What a year 2019 has been, and what can we all expect from the next one, well your guess is as good as mine I suppose.
If I take a look back a year and try to figure what I knew at the time and what I expected of 2019, and what in the end really happened, then I can only say, thank god I had a flexible strategy.
As for me and for many of our clients, external factors made quite a few changes for us and gave us different situations that we had to handle in a very short time span.
For me the year has been a game changer in some ways, because even tough you can see what’s happening on the road in front of you while driving, it is very difficult to be prepared for any animals suddenly appearing on the road side, ready to jump in front of your car.
A few years back I was sitting in a car in the North of Sweden and the driver was speeding, after a while we asked him if he was not afraid of an elk or a deer stepping into the road in front of him.
The answer he gave us was, that he drove by them instead of hitting them, of course we had to ask him what he ment by that, and he explained to us that if you drive fast enough, then you would drive past the Elk before it gets up on the road.
I failed to see the logic in his argument, and I must say that 2 years later I heard that he hit an elk while speeding.
We can not prevent things from happening, but we can do our best to be able to handle a lot of different issues that happens to us and others around us.
It is the same in the our business world where different strategies are followed regardless of if they would hold water once you hit an obstacle or not.
Sometimes, when we are asked for advice as consultants, things have already made a turn for the worse and disaster is already up on our client, the question they ask is sometime like, “we just hit an elk while speeding, what do we do now?”
Trouble management is one thing, it´s like tactical advice, but strategical advice is more of trying to avoid some of the more obvious obstacles on the road ahead of you and still be able to reach your goals.
It is one thing to run to the E&A all the time or to go on regular health controls to make sure you don’t catch any health issues.
A a consultant we analyze situations before, under or after the issues already has happened, in all three cases you can learn and make sure it does not, or at least that you, will not do the same mistake twice.
Small companies can be more vulnerable and more maneuverable and bigger companies has more stamina and takes more time to steer around issues in their way.
When it comes to making a decision about the future, you can try and gather as much information and advice as you can, but most things that happen can not be foreseen.
In many cases it is like a “Stab in the dark”, a calculated guess with a bit of luck included, to guide you trough a fog of issues that are brewing around us in the world.
One thing I am sure of, 2020 will be full of new issues, and the same major issues as before, such as Brexit, Trump, EU, Irak, North Korea, trade wars, etc, and things are not really improving in any of those matters are they?
My best advice is to stay agile and flexible, not speeding trough 2020 blindfolded, hoping for the best, I would rather recommend you to be prepared for the worst and hope for the best.
Just make sure you take some time of regularly thinking ahead, once a month planning 3 months ahead tactically, and 6 to 12 months ahead strategically, longer than that is definitely just a good guess if you ask me.
So who knows, maybe your guess about 2020 is better than my guess, after all, it´s your company, we can always look back next year and see who was right or wrong, or just conclude that external factors once again has taken its toll.
Bell Blomquist Consulting
Lead Negotiator Consultant