Flexing your strategy.

What can we learn from Olympians?

By Cas Weijenberg & Wim Nieuwenhuijse

Flexing your strategy


Take out:

  • Classic strategic planning is on its way out
  • We can learn how Olympic athletics, despite unexpected hurdles, fulfil their dream
  • Companies who cater for lenient decision making will reach their goals 50% faster

As we enter 2022, many companies start with a blank sheet to execute ambitious growth plans. The economy is doing well albeit the ghost of inflation. And there need to be an action plan in place to support the opportunities that were chiseled in the Strategic Plan 2022-2005. So far so good. Till we start realizing that executing plans in turbulent times requires flexible thinking how to reach that goal.


Strategy follows structure

The past two years are the living proof that strategic plans are worthless when a worldwide pandemic strikes. And when effects of COVID leave companies in disarray to fulfil their long term goals. No wonder that the best performing companies are those that are keen to adapt swiftly. In the old days, structure followed strategy. Now, strategy follows the structure that is needed to keep daily operations in sync with the health of a nation.


Olympic hurdles

In many respects, the behavior of those agile companies nowadays follows the same pattern as athletes reaching for their Olympic dream; The long-term goal is clear, but the road to the Games can be turbulent. Their growth is not a straight line; it can be hampered by injuries, mental break downs, lost qualifications and disloyal sponsors. Despite setbacks, it learns athletes to adapt and be more lenient. To change course for a few months, unknowing if their goal will be reached. But hardened in their conviction that their ultimate goal is still possible, athletes are top performers when it comes to smart, short term adaptation. “Reculer pour mieux sauter” is their standard practice.


Wonder oil

We at Morph see those companies embracing this Olympic strategy outperforming in the hectic times that prevail. They are quick to turn around their plans when government issues restrictions or when absentee levels are rising due to infections. Adaptivity is the new strategic wonder oil. And they live up to that. Lenient companies tend to reach their strategic goals 50% faster than companies who stick rigidly to their growth scheme. And as unforeseen lockdowns by new variants will follow less tightening periods, leniency is the way forward. Regardless of company size or industry.

Curious how lenient your strategic planning is in practice? Contact us at Morph.