Leaders are preparing for strategic planning in the age of uncertainty

By admin Nov27,2023

As the end of a year approaches, leaders in several companies start thinking about setting a strategy for the next year. That involves creating a plan that captures multiple aspects of business direction and growth, including resources needed and issues that need to be addressed.

While strategic planning is not new, the added uncertainty caused by technology shifts and changing macroeconomic situations has made it more difficult. What should leaders keep in mind while building strategic plans for 2024?

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The new priorities
Deepankar Sanwalka, Senior Partner, Grant Thornton Bharat, says in the ever-evolving business landscape, strategic focus is bringing in changes to three key areas: technology, sustainability and talent management.

“First, businesses are navigating the transformative impact of generative AI to predict, change and implement their strategies for the short and long terms. Tech-first models are gaining centre stage, and strategic alliances with digital natives are working as a catalyst for innovation and resilience.”

Second, sustainability is not just a buzzword; it’s a strategic imperative. The planning horizon now extends beyond immediate tasks to encompass a comprehensive strategy that aligns with Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) goals and embraces Business Responsibility and Sustainability Reporting (BRSR). An increasing number of organisations are now committed to reshaping their operations to achieve net zero, adopting sustainable supply chains, and integrating environmentally conscious practices into their DNA, he says.

“Thirdly, the talent management paradigm is evolving to address the demands of the modern workforce. Organisations are focusing on prioritising upskilling initiatives and championing a work-life balance, especially in the era of hybrid working. The strategic planning sessions are focused on innovative practices for talent retention, onboarding, upskilling, recognising that human capital development is integral to success. The focus has shifted from a singular emphasis on financial outcomes to a holistic approach that integrates human capital development into the core of strategic interventions,” Sanwalka adds.

Sachin Alug, CEO, NLB Services, says creating a strategic plan today involves setting new priorities that align with rapid digitalisation. This has become key of late. In the coming year, he says, business leaders will be tasked with navigating the uncertain economic landscape through insight, innovation and impact.

“Investment in emerging technologies is widely adopted by businesses to spearhead their goals and enhance processes, capabilities and delivery. The focus on ESG standards has become a mainstay across industries, catapulting sustainability into a high-priority domain. To contribute to the nationwide goal of carbon emission reduction, leaders are expected to emphasise environment-friendly practices, policies and solutions,” Alug adds.Jayita Roy, VP-HR, Adecco India, says in the contemporary business environment, strategic planning stands as a fundamental pillar of success. It offers a road map for organisations to navigate dynamic challenges. This perspective gains depth when considering the insights of the right talent — professionals adept at planning and executing strategic initiatives for the organisation.

From this lens, strategic planning isn’t a rigid framework but an evolving plan, aligned with market dynamics. It involves cultivating a culture of perpetual learning and development, ensuring the workforce remains adaptable to future demands. This approach acknowledges that the success of strategic planning is closely tied to the resilience and skill diversity of the workforce, coupled with effective succession planning to ensure organisational readiness for all challenges.

Shrinking time for strategic planning
Alug says after having faced a challenging couple of years, C-suite leaders are expected to revisit their long-term goals more intensely now. Mitigating unforeseen risks and enhancing workflow while solidifying delivery capabilities will require an approach that involves looking beyond 5 years.

Due to political and economic pressures, organisations globally are expected to lean more towards organic growth strategies. This may entail an improvement in resource allocation, technology adoption, employee-centric initiatives, diversity and ESG-oriented steps for effective brand building, and so on.

For inorganic growth, business leaders are anticipated to be in stealth mode before making any major investments or M&A.

Planning from a people lens
Roy advocates an inclusive approach, as diversity propels innovation. By championing a people-centric philosophy, organisations encourage the unique contribution of each team member, making strategic planning not just a goal-driven exercise but a platform for individuals to excel. In addition, digital literacy and a data-centric mindset are pivotal. By harnessing analytics and insights, organisations align human resources strategies with overarching goals, optimising talent processes for acquisition, retention, and development.

The strategic planning process evolves into a collaborative endeavour between HR and the entire organisation to ensure that the workforce remains a strategic asset that fuels growth and innovation. This holistic view of strategic planning in the modern business landscape incorporates the dynamism of human capital, embraces diversity as a catalyst for innovation, and relies on data-driven decision-making to propel organisations toward sustained success amidst the ever-evolving business terrain.

Today’s strategic vision tells a tale of adaptability and foresight. Riding the waves of generative AI, embracing sustainability imperatives, and nurturing talent resilience, businesses are not just shifting gears; they are evolving paradigms. Success is no longer singular — it is an intricate combination of innovation, sustainability and human potential, adds Sanwalka of Grant Thornton Bharat.

By admin

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