Aug 25, 2020 at 10: 36 am

The New Normal: A Podcast Series on Strategy in Turbulent Times

In such uncertain times, being a strategy practitioner is a tough job. How can you design the path for your organization or your client's organizations? We reached out to 12 successful strategists for their take on the New Normal.

Tiago Grandi

4 MIN READ

Any strategist worth their salt knows that if you work within strategy, you deal with the future. Trends, scenarios, projections, goals, visions, ambitions – strategy is all about shaping the future. In these coronatimes however, the business environment has never been more filled with uncertainty.

So how do we as strategy practitioners figure out what is going to happen? How could you design the path for your organization or your client’s organization? These are questions that have always been core in any executive room (Zoom) discussion, and are even more amplified by the new normal we are facing.

Nobody really knows what is going to happen with the global economy, international trade, globalization, geopolitics, logistics and supply chains, travels, services, and… many, many more. There’s too much complexity to analyze; too much ambiguity for anyone to interpret things with a black-and-white approach. So what can we do?

As a Strategy Tools Country Manager in Brazil, I decided the best way to understand this better is to ask good questions, and direct them at the right people.  The scribblings above you see are the beginning of this idea – a podcast series starring successful strategy practitioners from across the globe and how they’re dealing with this New Normal.

The New Normal series features interviews with 12 strategy practitioners, all a part of the Strategy Tools Global Partner Network:

Myles Hopkins
Business Agility Strategist, Be Agile
South Africa
Listen to podcast

Victor Haze
Innovation Manager, Health Valley
The Netherlands
Listen to podcast

Mykola Takzey
Chief Innovation Officer, MHP SE
Ukraine
Listen to podcast

Henry Rosas
Strategy Advisor, AIROM Consulting
UAE
Listen to podcast

Allan Bertram
Owner, Enterprise Simulations Inc.
Canada
Listen to podcast

Supryia Sharma
Consultant
India
Listen to podcast

Carlos Gallegos
Consultant, Engage // Innovate
Costa Rica
Listen to podcast

Jason Molesworth
Enterprise Business Agility Strategist, Agile Transformation Inc.
USA
Listen to podcast

Hugo Gonçalves
Executive Coach & Strategist, LEADERS4MOBILITY
Portugal
Listen to podcast

Scott Newton
Partner, Thinking Dimensions Global Consulting
Italy
Listen to podcast

Abdul Munim
Global Channel Services and Partner Leader, Extreme Networks
UK
Listen to podcast

Christian Rangen
Founder, Strategy Tools
Norway
Listen to podcast

Key Takeaways from the ‘New Normal’

If you simply don’t have the time to sit through 12 interviews (although I’d really like to say that they’re worth it), I’ve summarized the most important insights from the podcast series down below:

What I’ve noticed across all discussions, was that the most intelligent people I’ve talked to were those who weren’t too conclusive in their thoughts – they all showed a mixture of prudence and ‘in progress’ or continuous thinking upon the upcoming new normal. After several interviews, though, some patterns started to emerge.

1. Scenarios development

We must learn and master the practice of scenarios design. It shouldn’t be the same scenarios planning routines we used to make in the 80’s or the 90’s. There is a whole different way of doing it – faster, more intuitive and focusing more on human creativity than solely rational-analytical thinking.

2. Behavioral changes

Customers, employees, investors, business leaders, entrepreneurs, policy makers, analysts, consultants, and everybody else had been hit by Covid-19 at the same time. Everyone across the globe is struggling with a pandemic, social distancing and an economic recession. It’s just impossible to maintain old behaviors in the face of this. The open question, though, is: “which attitudes might be the ‘new normal’? Which habits will overcome this crisis and stay for good? Which ones will be forgotten?” Well, what is your guess?

3. Globalization, international trade, geopolitics

We are most likely not going to face a step back in globalization, although it’s very likely that we will see a different kind of globalization. International trade will change in terms of quality over quantity. Multinational companies and conglomerates around the world will look for more resilient models and it must bring some changes in the geopolitics as well. Investments, governments, regulations… a lot of things to tackle.

4. Government, economy and society

With all those bail-outs, what is going to be the role of central banks in the near future? Monetary authorities can play a big role in the recovery. Governments have taken a bigger presence and maybe we will see a shift in place in terms of decision making, citizen legislation and sovereignty, including democracies and other regimes. The next two years are a shaping space for the landscape to come for the next decades. 

5. Technology as key-enabler

Here we have a clear paradox. Technology, as a neutral factor, can allow and enable great things while also revealing large problems. Social media is the contemporary addiction, close in analogy to the smoking habit of the 20th century; internet is also a field for cyber-crimes, invasions, lack of privacy and data infringement. But we all must agree that without the actual telecommunications infrastructure, the Covid reality would have been much worse. What are the trends? Quantum computers, artificial intelligence, Internet of Things, virtual reality… all of these bring in ethical questions, integrity challenges and, of course, ambiguity.

6. Leadership

It takes us to the human side again. Are our leaders prepared to cope with all this complexity? Are you? Well, perhaps the question here is to be preparing yourself, constantly. Lifelong learning, yes, and an education turned into a multi-platform, interconnected and transversal methodology. Good invitation for teachers, faculty members, researchers, consultants, coaches, mentors and whoever that put some energy in developing people in our society.

The Need for a Transformational Company

As a byproduct of all these conversations, it was not difficult to realize that the best way of leading our organizations today is by changing the mindset from a fixed and rigid process of planning into a vivid roadmap of a ‘strategy as a journey’ approach followed by an experiment-driven way of making things happen.

Everybody speaks of resilience today, and not only performance. However, few of these discussions focus on the ‘how to do it, then’? The Building the Transformational Company report we published earlier this year has taken years of research and real field work and distilled the formula for large-scale corporate transformation into a simple-to-understand end-to-end framework. If you still haven’t seen it, read the report here.

Join the ‘Building the Transformational Company’ program

I would like to finish this post with an invite to check out our BTC – Building the Transformational Company program. This program builds on the report and provides you with a transformational strategy framework that is both accessible and cohesive. Check it out here.

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I look forward to hearing your thoughts on the podcasts. Based in Brazil? Say hi at [email protected]

Tiago Grandi
Tiago Grandi

Trabalhando com estratégia e liderança há mais de 20 anos, sua particular abordagem privilegia sobretudo a formação de estrategistas.

Em parceria com Chris Rangen e a Strategytools – aliança global de estrategistas – dedica-se à missão de mudar a maneira como o mundo trabalha com estratégia. Atua hoje como Country Manager Brazil, desenvolvendo programas de aprendizagem em todo território nacional.

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1 Comment

  1. Ken

    Great Post!

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