Saturday, November 22, 2008

A Fresh Look at Strategy (and a green energy update)

Most of us have been fixated on the current economic crisis that seems to worsen by the day. But, how many have used this as an opportunity to revisit strategy? At a moment when we're all riveted to current events it's also the perfect time to think about the future.

By way of an analogy, here's a quick update on my green energy initiative. BTW, thanks to those of you that have given me such positive feedback on it.

As you can see from these photos, we're continuing to make great progress and should be generating electricity very soon. The concrete pad is now sufficiently cured, the base of the tower is ready and the frame for the photovoltaic cells is in place. We already have the photovoltaic panels on site and are awaiting shipment of the tower and wind turbine - which should arrive within the next few weeks. And, the paperwork for "net metering" is being submitted, which will enable us to sell excess electricity back to the local utility.

The second photo offers a view to the west - the dominant source of wind. We're very fortunate to have such a great site - with an average wind speed of 10 - 12 mph! If you look closely, you might be able to see the the wind turbines (there are 12 of them) from New Hampshire's first commercial wind farm, which is about 10 miles away. This wind farm recently went online and will soon be generating 24 megawatts of electricity - enough for 10,000 homes!

Our wind turbine is the first residential one to be constructed in our town and will generate about 3KW. Like the commercial wind farm, ROI won't be achieved for 30 or more years!

As I mentioned in an earlier post, this is our investment in the future and an important contribution to our community and the world. It is "strategic" - in the truest sense of the word. In light of the current economic maelstrom, it is tempting reduce costs and scale back our efforts. However, I am not willing to retreat or change my "strategic plan" for green energy. Of course, in parallel, we've also been (tactically) pursuing energy conservation. For example, we've replaced most incandescent lights with fluorescent or LED equivalents, we unplug appliances when not in use, and we've super-insulated the house and updated the heating system for optimal efficiency.

Likewise, in the business world, it's tempting to completely abandon long-term strategy in favor of short-term tactics (e.g., cost reductions). However, I believe that we can't allow ourselves to lose sight of our goals for the future. Do you expect your company to be around in 25 years? If so, what sort of future do you envision? How will you achieve your vision? What sort of scenarios have you developed to help think about the future?

In fact, I believe that the current crisis is the perfect time to revisit strategy, and to update, enhance or totally recreate it. In my book, The Performance Management Revolution, I cite strategy as one of the four tenets of any performance management initiative. The use of scenarios - which consider political, economic, social and technological possibilities - will help direct any strategic thinking exercise.

With a compelling and credible strategy, the current crisis need only present a temporary set back, instead of allowing it to redefine the enterprise, ultimately hampering its future.



Check out my website for details on where I'll be speaking, presentation abstracts, articles, my book and more!

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