‘This is the best of times, this is the worst of times’
…never has this line from Charles Dickens novel ‘Tale of Two Cities’ been more apt. There will, no doubt, be a book already being drafted entitled ‘Tale of Two Ages’, the pre Covid-19 and post Covid-19 age, written as I type.
This current global pandemic has many implications for many people, and at its heart is a call to action for all leaders to step up and lead. There is much to do and much being done and leaders, change makers, volunteers, front-line health professionals and other key workers are all in hyper-drive mode as we innovate and deploy at a pace that has never been seen in peacetime.
Leaders at this time have to tread that fine line between offering hope and support, whilst directing with confidence in the face of massive uncertainty and taking difficult strategic and operational decisions that have a profound effect on other people’s lives and livelihoods. This existential threat to ourselves, our loved ones and our organisations has heightened the senses, and those leaders with a growth mind-set are seizing the challenges with both hands and pushing forward with the thinking that will be required to secure their organisation and teams in a post Covid-19 age.
The initial area of focus is in the Operational space as leaders develop and deploy what Boston Consulting Group call a ‘Rapid Crisis Response Plan.’ This has to cover areas such as:
- Team health & Safety – reduce risk of transmission, support those infected, reduce stress, boost morale, ensure compliance with regulatory restrictions.
- Execution Clarity – coordinate and scale response and planning adaptability, engage the organisation, empower the team and lead with purpose and integrity
- Business Resilience – preserve top line, build trust with customers, reinforce ability to supply, reshape resources to meet business needs, monitor and respond to market and competitor dynamics; prepare for post Covid-19 scenarios.
- Financial Resilience – Manage cash and liquidity; enforce cost disciplines; revise financial plans and preform scenario stress tests.
This is a long list of things to work on! The watch out here is to look after yourself in all of this. As they used to say when we had an airline industry, place the oxygen mask over yourself first before you seek to help others.
We have started weekly ‘Fellowship Forums’ to help with this oxygen supply process. These are c1 hour dial in sessions for leaders from a range of organisations and sectors that offer an island of calm and quiet reflection in what are hectic weeks. We have listened and helped leaders share their personal stories of successes and focused on the challenges they still have to address offering guidance and facilitating support from all of the leaders on the call.
The key challenge for leaders is to help their organisation progress through the Change Curve as quickly as possible. They need to be at least in Zone #3 if the next stage of Post Covid-19 strategic planning is to succeed.
The Post Covid-19 Strategy Planning Process is the next vital chapter in the leaders playbook and this needs to be done at pace and done well if organisations are to emerge from the lockdown period in any shape to survive and thrive.
Contact Malcolm Follos at [email protected]
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