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Companies face a variety of barriers to the success of their strategic growth plans, among them being uncertain about how to grow the value of their business, not understanding how to create customer value and ill-prepared for supply chain disruption. When attendees at a recent Baker Tilly webinar on strategic growth planning were asked what their biggest barrier was in implementing a strategic growth plan, however, 46% replied a lack of the right talent.

As part of the webinar, Prof. Mark Frigo of DePaul University outlined his “Return Driven Strategy,” designed to help businesses  manage their present business and create future business, meaning their growth, innovation, opportunities and strategy. “In today's environment, the critical success factor for companies is to confront the brutal facts in terms of where the company is currently, where it stands, taking a fresh look at the strategy of the company and how it creates value,” Frigo said.

Key talent questions

Asking and answering key questions is important and when it comes to talent, these should include:

  • How has the pandemic impacted employee engagement?
  • How do the employees feel about returning to work?
  • How has remote working affected productivity, employee satisfaction and turnover?
  • Does the organization have a recruiting plan to identify potential new employees through the recovery?

Jeff Vrabel, partner and growth leader in Baker Tilly’s manufacturing and distribution practice, noted that Baker Tilly’s executive search consultants are seeing serious talent gaps across senior leadership executives. This is in part due to the impact of COVID-19; as executives rethink their careers, they are more open to the idea of moving up their retirements. Vrabel suggested implementation of succession plans could soon be at a high level.

Companies had to quickly implement technology improvements to support the shift to remote work over the last year, and it yielded unexpected benefits. Vrabel said, “One surprising outcome is that with most business travel at a standstill and meetings shifting to online only, it has facilitated the ability to more effectively and efficiently have more decision makers together to be involved remotely when negotiating contracts, deals and other items.”

In the post-COVID environment, less travel and more senior-level collaboration could be the types of competitive advantages companies can highlight to attract more experienced talent.

Time for transformation

In addition to talent issues inhibiting their strategic plan success, webinar attendees responded that supply chain issues (30%), having the wrong business model (30%), not having enough capital (22%), and not understanding how to create customer value (22%) were other issues blocking their success.

Gary Plaster, leader of Baker Tilly’s family business strategy practice, said “Now is the time for business leaders to transform their strategies. In order to do this, they need to understand where the opportunities are, how to remove the barriers presented by the pandemic and how to develop a growth strategy to increase the value of their business.” He added that the key to breaking through the barriers, talent or otherwise is focusing on both growth and risk reduction value drivers.

When asked, 41% of attendees responded they had already revised their strategic growth plans in the wake of the pandemic, while 44% said they were looking at options to revise their growth plans but had not changed them yet.

Vrabel noted that successful companies will envision the ideal future state over the next few years for each key area of the business. They will do this in part by documenting gaps in their product lines, sales channels, data maturity, talent, and technology, that could hinder movement from their current state, and then identifying strategies for internal and external solutions to deal with those gaps and achieve the ideal future state. 

The e-book related to this recent webinar is available for download.

For more information on this topic or to learn how Baker Tilly specialists can help, contact our team.

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