Planning for strategic alignment during and after Covid

Article written by Peter Rabey, CEO of the X4 Group.

We have been planning beyond Covid-19 and have had the opportunity to focus efforts on planning for the long-term again and prioritise the businesses goals and vision for the second half of 2020, the next phase of the crisis and beyond.

There has been continuous speculation in every sector about where the job market is today and it can be incredibly easy to be in a pessimistic mindset with rolling news as it is, seemingly wanting to only bring negative headlines to our screens. No one can predict the future, and it’s especially challenging for business leaders to plan in times that are so uncertain, however there are strategic actions you can take to give your business the best chances of surviving.

Having co-founded the X4 Group in 2008, the same time as the financial crisis, I have experienced how to keep going in tough times and wanted to share with you some of the strategic actions we have taken in regards to business realignment.

Realignment of target markets

It’s easy for a successful business to lose track of its original mission, but the first step in realigning a business requires a look back at company roots to examine how the business has evolved since that mission statement was drafted.

Rather than fighting for survival in sectors that have sadly been hit hard by the pandemic, we had to adapt quickly and focus all our efforts on the sectors that are growing and thriving.

We have had a huge shift and realignment of our UK target markets, having to move away from construction and engineering and re-focus our resources into what we have been doing for 10 years since the very beginning, which is technology and life sciences. It has certainly required micro planning and many conversations with adaptable individuals, however streamlining what we do and not spreading ourselves too thinly has had a positive impact on team dynamics and productivity.

Realignment of regions

We have had to identify the most profitable global regions that represent our biggest markets and grow our headcount to service those areas. This has meant tough decisions, new leaders, new roles and exciting new career paths. Part of this strategic thinking has been to evaluate (to the best of our ability) which regions are likely to return in some form sooner than others.

A huge part of the realignment strategy has been ensuring our leadership team remain flexible and understand that we must make certain choices and commit to them in the face of uncertainty.

Realignment of leadership roles

I have been learning that playing to individual strengths and leveraging those skills and abilities is going to be one of the key areas to maximise potential in the coming months and beyond. It’s equally important to have an awareness of your weaknesses, especially when you’re in a leadership position. Nothing guarantees mission failure than a lack of alignment in the senior leadership team.

We have recently made the decision to re-align our top-level leadership to give the original three founders, including myself, the role of CEO, COO and CCO. The decision for each position was after an in-depth evaluation of our strengths and weaknesses to decide what role will help drive the business forward and meet the demands associated with strategies and external conditions.

Establishing a clear “why” for each position change was fundamental to our decision making and will be an area we revisit constantly as we set about being as capable in these positions as we can be.

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