
As the COVID-19 outbreak spread across the globe, organizations were initially focused on reacting to the immediate issues posed by the epidemic. However, as the crisis unfolded, several other challenges rapidly emerged: preparing for a potential recession in the near term; anticipating an eventual rebound in demand (initially when social distancing restrictions are relaxed, and later when consumer and business confidence returns); and ultimately reimagining operations, products, and business models for the post-crisis world.
In suggesting to take the time-scale approach in order to revisit the way how your company designs its strategy under complexity both on operational and corporate level, the BCG Henderson Institute has given us some ideas on how to tackle the issue:
As the business environment becomes more complex and diverse, traditional approaches to strategy will be increasingly limiting. Businesses can use crises like COVID-19 as an opportunity to revisit and strengthen their approaches to strategy. By being able to vary the clock speed of each part of the business and think on multiple timescales simultaneously, leaders can improve their odds of succeeding in this crisis and the next one.
as Martin Reeves, Kevin Whitaker, Saumeet Nanda rightly described in their excellent article entitled: Fractal Strategy Responding to COVID-19 Effectively on Multiple Timescales. Ask us for guidance if you wish to investigate how to revisit and implement these ideas in your company or area.
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