Your Business for a Post-Pandemic World.
Along with the severe health and humanitarian
crisis caused by the Coronavirus pandemic, executives around the world face
enormous business challenges: the collapse of customer demand, significant
regulatory modifications, supply chain interruptions, unemployment, economic
recession, and increased uncertainty. And like the health and humanitarian
sides of the crisis, the business side needs ways to recover. Organizations
must lay the groundwork for their recoveries now.
The management theorist Henry Mintzberg famously
defined strategy as 5 Ps: Plan, Ploy, Pattern, Position,
and Perspective. We have adapted his framework to propose our own 5 Ps:
position, plan, perspective, projects, and preparedness. The following
questions can guide you as you work to bounce back from the crisis.
position can you attain during and after the pandemic?
To make smart strategic decisions, you must
understand your organization’s position in your environment. Who are you
in your market, what role do you play in your ecosystem, and who are your main
competitors? You must also understand where you are headed. Can you shut down
your operations and reopen unchanged after the pandemic? Can you regain lost
ground? Will you be bankrupt, or can you emerge as a market leader fueled by
developments during the lock down?
We hear of many firms that are questioning their
viability post-pandemic, including those in the travel, hospitality, and events
industries. We also hear of firms accelerating their growth because their value
propositions are in high demand; think of home office equipment,
internet-enabled communication and collaboration tools, and home delivery
services. Because of such factors, firms will differ in their resilience. You
should take steps now to map your probable position when the pandemic eases.
2. What is your plan for bouncing back?
A plan is a course of action pointing the
way to the position you hope to attain. It should explicate what you need to do
today to achieve your objectives tomorrow. In the current context, the question
is what you must do to get through the crisis and go back to business when it
The lack of a plan only exacerbates disorientation
in an already confusing situation. When drawing up the steps you intend to
take, think broadly and deeply, and take a long view.
3. How will your culture and identity change?
the way an organization sees the world and itself. Likely, your culture and
identity will change as a result of the pandemic. A crisis can bring people
together and facilitate a collective spirit of endurance but it can also push
people apart, with individuals distrusting one another and predominantly
looking after themselves. It is crucial to consider how your perspective might
evolve. How prepared was your organization culturally to deal with the crisis?
Will the ongoing situation bring your employees together or drive them apart?
Will they see the organization differently when this is over? Your answers will
inform what you can achieve when the pandemic ends.
4. What new projects do you need to launch, run,
Your answers to the questions above should point
you to a set of projects for tackling your Coronavirus-related problems.
The challenge is to prioritize and coordinate initiatives that will
future-proof the organization. Beware of starting numerous projects that all
depend on the same critical resources, which might be specific individuals,
such as top managers, or specific departments, such as IT. With too many new
initiatives, you could end up with a war over resources that delays or derails
your strategic response.
5. How prepared are you to execute your plans and
Finally, you need to assess your organization’s preparedness.
Are you ready and able to accomplish the projects you have outlined,
particularly if much of your organization has shifted to remote work? We see
big differences in preparedness at the individual, team, organization, and
national levels. The resources at hand, along with the speed and quality of decision-making
processes, vary greatly, and the differences will determine who achieves and
who falls short of success. Be aware that consumers will remember how you
reacted during the crisis. Raising prices during a shortage, for example, could
have a significant effect on your customer relationships going forward.
The Coronavirus has had unprecedented impacts on
the world and the worst is yet to come. Companies must act today if they are to
bounce back in the future. Doing so will help the world as a whole recover and,
we hope, become more resilient in the process.