How Forming Strategy Gives Assurance Amidst Our “Great Unknowing”

organization change strategic visioning Oct 26, 2021



Author: Trent Wakenight


When we are lost in the woods, the sight of a signpost is a great matter.

C. S. Lewis


The past 20 months have been like being dropped into a forest without a map. As darkness falls, panic sets in, and a pathway forward fades from view. Finding a clearing in the woods becomes the number one priority, as one literally can’t see the forest for the trees. 

As leaders are reluctant to aim for the outer edge of the forest, employees are left searching for guideposts and wondering what to expect and whom they can trust. In fact, recent Gallup research shows that only 22% of employees feel that leaders have a clear direction for the organization. By asserting a vision and short-term strategy, leaders connect stakeholders to a shared purpose, provide transparency and ultimately increase the employee engagement that is essential to navigating black swan events.

At The Grove, early- to late- 2021 has brought a resurgence of partners and clients seeking help in finding a clear path forward. With that call for strategy and planning is a desire for reassurance amidst this “great unknowing.”  While each client has their own unique challenges, they all are seeking clear communication, cross-departmental alignment and an agile approach to a changing landscape.

The following is a sampling of some of our current clients’ strategic challenges:


Defining Stakeholder Messaging

A global automotive company came to us seeking to collectively define the near-term communication strategy and outgoing messaging for stakeholder engagement on themes of corporate citizenry, environmental sustainability and advanced vehicular technologies.


Envisioning the Future with Strategic Growth

A trade industry membership organization needed to define a new organizational structure, envision six significant game-changing strategic investments and deliver an immediate response to leadership requirements and customer demands.


Anticipating and Adapting to Trends in Talent Management

In response to talent pools that increasingly have more choices and options, a human resources technology company sought to recognize trends impacting the relationship between hiring organizations and talent pools while adapting to a new way of working in a post-COVID environment.


Delivering Customer Value in a VUCA World

In an ever-changing human health care sector, a pharmacy consultant firm needed to define 12- to 36-month strategies and objectives to deliver customer value while meeting the financial goals and vision of the board of directors.


Refreshing Vision and Communicating the Future

Recognizing changing market conditions and new opportunities for growth, an association membership organization wanted to refresh its 2020 vision and strategic plan and drive membership engagement by communicating future plans in visual ways.


At the heart of The Grove’s Strategic Visioning (SV) approach is a series of thoughtful conversations that creates a true-north vision that is visual, feasible, strategically savvy and emotionally compelling. The process is distinctive in using visual templates, called Graphic Guides®, to support focused conversations about an organization’s environment, current situation, vision of a desired future state and action plans for implementing a strategic vision. The visual frameworks enable groups to collectively brainstorm and learn from one another.



Short-term planning doesn’t eschew the value of having a long-term vision— there is incredible value in defining what to lean into and care about doing. The current handshake to that, however, is a reassurance that goes with simply designing and appreciating the steps that will be taken over the next six to 12 months. With that short-term plan comes the comfort, peace and sense of direction that we all can benefit from now more than ever. 

What does the future hold? Here in late 2021, that question holds greater uncertainty than ever before. Perhaps simply settling into a bright clearing in the forest isn’t such a bad place to be after all.



Learn more about The Grove’s Visioning and Strategic Planning services that support focused conversations about an organization’s environment, current situation, vision of a desired future state and action plans for implementing a strategic vision. To discuss your organization’s situation and needs, email [email protected].

The Grove will be running its course on Strategic Visioning Nov 29–Dec 3, 2021.

What challenges Are you facing?

Let’s talk.