Understanding your new business context

In business – as in life – context is everything. And when writing a strategic plan, it is important firstly to have a thorough understanding of the market context.

At CBB, we believe that the most important part of writing the strategic plan is to begin with a thorough understanding of the market. That also includes having a solid understanding of the sector context. With many board members from the commercial sector and contributing to not for profit boards, the CEO and management are often in a better place to understand the disability sector context. Continue reading…


Your post COVID-19 Strategic Plan

What were you hoping that 2020 would be about? What did your strategic plan or business plan say that you wanted to achieve this year? What underlying assumptions did you have in the strategic plan that no longer hold true?

I saw a statistic recently that 82% of the time a strategy fails can be attributed to misleading assumptions. Think of Kodak and how they were left behind in the transition from film to digital photography.

Many businesses have thrown out whatever strategic plan they had for 2020 and have been reacting day to day and month to month as the COVID-19 health crisis and related economic crisis have unfolded. Whatever you assumed in your strategic plan for 2020 has quite possibly already proven to be false. Continue reading…


For a good strategy you don’t need much time…

Strategy needs space

In an interview the productivity consultant David Allen said that strategic thinking does not require large amounts of time (Clark, 2015).  More importantly, it’s space that allows innovative ideas and decisions that will guide the future direction of your not for profit.

Being strategic is one of the most important behaviours that guarantee an organisation’s long term success and almost every leader would like to have more time for strategic planning (Clark 2018). We are all too busy, dealing with the daily fires, and now that many of us are working from home, we feel like we’re working all the time.

Keeping track of our time and setting a regular time aside for strategic thinking and planning can help to embed strategic thinking into our schedule (Clark, 2018). Getting away from our routine and ‘to do lists’ can create some mental space. Encouraging our managers and team leaders to set some time aside for strategy and offering opportunities to share their thoughts and ideas can also foster strategic thinking throughout our organisation. Continue reading…


SWOT and SOAR

Everyone has probably heard of a SWOT analysis, and most people have done one before. A SWOT can be a great way to quickly summarise many of the key issues that need to be considered in the strategy process.

In a SWOT, the strengths and weaknesses are looked at in terms of the organisation’s internal perspective. For example, what strengths and weaknesses are there with the organisation’s people, systems, technology, products/services, marketing and so on.

In my experience, many people and organisations think more highly of their strengths than they should. You might have a piece of software or a key person that you see as a strength, but wouldn’t the competitor down the road say the same thing about their organisation? Strengths need to be thought of in relation to competitors.

The opportunities and threats reflect external considerations. It might relate to growth opportunities in the market, new technology being developed, competitor actions or government policy changes, for example. Continue reading…


Keeping a regular eye on risk

Has there ever been a more important time to be monitoring new and emerging risks to your organisation? Perhaps it is becoming one of 2020’s most overused words that we are living in “unprecedented” times.

The emergence of the global coronavirus pandemic this year has forced every organisation to review its business continuity plan and take a number of other steps to ensure the safety of employees and clients, modify operations, change marketing priorities and shore up the financial position.

On the subject of coronavirus, CBB have shared a link to some resources available through the South Australian Department of Human Services via our LinkedIn page which readers may find of interest. Other information is available from the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission. Continue reading…


Understanding your market dynamics

Question: Why did the thief rob the bank?
Answer: Because that’s where the money is.

In this situation, the thief understood enough about his market to know where to find the money!

It’s important for an organisation to have a solid understanding of where the money is in their own market segment before they can maximise their organisation’s potential.

Data on the market can be used to answer a number of questions that lead to better decision making. What is the size of your market? Is it growing or contracting? Why? How is the market evolving or changing? What disruptive forces are impacting the market? How are competitors’ actions changing the market? What are the bounds and scope of the market that you are operating in? Should we look to another market segment in order to continue growing the business? How much should we spend on acquiring the knowledge necessary to answer these questions? Continue reading…


Understanding market changes

Coronavirus, stock exchange losses, countries going in to lockdown, businesses being shut down, stock shortages in the shopping centres.managers having a conversation

We live in unprecedented times with the business models of decades’ old organisations quite literally changing overnight.

The radical changes we have seen over the past few weeks have demonstrated the speed at which market dynamics can change, and the need for businesses to respond quickly.

Boards and management teams are needing to respond with urgency to scenario plan and make decisions with imperfect information as the situation unfolds.

The markets that we operate in and the customers we serve are always changing. Whilst the speed of change is not necessarily what we have seen recently, now is a time not just to focus on the immediate crisis at hand, but to think about how to structure management and board meetings so that market changes form part of the regular and ongoing conversation. Continue reading…


Digitising systems without losing human interaction

A range of factors, not least the realities of operating in the NDIS market, are prompting many of our clients to look at how they can make better use of digital systems to reduce their overhead costs, create efficiencies and improve data integrity. These drivers are often counter-balanced with concerns about losing connection with clients (because digital is less personal) and the anticipated reactions of staff. Sometimes this is because experience tells organisations that some of their employees are active resistors of digital. There’s also the sheer workload – any digital introduction or change requires a change management approach, staff training and active line management of employees to ensure that they are using the technology as intended.  If resources are released from process work, there’s also an opportunity to redeploy employees to more valuable activities.

There is no shortage of cautionary tales about failed digital implementations, so not for profits need to make sure that you are putting your limited assets and capacity for digital investments in the right place. Continue reading…


Strategy can’t be created in a vacuum

There have been radical changes to the way in which community services are funded in recent years. It’s not as simple as the money just coming from a different place, the changes have completely transformed the business model for many organisations, particularly in areas such as aged care and disability, where purchasing decisions are now made by consumers, not commissioners. This comes alongside other changes in the way that people engage with causes, organisations and work; and rapidly developing technologies and stakeholder expectations of how organisations use technology to engage and deliver services. All this means that, even if you haven’t had a major change in your business model, your organisation is still going to be impacted by a changing external context.

Continue reading…


Key person risk – Is your organisation vulnerable?

If your business depends on you, you don’t own a business – you have a job. And it’s the worst job in the world because you’re working for a lunatic!
– Michael E. Gerber

Organisations can live forever, but people cannot. In the UK, the oldest not for profit organisation is said to be King’s School, Cantebury which was established more than 1400 years ago in 597.

There are many factors that contribute to the longevity of an organisation and one of them is ensuring that key person risk is mitigated.

Continue reading…