January seems to be the month that many organizations (including my own!) do their strategic planning. As you conduct your internal review and environmental scan, consider these key business trends that may affect your plan:
- Artificial Intelligence. How will the increased use of AI and machine learning in process automation, data analysis, and decision-making affect our internal operations AND the way the customer connects with us?
- Sustainability and Green Practices. How will the continued emphasis on sustainable practices (including recycling and reuse of materials), reducing carbon footprints, and adhering to green regulations affect us internally as well as externally?
- Workforce Dynamics. For many organizations, working from home is here to stay for some job classes. Has your organization actively designed a functional hybrid model that balances flexibility and productivity while supporting connections, culture, cross-functional work, and promotion opportunities? What are you doing to upskill and reskill employees in response to technological advancements?
- Customer-Centric Approach. More organizations are making significant investments in enhancing the Customer Experience (CX) as a key differentiator – especially leveraging data analytics for personalized customer experiences. Where are you on the adoption curve?
- Supply Chain Resilience. With all the turmoil in the world, it’s even more important to build resilient supply chains. Where are your biggest threats and are you equipped to respond or mitigate those threats?
- Market Diversification. Are you heavily invested in one or two markets or customer segments? Consider mitigating the risk by exploring new markets and/or customer segments.
- Innovation and R&D. You can’t rest on your laurels….where will you invest in research, development, and digital tools to stay ahead of the competition? How are you encouraging innovation from all areas of the organization?
- Cybersecurity. How are you protecting your digital assets against cyber threats and data breaches?
- Streamlining/Optimizing. How are you using automation and digital tools to improve efficiency, reduce costs, and maintain infrastructure?
- Health and Wellbeing. Prioritizing health and wellness in the workplace is no longer a fad. Are you creating spaces, policies, and resources that support mental and physical health?
These are the top ten strategic planning trends that my clients have been grappling with. Any others you want to add to this list?