Coronavirus and the economic conditions are forcing tectonic changes in companies and industries. As a leader, how should you manage this change?
I discuss five steps, the last one is absolutely critical for you to consider.
Focus, Focus, Focus
You must drive intense focus during these times. And, no, focus on cost cutting is not sufficient. That is a tactical focus. You need intense strategic focus.
1. Clear DNA
Is your business DNA as crisply defined as it needs to be? In such times, having a crystal-clear business DNA can be a savior. So, revisit your business DNA, dust it up, clean it up and let it be the North Star for the company. Otherwise, in the confusion, the company will make decisions and take actions that can cause irreversible damage to the company’s core fabric and its long-term prospects.
2. Strategic Plan
During normal times, people in the company focus on different aspect of what drives the business. Everyone has their pet projects, and their own interpretation of what is important to the customer and how to create value.
Well, now is not the time to have different interpretations. Everyone must be on the same page, and it should be crystal-clear what the organization must accomplish.
Sharpen your strategy to the point where it is like a laser. Develop a clear strategic plan — with short-term objectives, metrics, and targets. Making sure people stay focused will help them deal with the stress of Coronavirus. Otherwise, they will drift in their activities and it will lead to poor productivity.
In times of stress, guarding productivity is your biggest challenge as a CEO.
3. Infrastructural Changes
Carefully think about the infrastructural changes you might need to make. This is not business as usual.
Redesign your sales process. Understand how customers are changing and re-understand what is important to customers. Do not make assumptions, because mistakes at this time will be very expensive.
How should you change the internal operational work processes? How can you drive efficiency? Do your software systems need to be simplified so it lends to more efficiency?
How should the customer service process change? How can you provide an extra level of service during this time of need to customers without incurring more costs? What are the creative ways to keep customers close to you?
4. Work-place Culture
Driving change and focus during normal times is difficult because you face resistance and people have their own agendas.
Never waste a crisis, as the saying goes. Use this as an opportunity to drive change and streamline the organization. Drive cultural changes that have thwarted you in the past.
5. Managing Stress & Anxiety
This is the most important point.
A recent report shared, a third of all Americans are now showing signs of clinical anxiety and depression due to the Coronavirus situation.
Recognize, everyone is under stress — your team, your customers, and your suppliers, and — you. First start with you. As the leader, you are under tremendous stress. Recognize that. Accept that. Work on reducing your stress and anxiety. Recognize your team is under stress. Take steps to help them become peaceful.
Make sure stress and anxiety are on your radar. If you do not address this, because it is under the covers, none of the previous four points are going to help.
Make sure you and your people feel secure.
Questions and Comments
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— By Ravi Kathuria, Author, “How Cohesive is Your Company?”
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