The scale and scope of the COVID-19 pandemic has shocked the world. Disease infection has vaulted to the top of the list of global risks we face, and virtual has suddenly become the default modality for much of how we live and work. As a result, issues of safety, privacy and ethics are becoming more prominent and there has never been a higher premium on resilience, confidence and trust.
WHAT ARE ORGANIZATIONS FOCUSED ON AT THIS TIME?
Organizations will typically move through three phases and potentially recycle as they recover from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic:
Protect customers, workforce, operations and the supply chain.
Ensure business continuity by enabling employees to work and clients to access goods and services, while maintaining core operations.
Manage through an economic slowdown as a lighter-weight, more agile business.
Reconfigure the product portfolio and the rapid creation of a scalable operating model to support changing market and employee needs.
Position to re-emerge strongly and gain share in the recovery.
Reinvent the business model to address existing and new opportunities with a stronger, more resilient version of the enterprise.
Most organizations will spend approximately three to six months in the RESPOND phase and 12 to 18 months in the RESET phase. However, parts of the three phases will take place in parallel and organizations may be at different levels of maturity across the five key priorities.
For example, after the first six weeks of survival mode, approximately 70% of the organization’s focus will be centered on short-term planning and 30% towards achieving mid-term objectives that will help it RESET. As the organization then moves through the RESET phase, the portfolio balance will shift to a focus on creating new revenue streams.
Throughout all three phases it must be noticed that leadership approaches necessarily will shift:
- The RESPOND phase requires a command-and- control style of leadership, where a small core group of C-suite/senior executives quickly determines what is required to survive and then cascades decisions and actions to the organization. There is no time for extensive debate or broad consensus building during this phase.
- In the RESET phase, responsibility for optimizing functions is largely delegated to middle management. Strategic answers result from a very controlled measure-and-iterate approach focused on next-best-version outcomes, rather than visionary ideas.
- Moving into the RENEW phase, business model innovation needs to be mobilized through experiments actively sponsored by the C-suite. Decentralized agile innovation is key to ideating how different markets and capabilities could be developed to drive a market advantage.
LESSONS WE WILL LEARN FROM THIS PANDEMIC
Even as we continue to deal with the ramifications of this global crisis, we must prepare for what comes next. We will regularly face disruptions – societal, industrial, technological.
We need to expect this and be prepared. That is why your organization and people must be in a constant state of readiness to RESPOND, RESET and RENEW. To rethink your business, you need to quickly identify strategic bets to make your operations more resilient and your products and services more desirable to customers.
You’ll need to activate the full capabilities of your organization – both digital and human – to unlock operational efficiencies and create new revenue streams in response to changing market dynamics.
A clear vision and the agility to rapidly test, learn and adapt throughout this global disruption will separate the winners from the losers.