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Five Rs Essential to Transform Your Business in an Uncertain Economy

Five Rs Essential to Transform Your Business in an Uncertain Economy

The economic climate is, let’s say, “interesting” at the moment. Between new post-COVID ways of working, fallout from failing banks, debt ceilings, increased interest rates, solid employment numbers while layoffs abound, and a mixed view of whether a recession is looming or almost over, business leaders are left scratching their heads as to what move to make next. Keep up with “business as usual?” Tighten the reins? Invest in transformation?

No one would dispute that we are in a time of unprecedented change that is anything but typical. According to Dan Turchin, PeopleReign CEO and host of the podcast AI and the Future of Work, with the mainstream use of AI:

Our world will see more technology-driven change in the next ten years than we’ve seen in the last 200.

So consequently, deferring transformation is not an option. However, the upfront investment required to truly transform is especially hard to swallow right now. How do leaders continue to create their organization’s future while dealing with the uncertainty of today?

There are five simple “Rs” which are fundamental to help future-proof your business while navigating the macro-economic risks that surround us.

1) Reframe your plan.

Do NOT throw your strategy out the window. A strategy by definition is a “major overall aim,” and should not change with the wind. Not exploiting the digital and technology innovation happening right now will set your organization back decades.

Instead, now is the time to adopt “Minimum Viable Transformation” (MVT) - an opportunity to frame up smaller sized, “bite-sized” wins to deliver change and value now in the context of your future. This approach will give you solid momentum and keep your strategy on track, while creating an environment of agility that does not require a massive capital investment upfront.

[Related: Going With the Flow]

2) Rally the troops.

Engage your organization around the change in approach while staying the course on your “North Star.” Clearly articulate what’s changed, how you’re responding in the short-term, and how it will support the long-term vision. Ask them for their ideas.

It is very likely your team can identify quick wins that can deliver value fast. Reinforce the agile mindset and method of change delivery, don’t stop the train, and deliver micro-improvements that deploy high-impact continual improvements over time. Getting their fingerprints on your approach will foster innovation, drive adoption, and help you take the organization further, faster.

3) Reallocate your spending and get creative about your delivery.

Your expense profile needs to change - hard stop. Now is the time to truly think out of the box. Need tech innovation? Look to start-ups to help solve your problem. Form a design partnership, co-create with them to solve problems and solution for your business. They need your input on their product and credibility as a client. These types of relationships help you truly innovate and move further at a fraction of the cost.

No doubt you’re also taking a hard look at spending. Zero Based Budgeting (ZBB) is in favor again. Simply applying ZBB principles can help you take a “clean sheet” view of your current spending, align on priorities, and redirect investment to your most critical areas. This could mean scaling back on generalist consultants, freezing non-essential travel, reallocate less effective advertising dollars, delaying less critical capital investments, or putting a hold on new hires. There is no “right “answer - the key is to be intentional and reframe your spending in line with the current business context. That leads me to...

[Related: Breaking Negative Thoughts and Negative Thinking Patterns]

4) Redirect your people resources with intent.

Layoffs and hiring freezes are the obvious solution, however, often not the right move for the long-game. Times like these present opportunities to stretch and grow your existing talent. You’d be amazed at the innovation you can get by moving your people around to new roles or projects.

Now is the time to take a chance and place some “big bets” with the talent that is right under your nose. With the right support and coaching, employees can rise to deliver extraordinary outcomes for your business, while developing themselves and their careers at the same time.

5) Reinforce at every opportunity.

Use this as an opportunity to engage and inspire. Rally the organization around your approach. Make it personal to them. Bring them “into the tent” to understand how you’re reframing the plan and what’s needed from them. Win hearts and minds through continually reinforcing the vision, engaging them in discussion about it, giving them new opportunities to be a part of it, and having them co-create the future - all to really get them invested in delivering an extraordinary outcome.

The bottom line: Transforming your business now is more important than it’s been in our lifetime. The key is to transform with intention. reFRAME your plans and resources, find your Minimum Viable Transformation (MVT), inspire your team to get creative, and keep forging ahead!

[Related: Re-defining Your Glass Ceiling]


Lauren Spagnola-Robins is a Transformation consultant, Advisor, Board Director, and CEO of reFRAME Transformation, with >20 years of experience implementing strategic, operational and cultural change agendas to help companies grow profitability. She is a NYC-based mother of two, coach for women-owned businesses to help them grow and scale; member of Chief and Ellevate women's networks; and a contributing writer for Forbes.

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