We write the 2nd of April, 2020. This is 16th day of lockdown for the coronavirus COVID-19 here in France, started March 17th, at noon. Worldwide it is half of the humankind that is locked down.
Many business owners and senior management team members try to figure out how to first cope with the situation, next how to resume business. Among those forced to stay home working, some acquainted with the Logical Thinking Process tools may ask themselves what happens to a Goal Tree in case of a lockdown?
The first answer is… nothing.
A Goal Tree remains valid as long as…
If the business can resume, the Goal Tree should remain valid. It is the strategy deployment for achieving the Goal that is late, possibly needing adjustment.
The rational analysis that led to a robust Goal Tree remains valid as long as the system owner does not define another Goal, or as long as the business environment isn’t disrupted in such a manner that the initial Goal makes no more sense.
In some businesses decisions to radically set new strategic intents can happen. Think of startups and their inclination to pivot if the expected results do not show within the expected timeframe.
The COVID-19 pandemic and its lessons learned may also bring some opportunities, e.g. manufacturing disposable protective masks, gear, low-tech respirators… It is also likely that some companies will get out of business, leaving room for the competition or new entrants.
Entrepreneurs driven out of business by the virus may have to ditch their Goal Tree along with all the plans for the future, but are likely to start a new business. In the later, the initial Goal Tree could fit or a new one derived from it.
But hopefully most businesses will resume their activity, recover from the setback and keep working on achieving their defined Goal.
Minor adjustments required
It could happen that regulations change after this 2020 coronavirus pandemic and some business practices must change accordingly. Such a mandatory change could affect a Necessary Condition in your Goal Tree, like for example have an authority-approved Business Continuity Plan for being allowed to operate.
In such a case, the Goal Tree needs adjustment. My guess is that it will be a relatively minor one, even so the necessary time, effort and expenses to comply with the new requirement(s) may not be minor… I am thinking of adjusting the Goal Tree, not the deployment plan.
Nevertheless, most of the Goal Tree remains valid, the actions already undertaken as well and many still to complete also.
Some prerequisite is no more granted
What is very likely to happen after the lockdown is to have some of the Goal Tree’s Necessary Conditions (AKA prerequisites or Intermediate Objectives) previously fulfilled and secured no longer/ not always fulfilled.
Note: In my 3-color assessment system, those Necessary Conditions would turn from Green to Red or Amber.
Think of the shortages of disinfectant, disposable face masks, the transportation and delivery system impaired…
Those obstacles do not invalidate the Necessary Condition not alone the Goal Tree itself. What happens is that the current reality changed, not the the Goal. In such a case, one must turn to the other Logical Thinking Process Tools; the Current Reality Tree, the Evaporating Cloud or more likely the Future Reality Tree and action plan, in order to fix the problem and turn the Necessary Condition into the Green status again.
During and shortly after the lockdown, people involved in definition and deployment of strategy should check if:
- Despite the current situation, is the Goal still valid?
- Are any adjustments required?
- Did our current reality change?
And act accordingly.
Feel free to share your thoughts and experience in the comments.