Principles to Strengthen an Organization in the New COVID-19 Normal
Capitalize on the situation. Difficult circumstances expose weaknesses and create opportunities. Give weaknesses full transparency and work to strengthen those areas. The competitive weight lifter who starts to use the new and innovative equipment may realize that their latissimus dorsi erector spina bicep isn’t as strong as they thought. So they begin to focus on that muscle, knowing that its development may be just what they need to win the next competition. Business is competitive, so we must similarly focus on strengthening the areas that make us most vulnerable to our competition.
Strengthen financial contingencies. This often involves, among other things, a strategy for cash management and wise banking practices. A solid financial strategy will include a combination of cash reserves and credit options. The blend of the two will be unique for every business. Have your contingency plans in place and be ready to execute when needed.
Don’t make reactionary or fear-based decisions. Be rational and consider the big picture. In the face of a crisis, there will always be the temptation to cut corners, operate with less integrity and transparency, and look out for our own self-interest at the expense of others or the overall business. Be mindful to avoid this tendency.
Don’t be afraid to take risks in a challenging environment. However, as a mountain climber carefully anchors to the rock and watches the weather closely, so too must we take precautions to protect us from a sudden fall and closely watch the business climate around us.
Absorb the pain of the moment. In a crisis, people will experience stress. Leaders can help absorb this stress by remaining calm, listening when people feel the need to talk about their fears, and lessening their burden by making sacrifices for their benefit.
Don’t be afraid to make difficult changes. A crisis like COVID – 19 may create cultural and societal changes that require a business to craft different strategies. Don’t be afraid to sacrifice the sacred cow if the business climate now demands a shift to sheep or chickens.
Create a people strategy. A people strategy will involve everything from cross training and redundant backups to a comprehensive succession planning program for critical positions. In our current climate, a strategy should also include protecting people from outside threats. It’s important to consider all the people in your line of sight (employees, customers, vendors, contractors, etc.) as you develop a people strategy.
Stay true to who you are. Making strategic shifts should not mean that a business ignores the factors that have contributed to past success. Reinvent yourself within the context of your successful business niche and capitalize on what you are good at. You may shift your business from cows to chickens, but continue to capitalize on the skill of working with animals.
Inspire others. Create a culture where employees are motivated to embrace the challenge and give everyone involved vision for and the ability to understand their particular contribution to the solution. Just like any strategic plan implementation, employees should be well informed and have the opportunity to weigh in and provide feedback.
About the Author
Principal Shawn Miller manages Morrison's People Solutions service line and specializes in executive recruiting, leadership training, organizational development, strategic planning, HR compliance and best practices, and other people related services. You can contact Shawn directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or (530) 809-4680.