As we live through unprecedented times, we have a lot riding on our decisions today and how they impact the future. How then do we now successfully connect strategic decisions with operational execution? The leaders we are talking to believe that having a Roadmap to Healthy Outcomes avoids institutional missteps.

In our latest piece of research, we asked leaders and practitioners to describe their feelings about dealing with today’s work complexities. While our thinking has shifted in many aspects of life in the last eighteen months, our research revealed that nothing had changed significantly. Our feelings pre-pandemic, during, and as we move through our recovery have remained the same. It still feels unpredictable, ambiguous, stressful and overwhelming.

It makes for depressing reading.

For those leaders and practitioners responsible for creating the healthy outcomes their businesses rely on, there is an incredible amount of pressure and angst. We all know this has a devasting effect on our ability to find any lasting sense of achievement, never mind the impact on our mental and physical wellbeing. As we manoeuvre through our complex and fast-paced world, there are, naturally, the inevitable twists, turns, and bumps in the road. We, therefore, need to be able to rely on tried and tested methods to help us cope with what often feels overwhelming.

Being in control and feeling confident about the future are the magic ingredients for removing the feelings of being overwhelmed when we deal with uncertainty daily.

So what’s the answer?

For many, part of the answer lies in their commitment to implementing Strategic Workforce Planning(SWP). Studies are detailed— those businesses using the practices that make up SWP enjoy better results across several business and talent dimensions. I have also seen first-hand just how powerful SWP is in helping companies control today and build collective confidence about the future.

Organisations that develop SWP competence create a robust pathway and gain critical insights for building healthy and high performing systems. They successfully use SWP to gain clarity for managing risks and opportunities, making vital connections that get them the results needed and critical insights for staying relevant.

At its heart, SWP is logical and intuitive. I like to think about SWP being similar to the functioning of our brains’ right and left sides. But it also requires a mindset that is curious and open.

The clarity and connections you make along the way inform and creates insights that act as a GPS helping teams prepare, pivot and accelerate performance. The questions asked and answered throughout SWP are the same as we ask ourselves throughout our personal journeys.

Our purpose and achievements are a bit like roundabouts as our direction of travel changes, as we adapt to all sorts of events. There are entrances, exits, detours, U-turns, roadblocks and superhighways.

Some things we can control and other factors are out of our control. But over time, we figure things out and adapt. Often these simple questions are difficult to answer, but we use our resources, family, friends, colleagues, teachers, mentors, coaches, specialists and various tools to help us figure things out.

The questions are the same when we work together as a part of an enterprise. But of course, it’s more challenging. Whilst we are there to serve an overarching purpose of the organisation, alignment is difficult. Often, there are personal agendas, opinions and we all suffer from our blind spots and biases. Plus, we have to deal with the messy world we inhabit. We have so much complexity with many factors to deal with at the same time.

It’s no wonder we feel overwhelmed.

So gaining control feels like it would be an enormous positive first step. Using the practices that makeup SWP is the equivalent of building a superhighway to gaining that control.

Creating a collective roadmap that asks the right questions logically acts as the micro-steps towards gaining greater clarity and connection to essential elements. What’s more, the methods and tools help groups examine, learn, and relearn throughout their direction of travel, dealing with all the messiness that comes with the territory—effectively acting as navigation tools that allow groups to deal with the ambiguity and volatility.

Ultimately leading us to gain more control, feel less overwhelmed and more confident.

The business case for SWP isn’t needed; the research and case studies that speak to its’ value are available and many. It may require rethinking the sequencing and weight of some existing HR practices like succession planning, selecting high potentials and directing learning and development investments, but the rewards are transformational. For businesses lagging in their efforts to weave SWP into the fabric of their operating practices, how do they get started, and what should they prioritise?

As with many things in life, there are several secrets to success. Having worked in this space for many years, we have seen first-hand the enormous vacuum around ‘the how’. And as we all know, ‘the how’ is where the rubber meets the road. Whilst you may need some advice and support initially, you don’t need expensive consultants, nor do you start with technology first and drown in data.

For leaders and practitioners who are sufficiently interested in building their competence and growing as individuals, success is entirely possible. I know this to be true because becoming an expert SWP has helped transform my career and continues to be a terrific source of continuous learning and genuine enjoyment.

There are three stepping stones that I often recommend to those who are getting started or feel stuck. If you would like to know more, we offer a complimentary 30-minute consultation. Just follow the Home link to book a time, and we will be happy to chat through how these could apply to you.

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