Jeanne Reaves, CEO and president, Jeanne Reaves Consulting
2020 was the year many of us could never have anticipated. The pandemic left nothing untouched, including how business was conducted. To meet the changing climate, a majority of companies shifted to a remote workplace and when it first began morale was high. Companies were reporting an increase in production, employees were enjoying the flexibility, and trainings and meetings were successfully taking place on remote platforms. But as the months continued, and with no end in sight to the pandemic, working from home became increasingly more challenging.
Moving into 2021, companies will need to continue to adapt to a rapidly changing climate and to meet consumer needs. For organizations to prosper and ultimately be successful, strategic and marketing planning will be one of the top strategies every company should prioritize this year. Whether your organization is planning to bring staff back to the office, or continue to embrace a remote workplace culture, organizational strategic planning is critical to clearly communicate priority decisions for both the business and the employees.
Employees have felt the changes in 2020, which is why it’s not only important to refocus on your strategic and marketing planning efforts, but also to include your employees in this process.
Going into the new year with a strategic plan that includes flexible understandings built-in will help the company meet its objectives, as well as help the company thrive in the fast paced, evolving economy.
In order to be successful in developing both a strategic and marketing plan, you need to be willing to think through the “what ifs” and be willing to pivot when things change. It’s also important to understand that changes in decisions should not be taken lightly. Communicating why there is a change, why the change is needed, and how changes will affect the company and employees is critical. We recommend a strategic planning session to work through changes and create an updated business plan.
Identifying employees to participate in a strategic planning session will help provide both valuable feedback and insight for your 2021 strategic plan. Additionally, getting staff members involved in decisions for the year will help them recognize the challenges the organization faces, and remind them as you work through these challenges that they played an integral role in overcoming obstacles together. Likewise, sharing what the top priorities for the company are, and asking for everyone’s help to achieve them, helps with employee accountability. Not only that, but employees will be much more engaged when knowing what the priorities are, and how they can help the company reach decisions made in the planning process. This also helps with employee buy-in as you move forward in 2021.
While businesses across a wide range of industries will continue to feel the impact from last year, strategic and marketing planning will help keep both your company and your employees moving in the right direction. The key is to be flexible, and to revisit your plan at least quarterly, so if changes are required your company is positioned to act quickly.