First, the framework guides leaders to think and act along three time horizons simultaneously rather than focussing on a single fixed point in the future. These horizons are defined by the different types of response they require.
The first horizon is managing the present which demands companies act promptly on immediate challenges. The second horizon is adapting to the new reality created by Covid by maintaining focus on cash, revenue and stress testing the business plan for multiple scenarios. The third horizon looks beyond Covid to reimagine your business model for the new world that will emerge on the other side.
By using the heuristic of three time horizons, leaders can allocate issues and resources accordingly and avoid being too overwhelmed by the present or too distracted by figuring out the future.
Second, to manage the strategy development process during covid organisations need to move on from the rapid response teams that were appropriate in the first phase of the crisis while avoiding a reversion to the traditional strategic planning team based around the C-suite.
Instead, leaders need to form a COVID-19 Steering Group that brings together four distinct roles that are absent in traditional board rooms. These roles can be drawn from across the organisation or outside and include the trends observer, the scenario planner, roadmap designer and the progress monitor. These new roles within the COVID-19 Steering Group create the organisations's peripheral vision, build multiple scenarios, develop the roadmap and action plan, and manage the progress monitoring system
Third, to strategise during Covid-19 companies need to develop their peripheral vision by going beyond the traditional five forces analysis of an industry that worked well in the past but struggles to contend with disruptive forces like the current pandemic.
Whilst the bargaining power of suppliers and buyers, the threat of new entrants and substitutes and the nature of industry rivalry are still relevant, today strategists need to expand their view to understand the new five forces driving uncertainty in a covid world.
These forces are the behaviour of the virus itself, the availability of vaccine or cure, changes in public sentiment, government responses, and business actions. By building these five forces into their strategic analysis leaders can better tune their strategic response to the on-ground market reality.
Fourth, strategy in the time of covid requires not just a new approach to analysis but a fundamentally different approach to strategy development and execution - what we call adaptive strategy. This is a shift in mindset as much as process and requires leaders to think of strategy as a process of continuous iteration.
As new inputs are fed into the process from the peripheral vision the COVID-19 steering group builds and updates its scenarios for the future according to their probabilities of occurrence. They then evaluate different options to decide on one of three paths - act immediately, monitor the situation, or do nothing. Correspondingly the steering group builds a portfolio of actions to be executed in a dynamic fashion.
The leading indicators of execution progress are identified and updated to enable monitoring through the fifth element of the framework a visual wall. The visual wall has five features that make it distinct from traditional management information systems (MIS). The information is updated in real-time, metrics are dynamic and respond to shifts in organisational focus, the information is integrated across company silos, it is technology-driven and highly automate, and it is action-oriented using alerts and escalation mechanisms to trigger actions in response to the progress status.
This new strategy process runs continually, enabling the business to adapt to an ever-changing environment.
By adopting the new framework for strategy development and execution leaders are able to act with speed and agility in an environment of persistent uncertainty. Enabling them to gain clear and decisive lead over competitors who are still wedded to the traditional strategy process.