Solstice already?

The Solstice marks the longest day,

The summer solstice means the longest day has passed and we start the journey into winter.

Already?

It always catches me out. Just as we are starting to celebrate the warmth of the cusp between Spring and Summer – that’s it – daylight reductions from here on in.

As if to underline the transition, Wednesday evening’s sunset was spectacular the puff-ball clouds lit up by the dusky sun to create a frozen tableau of fireworks – a fitting montage for the occasion.

The next day it was grey and it rained.

So what? Where is there a link between strategy, governance and celestial cycles?
For me it illustrates the importance of understanding timing. The order in which things must happen. And the notion that there are times when certain changes are easy and times when the same changes are almost impossible. The Solstice tells us we are at a point in time, at a specific location in the solar year.

It does not tell us what the weather will be like before or afterwards.

Awareness of the evolving context and insights into sudden changes in sentiment are essential components of strategy development. Many strategies appear to be written in isolation. Certainly, there is a usually a nod to the environmental context (e.g. a PESTLE analysis or similar). But how often do you sit back from daily events and ask yourself:

  • When would be a really good time to invest in a disruptive new product or service?
  • Where in the business cycle is the best time to hire new front-line staff?
  • Will there be a most cost effective time to invest in better processes and administrative infrastructure?

Our markets and industries all have cycles of their own. Some are relatively stable, unchanging like the Solstice dates. Others are much less predictable like the weather in the UK. For example:

  • Government procurement cycles – generally predictable
  • Government political cycles – less predictable
  • Regulated Industry investment cycles- generally predictable
  • Currency cycles – can be much more volatile

Doing strategy the agile way can help us to keep our eyes peeled for both risks and opportunities as they emerge and fade in the volatile world around us.

Warmer days are ahead.

Nigel

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