The importance of strategic and tactical balance in uncertain times
Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is an excerpt of a current article from the blog of Dave Wendland, VP, strategic relations at HRG. The article first appeared on Forbes.com.
Last year, many companies struggled to implement tactics to build resilience into their organizations to survive short-term perils, without losing sight of long-term strategies for an unknown future state. Indeed, the pressures of the day often overshadowed longer-range thinking.
That was one finding from a recent executive roundtable session I hosted on balancing resilience.
Several attendees commented that managing the day-to-day has become more exhaustive since each day brings to light something unknown. This has always been the case, but it’s been further exacerbated by the pandemic.
Flexibility and the ability to adapt have been essential over the past year and will undoubtedly become the “new normal.” Most felt the increased speed to decisions and the time to execution were positives that emerged as a result of COVID-19.
So, how can business leaders move beyond the status quo and start driving action?
A famous quote and lesson from Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War” is: “Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.”
At our roundtable, bringing in an outside perspective was considered a valuable option to help see the forest for the trees. Considerable time was spent exploring the two questions below and we felt that, regardless of industry, balancing these two vantage points of tactic versus strategy are important:
- In what ways are you stepping above the fray and seeing a broader, more strategic view?
- How do you nimbly and objectively assess what is working and what isn’t?
Uncontrollable circumstances always have the potential to disrupt an organization’s focus, energy and mission. Remaining calm under pressure is vital. As our own organization faced the uncertainty of the ensuing pandemic, senior leadership has set the tone in four areas:
- Reestablished trust across the company — we’re all in this together.
- Recognized individuals and their unique needs, circumstances and priorities.
- Reiterated teamwork as an essential factor to serve each other, especially given work-from-home realities.
- Reminded clients that we are committed to their success.
The bottom line for leaders looking to build resilience into their organizations is clear: create processes that withstand disruption, communicate vision with confidence and prepare to dynamically adjust previous thinking and approaches.
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What tips would you have for businesses for building resilience in uncertain times? How do you balance short-term tactics and long-term strategies?