Constructing a strategic agenda presents an invigorating challenge that requires meticulous planning and self-control to carve out the time to focus on the big picture and disengage from the everyday concerns of successfully managing a technology company.
It can be challenging to consolidate the large volume of internal and external feedback into a unified strategy that strikes a balance between ambitious goals and realistic outcomes.
As you plan out the next several months, you may want to include the following in your agenda:
Talent acquisition and retention is a major challenge in a competitive industry such as technology. To successfully incorporate this into your strategic plan, it is essential to be more specific than simply expressing the need to retain employees. Merely stating “Address technology talent difficulties” as a top strategic goal without any tangible action is not enough to produce results.
It is important to look beyond traditional methods of recruiting and retaining talent. Consider exploring novel approaches, such as encouraging current employees to pursue open IT positions or creating an internship programme with a local college or technical institute. It is essential to consider the wider context when managing talent acquisition, as competition exists for the same pool of candidates.
It is important to create a dedicated section in the business plan specifically for staff retention, as this is a key area which can be directly influenced. Consider methods for identifying high-performing employees and those who may be looking to leave the organisation.
When considering long-term strategies to retain employees, it is important to consider approaches that may not include significant pay increases or incentive offers. However, initiatives such as allowing personnel to pursue personal projects or take on additional leadership roles could be cost-effective yet produce a high return. Therefore, it is worth considering these options, rather than being hesitant to explore new ideas.
Subtle Shifts in the Digital Landscape
The potential risks associated with having ambiguous and poorly-defined strategic objectives, which can create more uncertainty than clear direction when attempting to implement a strategy, have been a topical issue for many years in the transformation space.
Could you explain what you mean by ‘transformation’ through the use of your strategy? Will the Technology Department be responsible for generating new sources of revenue, exploring new opportunities, or creating innovative products and services? Alternatively, will you be placing greater emphasis on the digital aspect of transformation, utilising new technology to improve existing operations?
Strategic planning can be an effective tool for assessing an organisation’s receptiveness to change, if this has not already been done through conversations with colleagues or senior staff. If your colleagues appear to be hesitant when discussing the exploration of new business opportunities using technology, it can be assumed that their idea of ‘digital transformation’ is limited.
It is preferable to identify any discrepancies in the strategy during the planning stages, rather than when the plan is already being implemented. If there is an assumption that digital transformation is solely about technology, and yet there is a need to explore a new market opportunity, it is important to take the lead in this discovery.
ESG (Environment, Social, and Governance)
Executives and board members are currently engaging in conversations about Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG). Such dialogue could help to raise the profile of ESG and its correlation with the firm’s overarching strategy. Although tech CEOs may typically be more accustomed to queries regarding the launch of complex software applications, as opposed to questions about diversity or climate change, ESG remains a difficult topic to manage.
Incorporating Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) factors into your strategy is highly recommended. It is worth highlighting that social matters, such as talent acquisition and retention, are already part of your strategy.
It is important to consider the financial and environmental implications of your technology choices. Good governance processes should be implemented and enforced across the organisation.
Drawing attention to how you’ve helped the environment, We can begin by integrating an Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) outlook into our existing initiatives. In the long term, we will be able to observe the multiple benefits of ESG, from reducing costs through enhanced energy efficiency, to enhancing our ability to attract talent by better acknowledging and managing our varied workforce.
What Makes Up The “Left Field”
Including the previously discussed points in your strategic plan will help you create one that is well thought out and effective. Technology companies should also consider making strategic investments in one or two unconventional areas that may not necessarily have an immediate financial return.
It is possible that investing in cutting-edge technology could be beneficial for your business, depending on the industry. For example, if you own a commercial real estate company, you may wish to consider investing in the metaverse. In addition to technological solutions, it may be worth exploring alternative solutions to existing problems. For instance, a bot or RPA experiment may help to address labour shortages within a particular department. Alternatively, frontline workers may benefit from having some of their workload delegated to an AI-assisted assistant.
Including pilot projects offers two advantages. Firstly, it shows that your organisation is at the forefront of technological advances and is committed to finding solutions to pressing social issues. Secondly, it provides a low-risk way of gauging how much experimentation, risk-taking and forward-thinking your business is willing to accept.
Finding the right balance between a forceful approach and avoiding organisational backlash can be a challenge when leading discussions. By presenting your plan as something different and innovative, it provides an opportunity to receive constructive feedback in a safe environment.
You should quickly identify practical projects which will help address these issues, and develop future-oriented initiatives that align with the overall organisation’s aims, using the categories previously mentioned as the foundations of your technology strategy.