Anticipation V Reaction in Business

Written by Jennifer Kelly. Director StrategyBox

Anticipation has always been the number one thing in business to give companies the advantage.


Anticipation is the ultimate power. Momentum is the second power.  As your reading this, you might think. “well that’s great in hindsight”. but if you think about it, even before COVID, how many times have you sat down to really plan and think about how your business is going to perform in the next few years to come?

The current environment is not easy. I am writing this article to give you another perspective on things that may in turn help your business in these challenging times. 

In-depth planning 3-5 years out is a waste of time because the world is changing so rapidly. However, having your eye on the longer-term goals and understanding what you want to achieve overall in business is necessary. A strategic plan should be short and concise and incorporate the medium term (one year) with an eye on the longer-term goals and objectives. Connecting long term strategy with near term operational realities. The output of that plan should be reviewed every month. The Strategy of that plan should be reviewed every three months so that you can anticipate what is happening with the market and your customer and competitor shifts.


Companies that plan grow 30 percent faster

A study has shown which was outlined in the journal of management studies that businesses that undertook planning had 30% faster growth. (1) Burke, A., Fraser, S., & Greene, F. J. Is planning a waste of time? my answer is NO. What is the alternative? The alternative to anticipation is reacting. What happens when a team reacts? They do not have enough time to put all the elements together to make a decision and plan the outcome. Of course, there have been times, where reacting has worked out. But look at the time, money and effort that you could have saved the business and your resources by planning ahead to mitigate the issue.


If you are anticipating, you may have experienced a business situation in the past and therefore you know the road ahead and can put barriers in place to protect the business. An example of this is COVID. Now that you are on the other side of COVID and you have learned so much from it. Would you know what to do, if a lockdown happens again? Have you learned from your past lessons? You have the ultimate advantage over your competition now in any scenario that you anticipate.

Mindset and Skill are key to anticipation. Having the mindset to keep your eye on the long game, and having the skills to implement the plan and creating momentum in your company are key to your success.

Momentum is your power

As (2)Jim Collins studied 1,435 companies over 40 years found how 11 companies went from good to great. Momentum was a powerful tool to help them reach their destination from being good to great. The path to greatness requires clarity, focused attention on the right things, and eliminate the senseless things that consume energy.

Planning does not have to be a long process and laborious. Here are some things that you can do to take action.

1.   Take stock of your lessons learned

2.   Review your current strategy. Does it make sense in the current climate? Is it still the road the business needs to take?

3.   One of the elements that you would look at through your business planning/Strategy review is your clients. Review your client base. Without clients that genuinely believe that you are adding value. You have no sustained business model.

4.   Financial analysis is even more important at this point. Financial IQ is critical is to understand how you are using cashflow, leveraging, and financial forecasts.

5.   Identify the Key Priorities that will add value (you need to monetize what you are working on to value to the client and your business)

6.   Review your governance model to create momentum

7.   Use your data to measure and manage. Anticipate using leading indicators.

8.   Create a Business Continuity team

9.   Communicate to ensure your team is aligned and with you on your journey.

10. Continue to create momentum in the business by pushing forward. 


If you are struggling to build a plan, or need help – StrategyBox can help   



(1)   Burke, A., Fraser, S., & Greene, F. J. (2010). The multiple effects of business planning on new venture performance. Journal of Management Studies, 47(3), 391-415.

(2)   Jim, Collins. Good to Great.