We all share many of the same fears and uncertainties surrounding the current recession; it may seem overwhelming to consider the market implications, the challenges, as well as the effects your organization might encounter in the coming months and yearsbut those management teams that are looking (or wish to look) ahead in order to confront and combat difficulties can keep the following strategic moves in mind:
Focus on your future. Concentrate your business portfolio on ‘long-term’ winners and target your most valuable customers.
Prepare to weather the storm. Lower your breakeven to remain profitable under the worst-case scenario. Reduce capacity, complexity, and fixed costs. Also, give your balance sheet some much-needed attention.
Anticipate the future market structure. Create a view of how your field is likely to restructure and understand the impact government intervention may have (i.e. health reform, accountability initiative, health information technology, etc).
Resolve your game plan. Do not sacrifice research and development or capital expenditures; prioritize and use these investments offensively. Also, if you think your part of the field needs to consolidate, decide whether you are a buyer or a seller.
Prepare to take intelligent risks. Do get ready for the upturn; do not lose sight of the fact that the very nature of our economy is cyclical. Recessions recede, giving way to the rekindling of price increases and inflation. Be prepared to recapitalize your debt.
Your management team has the potential to withstand this tumultuous storm. With an open mind and a solid strategy, your organization can demonstrate its resilience and continue to thrive in the behavioral health and social service marketplace.
Monica E. Oss
Chief Executive Officer
For more details on strategic planning best practices, OPEN MINDS Circle members may wish to access my presentation from the 2009 OPEN MINDS Strategic Planning Institute, A Strategic Reality Check: Is Your Strategic Plan Prepared for an Economic Downturn? .
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Interested OPEN MINDS Premium Circle members may also wish to access “In Search of a Useful Strategic Plan: Identifying & Operationalizing Meaningful Objectives,” by former OPEN MINDS editor Stewart Bloom. Here Mr. Bloom provides some valuable suggestions for improving your organization’s strategic plan.
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