Now is the time to plan for the new normal – Four key topics to address
While short term actions have already been taken to protect both employees and the bottom line, preparing for the next phase of the crisis, let us call it the ‘’new normal’’, is imperative. Until a vaccine, a treatment or until herd immunity is reached, businesses need to learn to operate under new conditions that could have major impacts on their success.
Every crisis is an opportunity to reassess the reality in which your organization is evolving. As the crisis progresses, some businesses will emerge on top while others will be left behind.
“You never want a serious crisis to go to waste.” ― Rahm Emanuel
This unprecedented crisis touches many fronts of our society: People’s health, the supply-side, the demand-side and a looming threat of transforming itself in a new financial crisis. As the situation evolves, we have identified four key topics for executives on their COVID-19 medium term response:
The best way to manage a crisis and implement changes is by keeping the communication channel open and consulting all your stakeholders. The best examples of leadership are seen from political leaders all over the world. Some are managing the crisis well by reacting fast, communicating frequently with the population and consulting experts while others have failed to do so. In moments of crisis, stress levels are high, driving the need for frequent communication as employees and customers are bombarded with new information everyday. During a crisis, speed is better than perfection. Do not wait for the perfect plan, engage with your stakeholders today to build your ‘’new normal’’ plan and ensure business continuity.
While deconfinement is starting, the COVID-19 crisis is far from being over. Second and additional waves of the virus might come, and until a treatment or a vaccine is available (expected for Q2 or Q3 2021 only) or herd immunity is reached (60% to 80% of populations), the pandemic will affect businesses and our lives. The impacts on the world economy will last even longer. Organizations with strong balance sheets, business continuity plans and succession plans will be better equipped to react to this external shock. Anticipation, fast decision-making, and agility define organizations’ resiliency. Involve your key executives to develop medium-term business continuity and bouncing back plans.
In a world of social distancing, technology will play an integral part in every organization’s business continuity and growth plan. As consumer spending habits are permanently changed, digital capabilities and contact-less technologies will become must-haves to serve clients and for non-customer facing activities. Workplace habits must also change to facilitate remote working and learning, and to manage processes and the supply chain. Review your approach to ensure you stay connected with customers and employees while being as low touch as possible.
4. Increased Regionalization
As the supply chain dependence on China and other regions is becoming an even more obvious business risk, organizations are increasing the diversification of their manufacturing footprint. Some businesses are restructuring their supply chain to move closer to the end users. However, digital globalization will continue to increase. Identify and prioritize key weaknesses in your supply chain to ensure CAPEX is spent on impactful changes.
Finally, governments might impose new regulations to mitigate future similar crises, and customers and employees’ expectations will adapt. Organizations will need to meet these new expectations to come out as winners in the post-COVID-19 world.
Now is the time to rethink your organization’s medium-term plan in terms of human resources, technology, processes and go to market to address the new normal.
Are you ready?
Kerrissey, Michaela and Edmondson, Amy. April 2020. What good leadership looks like during this pandemic. Harvard Business Review.
Hougaard, Rasmus and Carter, Jacqueline. April 2020. Perfectionism will slow you down in a crisis. Harvard Business Review.
Board of Innovation. April 2020. Shifts in the low touch economy.
McKinsey. April 2020. Could the next normal emerge from Asia?