Every now and again a song lyric becomes the summary of an idea for me. Over the last couple of weeks a key theme of sessions with clients has been to what extent should their pre-pandemic strategy, approach or play-book be ditched and an entirely new approach be set out. Or, with acknowledgement and respect to the great Edwyn Collins and his erstwhile colleagues in the band Orange Juice, should we “Rip it up and start again?” And in line with our last insight post its proved a useful, powerful question.
The two key foundations for this challenge to us all to “rip it up” are:
- the enduring benefit of what we might call “zero-basing”; taking yourself, your team and your organisation back to first principles; re-assessing the needs of your customers, clients and colleagues and making sure you can make the case for what you deliver, how you deliver it etc. as if you were starting from scratch, with no legacy, no technical or organisational debt and then deciding on and committing to the strategy on that basis; not because that was what it was at your last board meeting when it was reviewed.
- the importance of ‘managing the show’; a learning point for me in early years working and advising senior executives was that developing the best answer, make the business case for the most logical and rational strategy was never enough; to be successful you have to communicate actively with your stakeholders; you will not be successful without also having the best communication strategy; you have to manage the impression that you have the best strategy and build confidence and trust in your approach.
We need to manage the show and the analysis.
We see it as imperative you consider if the time is right to “rip it up”. To take the opportunity of this changed business and society context to signal to your colleagues and/or customers that the strategy you started the year with is not the one that you will be persisting with. To reinforce the adaptability and agility of your team and your organisation by coming forward at pace with a new strategy. A new strategy that clearly builds on all the fundamentals that you know about how and why your organisation is valuable and incorporates the learning from last three months. A strategy that re-focuses yourself, your team and your organisation forward and is presented as something that is more dynamic than before, and will be under more frequent review.
Drawing on insight from corporate comms colleagues, a few thoughts:
- choose to give yourself enough time to do this work, managing the show as well as the analysis takes time, especially when you are looking to get better at it;
- get clear on the outcomes, in terms of what you want key stakeholders to think and feel.
- work really hard at simplicity, the alignment of audience, message and your method of communication is key.