Strategy Untethered – The Guardian

Strategic planning is an anchor for business. It is a stabilizing factor that allows business to focus on the horizon and provide confidence to financiers and stakeholders of direction. Plans do change, but it’s easier to adapt a strategy than erratically react to every presented stimuli.


The best laid plans can be laid to waste in an environment where planning is impossible. Tuesday on Squakbox, Warren Buffet referred to an economic war that small business is currently embattling. “Business have, through no fault of their own, been handed a self-inflicted recession”. “Dashing the dreams” and eroding a lifetime of equity poured into small enterprise.


Interesting commentary from one of the worlds most respected and consistent business investors. What happens if strategic planning becomes irrelevant. If factors become so far beyond control of rational business actors, that the effort of planning is energy wasted.


An unpleasant thought. There is always need for planning. The moment business ceases to plan, is an acknowledgement that structures have already failed. It has been hard to plan in 2020 with so many uncontrollable factors.


Government(s) reactively imposed recession at great long-term cost, and now obligated to stimulate recovery. Central bankers remain committed to kick start activity. Federally, this would be an opportune time for the Trudeau government to reassess their 2017 taxation assault on small business, by reversing penalties for business owners and operators to invest. Locally, the provincial government needs to communicate a strategy and timeline to reconnect public service to their offices and stimulate the localized movement of capital.


In order for business to lock a forward-plan, government must provide the stable under footing. Politically, we have been concentrating on heath fears around a global pandemic. That is appropriate. But the economic strategy is now untethered, drifting like a kite in the wind. The pandemic has become politicized and as much a marketing method as a communication protocol.


The economy has been requesting confidence reinforcing economic direction since March. There have been responsive programs to stimulate the short-term and bridge at all levels, this was and remains a requirement – but clarity on where we are going is now overdue. To take MP Wayne Easer’s comments out of context “indecision is worse than no decision at all”.


What should government(s) do to support transformation? Will government be able to recover taxation losses, not by taxing more but by creating new revenues. Can disruptive industries be supported, and new economies created? This is the creative leadership that is required and essential at this time. Economic futures affirm we have now moved well past the pandemic. Inoculation now reigns over illness within media, despite a difficult few quarter ahead.  What will our economy look like when the vaccination program is complete, and travel returns? How has government positioned for recovery; these are questions businesses are asking.


Business is walking through a door of great challenge, to unprecedented opportunity. Some businesses will succumb to the applied constraints – but others can germinate and flourish. Is there a collective common that can drive this adaptation?


I sense a bottled optimism that needs to be released. Business is ready to forge forward, but there remains a tether of anxiety and trepidation for the winter months. Everyone needs a spring focal point. A tether on which to focus and government should unleash the last of their energies in spectacular economic fireworks to launch PEIs’ fifth wave of industrial revolution and full recovery.


Author: Blake Doyle, December 2020.

Read this Business Edge in the Guardian.