It’s hard to have anything but mixed feelings about planning for 2023. Looming recession means you have to prepare to cut back. And yet, 2023 will surely be a watershed year that rewards—even demands—hope and investment.
As you prepare to put your planning to bed for a much-deserved rest, here are three critical things to ensure you’ve addressed:
1. 2023 is the year we determine what’s normal now.
Even if we aren’t looking forward to the kick off of another ‘roaring 20s’ anymore, 2023 will still be up there with 2008 and 2001 as a watershed year.
In the “never let a good crisis go to waste” vein, the next twelve months will see anyone who’s lagged on figuring out how to capitalize on everything that’s changed finally getting busy.
First, the world is full of fresh opportunity for those who want to seize it—and challenges for those who don’t.
Second, the pace of change has slowed. Volatility is reduced. That means those opportunities are more visible, and you can have more confidence seizing them.
Third, this makes for a once-in-a-decade, business- and career-defining moment. Yes, there is the spectre of recession. But consumers continue to spend and many market leaders are continuing to invest.
Either way, playing the old game in a new world is no recipe for resilience. For anyone who keeps waiting until 2024, it’s going to hurt.
2. Getting your ‘customer debt’ and ‘strategy debt’ off the balance sheet is imperative.
Have you heard of technical debt? It builds up in your codebase or IT systems or even your digital experience due to trading speed for quality, putting off maintenance and the slow creep of obsolescence.
Right now, almost all of you have what I’d call ‘customer debt.’ Your customer and what they value has changed massively in the last 3 years. Meanwhile, many firms avoided major investments in customer research because they weren’t sure it’d deliver a good read when things were so in flux.
Similarly, many firms put off refreshing their strategy, unable to plan with confidence until it was clear how all this change would shake out. And that means you also likely have some strategy debt on the books, too.
If you want to be relevant in 2023 and stay relevant in the rest of the decade, plan to clear off both kinds of debt and get back in the green.
There’s no time when rebooting your assumptions about who you serve and why you matter will be more critical.
3. To maintain your lead, you’ll require a new approach to strategy, planning and execution.
Does your strategy and planning process include a thorough dose of challenging your assumptions about your customer and marketplace?
Do you have a systematic way to use that new perspective to keep the organization focused on a roadmap to what matters now?
If not, watch out.
Just look at the trouble some firms are having with finding and keeping staff. These are people they know relatively intimately. Imagine how much harder finding and keeping their customers will be for those who can’t get a handle on what matters to people now and what to do about it.