There is no turning back – A model for going forward

It has become a worn out & tiresome phrase that we are living in unprecedented times and that our lives and businesses have forever changed.

One thing is for sure, it is mathematically impossible to stay ahead of what is happening.

You will never be able to email your way out of this.

Read about crisis communications

This is why you need to pull together a multi-disciplinary team – A recovery team – to manage your organization’s way out of this by focusing on your corporate structure, health & safety issues, and culture & people.

First, the most obvious is your corporate strategy itself: as I have written about in past, what in your strategy is still feasible? Have some old customers or products disappeared or been created?

Second, and the most top of mind, is health & safety: what does it mean to workers and customers to interact with your company? There are obvious (and comparatively small) decisions like the number of employees in a conference room, or the availability of hand-washing stations. But there are more strategic questions around the role and layout of your facilities, the impact of your annual conferences, the relationship between employee safety and customer experience.

Read about judges, bisons and the way forward 

Third – and the intersection of the first two – is the culture & people you’ll end up with as a result of your choices on categories one and two. The choices you make in your strategy and in creating a hygienic work environment will shape the sort of people who work for you, the ways they interact with one another, and the loyalty and creativity (or lack of it) you have developed..

Within each category of change above, your business can morph along with the disruption caused by the pandemic.

Rebuilding - Re-Entry Graphic-02

You know change is occurring in profound ways. But in order to make sense of this change quickly, I recommend you bucket your decisions and choices into these three degrees of disruption:

  1. Define your business core: what is your survival imperative? These are the things you must do to survive this phase.

For your business strategy, this is how you preserve a base-level of business health to survive into the next phase. In our work with clients, we find most clients consider too many things are imperatives and end up with a plan that produces no more simplicity than the original one.

  1. The malleable middle: where can you make some peripheral changes to your ways of working to capitalize on midterm opportunity?

The COVID-19 crisis has taken a wrecking ball to our traditional ways of working. But, it has also opened up many new, short-term opportunities to work with existing customers in new ways or repurpose equipment to make new products.

  1. The agile edge: what are the areas of your business you must completely re-think?

Perhaps these are some of the ideas that always seemed appealing, but never practical. Or investments in transformation that you knew you needed to make but wanted to wait until next year to go through the transformation.

Is this a jump ahead in your company’s digital technology, a conversion to a more automated manufacturing footprint or an opportunity to move your corporate offices to a part of the country with a lower cost of living?

The recovery team should be positioned at the intersection of these categories & questions and should see their role as one of continuous planning and revision.

Check out the curated list COVID leadership resources

This will be the key to thriving and resilience as our world continues to change.

Constant exploration, creative thinking, and routine check-ins with the management team to advance their thinking.

Ultimately, these rolling plans will shape the company’s new strategy & new culture over time – with far more intentionality built into it than a static planning process would create.

Let me know what works, and what novel ideas your company develops through this framework.

And if you need help, just ask and we can set up a call.