Wow!! How crazy have the last few months been? In Australia alone, we have had fires, floods and of course, the dreaded COVID-19 which is causing absolute mayhem for people’s health, anxiety, the economy and businesses.
As for businesses, I hope that all your contingency and crisis plans are well and truly activated and, most importantly, you are looking after your employees’ physical and mental wellbeing.
So…what is next? Well, I don’t want to be too hasty but now is the time to throw out your safety and/or business strategy for 2020.
There are two main reasons for this:
Adaptability is Critical For Effectiveness
Even without COVID-19 affecting us in such a big way, the market and technology move far too fast in this day and age to set a strategy and stick to it for a year (or three in the case of some businesses!). I recommend reading ‘Why You Should Throw Out Your Business Plan’ by Kobi Simmat, which talks about business mapping for where you want your business to go rather than static strategies.
I once heard the CEO of a very successful company say that if you manage to stick to a strategy for the entire year then you have failed. It means that you have not been agile enough to adapt to the ever-changing environment and therefore not as effective as you could have been. I am definitely not saying that you shouldn’t set a strategy at all. However, your strategy needs to be flexible and able to pivot to address your business needs and what is happening in the market and industry.
Planning Ahead is Essential for Future Success
With COVID-19 having such a huge influence on our businesses, where does that put us and our strategy? All Formula 1 drivers know that it is not about how quickly you can take a corner it is how fast you can accelerate out of it. As the driver approaches the corner he gears down, squeezes the brake and negotiates the turn, all with the ultimate goal of exploding out of that hairpin hazard. With COVID-19, our crisis plans should well and truly be in place, whether they are formalised or not, and hopefully, this will stop our business from crashing.
The smartest companies, however, are not simply bracing for impact and trying to avoid a crash, they are planning and strategising to explode out of COVID-19 and be ahead of their competitors.
So…What to do Now?
Firstly with the broader environment around COVID-19 changing on a daily basis, businesses should also be reviewing their crisis management strategy constantly (at least once a day) to adjust and adapt. While it is hard not to be influenced by the external media and industry narrative, adapting your strategy should be done by taking a risk-based approach to suit your business needs, rather than knee jerk reactions.
Secondly, test, try and play with new technology that may benefit your business coming out of this pandemic. Now I am not saying go and sign up to long-term contracts with companies that may provide little value. What I am saying is that this is a great opportunity to review your current systems and try the latest technology which the everyday operations of a business may have previously made challenging.
Most new technology companies (if you ask nicely) provide free trials and no lock-in contracts to give you enough time to see if they are the right fit for you. During a downtime, this can help to create efficiencies, cost savings and set you up for success post COVID-19, providing your business with the tools to not only survive this period but thrive post-pandemic.
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