Now is a great time to get your business fit for growth

Michelle Gronning Strategic Capabilities Leader, Consulting Leadership Group, PwC Canada 23 November, 2020

In 2020, rapidly changing market dynamics have impacted everything we do. New ways of engaging, doing business and working have challenged us to rethink what we need to do better to meet future needs and customer and employee expectations. And while COVID-19 has been top of mind, it’s important for Canadian businesses to evolve with these new realities by sharpening their focus on their core strategic capabilities, reducing misaligned costs and redirecting resources to transformation efforts that will help them thrive. 

The capabilities that helped you grow a year ago aren’t the ones that will move you forward today. Many capabilities that may have been differentiators in the past are now just table stakes. In today’s environment, change is happening at an accelerated pace, so there’s a real-time opportunity to reinvent the way you do business to open avenues to sustainable growth.

Now’s a great time to stop and ask yourself a few key questions to make sure you have the business model you need to grow in a post-COVID-19 world:

  • Given the current economic reality, is your business focused on the right strategic objectives and agile enough to pivot when needed?

  • Are you investing your limited resources in the capabilities that help you differentiate yourself and deliver results?

  • Do you have a culture of coordination, innovation and continuous improvement? 

These days, what matters most to me is bringing my colleagues across the firm together to help our clients thrive in today’s reality and tomorrow’s uncertainties. Any organization’s engine for sustainable growth comes down to what sets it apart from the competition. We need to align and focus our resources on those differentiating capabilities now, much more than ever before.

We call this Fit for Growth, a strategic approach to cost management that helps organizations direct resources and investment to what matters most while shifting them away from areas that are no longer a priority.

So where do you start? Starting with the right strategy is key—but strategy needs an expertly coordinated execution to drive the right impact. 

Image of back of woman wearing black dress looking out onto a cityline at night

Begin with strategy and drive outcomes with execution

Given our current economic and social reality, many organizations have no choice but to advance their transformational agendas—in particular, their automation and digitization capabilities. The first step is to reconsider your strategy to make sure you go down the right path from the start. Without this step you may end up taking out costs before you’ve decided on the business you aspire to become. 

It sounds intuitive, but from what I’ve seen, it often fails in execution. To solve a siloed problem or react to changing market dynamics, organizations often jump into a massive technology transformation based on an outdated business strategy. They then find themselves in a situation where they had a “technically configured” solution where they haven’t been able to realize any company-wide benefits—and often have incurred significant cost overruns. And they find themselves blaming the technology, which rarely is the issue.

Ultimately, we see that traditional cost management efforts are too frequently separated from long-term strategy and growth. Organizations should focus on four key points to make sure their technology-enabled transformations live up to their promise:

  1. Customer and employee experience at the heart: This must guide your transformation from end to end to truly have impact.

  2. Start with a strategic operating model blueprint: Tie your transformation to an overarching strategic blueprint for the future state of your people, process and system environments.

  3. Make the journey self funded: Prioritize implementation efforts based on how they’ll deliver on the strategic blueprint while also focusing on building momentum and releasing benefits as quickly as possible. 

  4. Workforce of the future: Make sure your team has the right capabilities and experience to launch and use new cloud-based tools.

Achieving a Fit for Growth environment is about rising above the day to day to develop a clear and compelling blueprint so your people know what’s critical for the business and what they need to do to contribute. If you want a culture of collaboration and continuous improvement, you need to be transparent about your strategic direction and get your executives and team aligned to it.

Image of man working on his laptop at night

Evaluate your business functions’ transformation agendas

Each of your functional leaders is likely rethinking their strategic priorities to emerge stronger from COVID-19. Transformations can take place in all areas of an organization, including the following:

  • Front office transformation (CMO)

  • Digital operations transformation (COO)

  • Connected supply chain transformation (COO / CPO)

  • Finance transformation (CFO)

  • Digital procurement transformation (CPO)

  • HR transformation (CHRO)

  • Cloud transformation (CIO)

These functional transformations have the potential to set up your organization for enduring resiliency and growth—but they need to be connected to fully realize that value. To make sure you’re all headed in the same direction, establish a clear view of what capabilities differentiate your organization and what activities you should focus on.

Image of man dress professionally with backpack on, scootering to work on sidewalk

Drive impact in execution

Once you’ve revisited your strategy, made some critical choices and created a new path forward, how do you keep it all together during execution?

The secret sauce to any strategic review is doing it in a way that sets your organization up to execute. Once again, this sounds intuitive, but it takes significant resources to make it happen. Connecting the dots is critical. Even small organizations can be siloed, many struggle to cross-functionally communicate and most, quite frankly, can’t align effectively to achieve a common goal. 

Fundamentally you need to take an agile approach, test often with customers and employees and refine as you go. This enables you to respond to in-the-moment changes without needing to start all over. Experience in driving past successful transformations from strategy, through execution, can significantly reduce complexity and uncertainty and, ultimately, increase the speed to results. 

This is where a strategic partner can come in and create a new path to enduring resiliency and growth—a partner with a strategic point of view and a powerful bench of experts in every function of your business. In fact, our proven Fit for Growth methodology has recently driven our firm’s own successful transformation, ensuring we have the digital capabilities to best serve our clients’ agendas.

What matters most to you? And are you fit for the growth you’ll need? For guidance and perspectives, check out our latest point of view on Three actions to reset cost and reshape your business for growth.

As always, please reach out to me anytime to discuss the questions and challenges you’re facing in these extraordinary times.

 

Contact us

Michelle Gronning

Michelle Gronning

Strategic Capabilities Leader, Consulting Leadership Group, PwC Canada

Tel: +1 416 814 5780