Four Risks Growth Leaders Must Consider for 2022, Part Four: Too Much Agility

1 Dec 21

Despite great external conditions and careful planning — a strong macroeconomic environment, big bets with aligned commercial capacity, and increased investment in digital marketing and selling — SBI Research found that even high-growth CEOs expressed uncertainty around their teams’ ability to execute their growth plans. Our research surfaced four key risks and aligned recommendations that all growth leaders should consider as they finalize their 2022 plans and shift to execution.

While the current macroeconomic environment presents growth leaders with considerable opportunity, CEOs will benefit from showing commitment to the shortlist of growth initiatives that matter most to their annual plans as opposed to shifting gears with the market.

SBI Research found that lower-growth companies are 250% more likely to take an agile approach to 2022 planning than their peers. Specifically, these companies express high willingness to shift resources quickly and build multiple contingencies into their plans — often ending up in reactive mode.

likelihood of using an agile planning approach

As markets show signs of greater demand, these organizations easily over-index to additional, or different, bets, resulting in poor execution and throughput of their initial growth plan. Teams navigating constant reprioritization, or the continual introduction of ‘more’ initiatives, fail to develop proficiency and abandon continuous improvement initiatives. “We’ve had a tendency to chase a lot of growth opportunities, but without discipline. Our teams saw growth opportunities, but they didn’t fit into our process for execution. "We ultimately had to slow down to go faster,” one CEO shared.

As drivers of their business’s growth program, CEOs should critically evaluate the growth initiatives — and number of them — planned for 2022. Commitment to this shortlist significantly impacts successful execution, suggesting CEOs must feel confident that they’ve pointed their teams in the right direction.

Some starter questions to consider: Which levers will you pull? Why? What uplift are you assuming? How difficult will it be? How soon can you expect an impact on growth? And finally, do the rewards outweigh the risks?

To learn about additional risks facing commercial leaders in 2022, click here to read our full report.

"Four Risks Growth Leaders Must Consider for 2022" is a four-part series from SBI Research. Join us each week for a deep dive into each of the risks outlined in our recent report.

  1. Unrealistic assumptions about talent
  2. Disproportionate budget allocation to ‘feet on the street’
  3. CX Initiatives that are no more than lip service
  4. Too much agility