The Business Leader’s Guide in a Time of Uncertainty

The Business Leader’s Guide in a Time of Uncertainty

Stratford’s Tips for Navigating Economic Uncertainty

“There are no easy outs…We expect growth will stall in the next few quarters – in other words, growth will be close to zero. But once we get through this slowdown, growth will pick up…”

~Tiff Macklem; Governor, Bank of Canada (November 2022)

Economic uncertainty, increasing interest rates, mixed expectations around a recession and softening sales projections are no doubt a topic of discussion around senior executive tables.  The latest Bank of Canada business outlook survey demonstrates that business confidence has declined in Q3 2022.  In the face of this uncertainty, it is easy to default to inaction or dive into hasty cost cutting, both of which could sabotage the future.

What can CEO’s and executives consider as they set up their businesses for success in uncertain times? How can they account for uncertainty and look past it at the same time?

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First, evaluate your market and financial stability. Your path to securing growth will be different depending on those two factors. If you are in a volatile market without a financial safety net, you will have to identify and build robust risk mitigation strategies. While on the other hand companies with a strong financial position can identify M&A opportunities and accelerate digital transformations.

Second, refresh your strategy to embrace uncertainty. Uncertainty in external environments necessitates a proactive and iterative strategy-to-implementation cycle. Create business rhythms that ensure you refresh your strategy and build in a “check-in” of your strategic objectives and tactics as part of your quarterly reviews or OKR system. By doing this proactively you ensure that you are not driven by a static plan that has become outdated.

If you don’t have a documented strategy, then this is the time to build one! In times of uncertainty the day-to-day rush is amplified, and you need to ensure that it does not obscure the big picture.

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Third, invest in your business resilience and be selective. Depending on your financial stability, this can take on many forms although the central driver is the same. Periods of high uncertainty and recessions will pass and investments in financial, technological, process and talent resilience pay off.  These investments can include pursuing well-timed M&As as part of your financial and growth strategy.

Technology adoption driven by a digital strategy is key for resiliency, speed, and agility. Many organizations will struggle to prioritize where to invest. A robust quantified benefit realization framework can help you select and prioritize the right investments. 

While these guiding principles are broadly applicable, they are not cookie-cutter. Stratford Group is uniquely positioned to support organizations navigating uncertainty with services tailored to each organization.

Our team of management consultants from finance, technology and strategy domains are expert practitioners and executives who have been in your shoes and can lean in with you. We can curate the complement of services that you need including a financial assessment, strategy development, a digital strategy, or an M&A plan.

We’d love to chat with you about how Stratford’s deep expertise can empower your executive team to get better results with value driven tailored services. If you’d like to learn more, please reach out to [email protected].

About Rana: A senior executive, professional engineer and ivy league executive MBA business graduate with over 25 years of accomplishments in technology and business domains. Rana’s experience includes business and digital strategy development large-scale solution delivery including for not-profit, start-ups and global fortune 500 companies.  Rana Chreyh is recognized for her ability to seamlessly transverse and integrate business and IT strategy due to her broad and deep experience profile and industry expertise in technology, manufacturing, process engineering, medical device, HealthTech and healthcare. As Practice Leader, Management Consulting at Stratford, Rana brings her leadership, knowledge and her team’s expertise to the table to meet your specific needs.


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