Strategic Planning is Essential During Times of Crisis

Key Takeaways

  • Understand why strategic planning is important even in a pandemic
  • Refresh on the benefits of engaging teams in strategy discussions
  • Tips for what to get from discussions and how to apply it

It is the 19th month and counting for living in, and hopefully through, a pandemic in the United States and things have not necessarily become easier as we had anticipated only a few months ago. For healthcare workers and leaders who were already running on empty, it seems like treading water is the best that we can do on many days. The concern we had of when this will end has been replaced by a voice asking “can I make it through?” Where does this crisis leave your strategic planning process and visions for the future?

If you are a leader, guiding our teams into the future must be a priority. We must make a plan beyond survival and position our businesses to do well in a post-pandemic landscape. Admittedly, we cannot know with certainty details of what the landscape will look like, but this is as much a time to get creative in our planning as any time in history.

If your team is in survival mode, how can you be sure to get their thoughtful input on strategic planning? As counterintuitive as it may be, this necessitates stepping back from operations and charting options with your key players ensure the strategies of each team have been calibrated to the working world we are entering. Metrics need to align with the strategic plan and teams should see and understand their role in the larger business planning context. Input from all levels and clearing misunderstandings and misinformation are an important part of this work.

Gather your team together for a meeting. Ask them to make connections between the organization’s strategic plan and what is happening at their level. If things do not match, discuss it. Get feedback and learn by hearing from a wide range of people, including those who disagree with you or may be unhappy/confused about the direction of the company. Sometimes, these people help by highlighting potholes to avoid when bringing employees along with the business strategy. They also aid with planning a robust communication program and knowing what questions to prepare for.

As a leader, one of the most valuable jobs is to keep the vision and direction for the team active and visible. Particularly during a crisis, these people are counting on you to guide them and protect their valuable energy reserves. Taking time to engage them in strategy helps you clear away noise that comes in from media, competitors and even harmful voices present in your organization who may be working against you. There is no better time to engage in these essential discussions. Please move forward and open yourself to this rewarding opportunity.  

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