Four Quick Wins During COVID-19

Four Quick Wins During COVID-19

March 26, 2020
5:31 pm

The escalating severity of the COVID-19 crisis has presented a battery of business challenges to entrepreneurs and organizations everywhere. In these times of compounding commercial risks and multi-scenario challenges, how might businesses triage resources to tackle their immediate and long-term needs concurrently? B|G recommends that organizations address these ongoing business difficulties by uniting your staff to double down on fundamental strategic strengths. Below, we outline four practices to fortify, focus, and guide your organization's impact trajectory.

1.  Demonstrate strong leadership in a time of crisis

Demonstrate strong leadership

The ongoing crisis is an opportunity for executives to demonstrate their true leadership qualities before their teams. A key to this is demonstrating trustworthiness to employees, which can be done through the following steps:

  1. Provide accurate communication: It is critical that leaders communicate honest responses during a crisis to maintain credibility.
  2. Avoid delaying responses to prevent misinformation: Prompt communication prevents misinformation, which can spread fast during a crisis.
  3. Develop a coherent communication plan: Make sure that your plan is not only easy to interpret, but also hard to misinterpret - eliminating potentially costly risks from misunderstandings.

As an organization's greatest asset, the workforce will remember its leaders for how swiftly and effectively they were engaged during turbulent times.. Do the right thing, and your employees will do the same for your customers.

As part of our COVID-19 response to support the global business community, we are offering free 60-minute coaching sessions between now and April 30, 2020. Business leaders can opt to receive these sessions individually, or as a team (via Zoom or Microsoft Teams). During these sessions, we will touch on a number of different elements, including:

  • The human factor: dealing with personal/collective anxiety and uncertainty
  • Addressing short-term disruption
  • Preparing for long-term change
  • Reflecting on any organization-specific issues

2.   Address short-term liquidity and profitability problems

Address short-term liquidity

The COVID-19 outbreak is a 'black swan' event – an exceptional phenomenon which overwrites normal scenario analysis assumptions with new parameters due to its catastrophic effects. For most of us, the outbreak has likely upset our 'peacetime' balance sheet management practices as well as bottom-line assumptions for 2020.

In responding to the crisis, any 'analysis paralysis' caused by fluid financial parameters will likely further impact your bottom line. Avoid inaction that can deprive your team of short-term liquidity to pull your organization out of a rut.

Given the 'whole economy' nature of COVID-19, we would suggest that leaders synchronize both balance sheet and bottom line measures to stabilize operations. Consider assembling a cross-functional team to brainstorm creative solutions for key profitability and cash flow levers to prevent siloed organizational responses. We can support your decision making through a dynamic scenario planning tool that projects multiple variables and their impact on cash flow and the bottom line.

adaptation competitive advantage

3. Use adaptation as a competitive advantage

Explore adaptive strategies for the long-term, rather than unsustainable reactionary measures. Adaptation could include both identifications of alternative, value-added tasks for people to work on to address business conditions during the pandemic as well as evaluation of existing projects due to ongoing uncertainty. For instance, this crisis is an opportunity to deepen your organizational capabilities in digital technologies which have been further mainstreamed by the COVID-19 outbreak. For example:

  • Explore e-commerce channels: Quarantine rules worldwide have made e-commerce an indispensable channel for lifestyle purchases - a push factor for firms to further penetrate a highly-investable trend. In some markets, radically new channels are also beginning to emerge, such as 'live commerce' channels in China which combine 'influencer' live streaming with online product purchases.
  • Automate parts of your value chain: Customer-facing processes and documentation-oriented workflows hold immense potential for robotic process automation. Moreover, automated technologies which were once the reserve of only the largest factories are now widely available for small and mid-sized producers - such as 3D printing and predictive maintenance devices.
  • Enable remote working to attract high-performing talent: Working from home (WFH) teleconferencing has turned from a perk into an essential business resource. From February to March 2020, Microsoft Teams saw a 500% increase in calls on its digital office suite. Popular conference tool Zoom has also since become a staple for video conferencing within and between organizations. Providing flexible work arrangements when appropriate may become an essential factor for you to compete for the best talent.

Given the ongoing acceleration in the adoption of such technologies, organizations that resist making smart long-term investments may experience a gradual decrease in shareholder value.

Leverage this crisis to stay ahead of your competitors. This is the time to secure buy-in from internal stakeholders on such investments. If you’re not sure where to start, we are well-positioned to advise on convincing digital transformation plans and strategies which enable meaningful innovation, while unlocking value through time and cost savings.

4.  Demonstrate and reinforce corporate values

Demonstrate corporate values

Your leadership response to adversity will be an indicative litmus test for your organization's integrity before employees and customers alike. Strong organizational values and shared vision are powerful tools for leaders to guide their organizations, especially under times of rapid change.

Reinforcing your organization’s values will reap dividends in the form of motivated employees who embody your values and reinforce great customer experiences.  It is also a chance for 'hidden leaders' to rise from within the ranks of your organization to assume greater responsibilities. It takes confident leaders to create even greater leaders during uncertain times. Succeed in this, and your company will reap dividends in the form of motivated future talent who embody your values and deliver great customer experiences.

The post-outbreak recovery phase will also be a chance for leaders to prove that their organizations ‘walk the talk’ in fulfilling corporate values. The universal impact of COVID-19 on global health, food security, and sustainable consumerism means that organizations possess a unique duty to help communities recover and prosper.

It is never too late to exercise foresight

The coming weeks will be an opportunity for your organization to prove its resilience among competitors and to demonstrate its value to customers.

B|G is committed to supporting the global business community with strategic management solutions, leadership development, and guidance on innovation projects that ride volatility with composure.  We can help align your team to formulate sustainable business plans, instill a coaching culture, or accelerate digitalization to future-proof your workforce, products, and services.

A pause can be a great opportunity for self-improvement. In these unprecedented times, why not take the opportunity to leave an indelible and impactful mark on your organization?

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March 26, 2020
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