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What Does It Mean to #GoStrategic?

As we walk through a new year, Strategic Treasurer is challenging everyone – itself as well as others – to “go strategic,” but the phrase is more than a clever play on the company name. So what do we mean by it?  

#GoStrategic means to approach your work with wisdom and intentionality. It means to pursue answers to both present and future questions in a thoughtful and systematic way. It’s to examine unbiased data and to leverage the nuance of expertise in an application. It’s to be proactive and forward-thinking; to avoid haphazard and responsive drifting. 

Going strategic in this way has always been important for treasurers, but we want to emphasize it in 2020 in light of multiple challenges and opportunities the industry faces. For example, technology’s rapid change has opened up unprecedented opportunities, and many treasury groups are not maintaining a good understanding of the tech landscape. In addition, a long run of economic growth has left many with a mindset that is too lax toward risk. The point, however, does not render an accusation, but to encourage treasurers and other treasury professionals to use this year to look further ahead and go strategic. 

Three ways that treasury can #GoStrategic in 2020 and beyond: 

  1. A Cadence for Planning 

Make a plan and establish a structure around planning. Many organizations implement a cadence of quarterly goal-setting and review, often taking a topic for each quarter and heavily focusing on it. In the first quarter, you might consider a tech refresh. What tools do you have? How’s your integration? In the second quarter, you may want to review and refresh your policies, in the third, you could work on data – benchmarking and internal performance tracking – and so on.  

The structure, timing, and topics can be and in fact, need to be whatever works best for your organization. The point is to proactively plan and create a structure so that the planning isn’t a one-off spurt of good intentions that are never acted on or reviewed. Get into a cadence of keeping yourself and your organization strategic. 

  1. Systematic Streamlining 

This year, get rid of your department’s extra work by eliminating operational and repetitive tasks. The two primary means for eliminating these are a) automation and b) outsourcing. Most treasury departments are thinly staffed. Identifying and eliminating tasks that frequently cause headaches or that simply have too high an opportunity cost can allow staff to get to higher-value tasks that might otherwise go neglected. Automate what you can, outsource what you can’t, and when you do free up time using these methods, make sure you are strategic about how you’ll use that new margin. 

  1. Relentless Discipline 

This last one is the least complicated, but quite likely the hardest. It is easy to get distracted. And, like a New Year’s Resolution, no matter how good our planning is, our plan will only succeed when we approach it with intentionality and daily commitment to the goals we set. We must maintain relentless discipline and keep taking steps to ensure we are achieving our strategic plans. 

(This article is based on Episode 79 of the Treasury Update Podcast, the first episode in a series on #GoStrategic on Strategic Treasurer’s website. To hear the full episode this post was written from, click here. You can find the original content here.)

 

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