Patrick Ow provides advice for businesses and organisations in the event that there is no COVID19 vaccine; everyone needs to create a pandemic survival guide.
What Can Businesses and Organisations Do?
Key questions to ask:
- How can the business conserve cash and boost liquidity to keep the business and organisation afloat and thrive over the next two years? Proactively managing the cash flow will be vital for the long-term.
- What will be new normal going to look like for my customers, business, and workplace? Take advantage of the opportunities presented due to changes in personal preferences and behaviours.
- How does the business need to shift, restructure, or reorganise to take advantage of the opportunities presented? A crisis is a good opportunity to innovate and make the required changes to reposition and shift for the upturn.
For corporates, here are some planning considerations covering the next 24 months:
Reset and radically transform the entire cost structure .
Aggressively focus on cash and cash flow. Tighten working capital execution. Establish short-, mid-, and long-term actions to fundamentally adjust for the future and uncertainties. Find low-risk decisions and strategic moves that are high-reward.
Determine if your market and customer preferences have changed or can change in the future .
Understand what has happened to your customers, suppliers, and competitors. Determine market trends, disruptors, and preference changes. Redesign customer experience. Improve service delivery.
Revisit strategic priorities and develop a clear strategy .
Focus on your core capabilities that will differentiate your business, services/products, and value proposition. Double down on your differentiating capabilities. Be clear on your must-haves to survive and thrive over the next two years.
Strengthen your supply chain .
Develop flexible but reliable supply, production, and logistics networks. Optimise supply chain processes and dependencies. Evaluate service delivery models. Diversify supply chains and resources.
Bring people on a journey into new ways of operating .
Reimagine your operating model. Engage the teams and stakeholders. Allow teams to innovate and solve problems quickly. Collaborate across boundaries. Show empathy. Be transparent. Act with urgency. Express gratitude. Place value on learning, upskilling, etc. Support employee well-being and mental health.
Adopt flexible, virtual, and diversified approaches that support autonomy, flexibility, and adaptability .
Take accountability for decisions. Raise the tolerance for imperfection. Accelerate your cultural evolution.
Upskill or reskills the workforce .
Actively engage the workforce to define the required behaviours, skills, and competencies. Build an organisation that could survive and thrive. Update talent management and leadership development to incorporate new roles, skills, and competencies. Increase the mix of flexible talent based on new technologies, business models, and strategies.
Assess infrastructure and enact safeguards .
Ensure workspaces are ready for safe employee return. Create workplace trust and safety. Social distancing is a must. Reiterate the need for good personal hygiene.
Reimagine the next normal .
Rethink how work gets done in terms of efficiency, effectiveness, and resilience. Classify and prioritise services and products. Reprioritise backlogs, projects, and resources.
- How to develop a recovery roadmap post-COVID-19 (and what are the key strategic considerations for a successful recovery)
- How organisations can survive COVID-19
- We can’t go on reopening and closing economies forever (10 steps for permanently keeping economies open)
Finally, Plan for a Marathon, Not a Sprint
The number of infectious diseases like SARS, HIV, and COVID19 has increased by nearly fourfold over the past century. Since 1980 alone, the number of outbreaks per year has more than tripled.
COVID19 has reminded us that infectious diseases haven’t vanished. It is no longer a black swan event. There are more new infectious diseases now than ever before.
Planning for them will be crucial for our survival and existence. Pandemic preparedness planning will become the norm for individuals, organisations, and governments. So, you too should develop a pandemic survival plan when it does occur.
Plan for a marathon, not a sprint.
This is Part Two of a two-part series. Find Part One here.