The COVID-19 hit to the world economy was very rapid, unpredicted and, most importantly, “never witnessed before” in modern history. This puts companies’ Business Continuity Plans (BCP) in a relatively static situation compared to the amount of changes & dynamics the world has witnessed since December 2019.
Regardless of how individuals and organisations are perceiving the measures taken nationally or globally in reaction to the virus spread – exaggerated, spot on or too mild – still the economic & social bill so far is humungous and still counting.
In this article, we recommend some actions and leadership behaviours that we see as essential for organisations to undergo and demonstrate during this difficult time.
- Rigor Direction Setting with clear line of sight to organisational priorities and goals
- Review all business plans to ensure they reflect the new reality.
- Ensure targets and measures are crystal clear for all employees.
- Adjust employee work-plans to reflect amended business plans.
- ‘Nice to have actions’ should be on hold until the next assessment cycle.
- Enhance digital capability, you never had this opportunity before to turn digital.
- A clear Plug and Play plan for post outbreak should be in place, people should be trained on to execute once the world came back to normal.
- Save every penny as if it’s your last, and invest the savings in where it matters the most
- Cut all unnecessary costs, as long as it’s not affecting core operation.
- If possible, delay plans and don’t cancel, this might end as fast as it started.
- This is the right time to invest in Capability Building, fielding the best team & creating loyalty.
- Emotions fly in crisis time, try to shift marketing spending to more CSR spending. It’s a guaranteed investment.
- Avoid falling in the trap of productivity programmes initiation (don’t restructure now) – rather focus on keeping your strongest talents on board and off board low performers.
- Move your resources NOW to where money is paid. Minimise work force in products that are not moving with the new reality and add those forces to the where money is made.
- Avoid being part of chain reaction- break the chain
- Just like the advice we read every day, you should break the chain, by not repeating business actions of others, unless it makes business sense to you. They don’t know it all.
- Create competitive advantage for your organisation by jumping on opportunities now. Many are afraid to take a step and will just follow. Leaders take rational actions and others follow.
- Make sure all actions & decisions are based on facts not emotions. During these tough times, the hardest job is to differentiate between what is a fact and what looks like a fact but is not.
- Communicate, Communicate, Communicate
- Own your own communications platform, messages and know reactions firsthand. Social distancing doesn’t work with organisations. Use digital platforms to ensure you continue to be close to your people.
- No one knows everything except that rumours and anxiety can burn organisations.
- Communicate even if you have no new news. Don’t be ashamed to say I don’t know, or no one knows.
- If you don’t fill the gaps, someone else will fill it for you, but the bill remains yours.
- Turn crisis to opportunity by staying close to your people. Culture and values are tested on tough time.
- Engage your organisation in cause-oriented actions. Its time of CSR activities more than any other activities.
- Involve more employees in your decision-making process. Experience counts less now.
- It’s new for all of us, accordingly the experience counts less than in normal times.
- Take ideas from all organisation layers on how to sustain, transform and evolve the business with the new reality.
- Younger people are more digitally savvy, ask them for digital advice and implement their ideas as long as it makes sense.
- Ensure leaders use principal based decisions now everyday rather than sticking to rules and policies that were not designed to serve in such an ambiguous environment.
Finally, this is a time where all entities and individuals should put hands together to survive and evolve. Advices and successful experience sharing will not cost anyone more than a couple of hours’ investment. Multiplier Consultancy will walk the talk and will be open to providing corporations or entities with any needed consultancy work with no strings attached & is calling others to start the same as much as they can.
Ahmed Sultan is the CEO of Multiplier Consultancy