As the old adage goes: ‘never let a crisis go to waste’. As a result of COVID-19, business owners and leaders now find themselves in an unfamiliar position.

It’s uncomfortable, but with effectively a pause in much of their usual business activity — or in some cases, a temporary or permanent pivot — many are now in a place of assessment and planning the next steps for a sustainable turnaround.

For many businesses, now could be your ‘new normal’ – and the choices you make here could be provide a boost or more profitable alternate route for your organisation.

So what are some of the factors driving a shift away from the previous ‘normal’?

Consumer discretionary spending has been impacted with the loss of jobs, and will be more pronounced once Government support packages, such as JobKeeper, have ended in September. Consumer expectations have also changed, as they have been influenced by what could be: whether it be online shopping delivery; dining at home; learning online; or telehealth services. Organisational expectations have also altered: vendors delivering core services will be more highly scrutinised; call centres may be more virtual; and business continuity plans will now consider mass workforces working-from-home and flexible learning as part of their BAU given both have been proven to work for many industries.
This level of scenario-planning is detailed and crucial to ensure organisations are ready to thrive, adapt and remain relevant in an (for)ever-changing world.

Beginning with the end goal in mind, Boards and Executives should be considering what their organisations ‘need’ and ‘could’ look like as we come out of COVID-19. 

The following outlines considerations that – regardless of industry – every Board and Executive should be questioning, to rapidly figure out the areas their organisation should be zoning into.

Ask yourself: What are the proactive steps we can be taking now to ready our business for a post-COVID-19 world?

  • Market opportunities

Does our market strategy need to change, when and by how much to account for environmental changes? Organisations need to make time to reflect and consider how they serve their customers and how this might need to change. The manner in which you once served customers pre-COVID-19 may not be relevant or as effective in the new normal. This could be your Kodak moment (the start of your ultimate irrelevancy) or your Google opportunity (going from the 12th search engine, to becoming the market leader once they became really clear on their objective of how they were going to serve the market better than their competitors). Consider the gaps in the market and your opportunities to move forward.

  • Customer needs

Are we meeting our customers’ needs and how has this been impacted by COVID-19? Increasingly, and now more than ever, organisations must provide an impeccable and streamlined customer experience. This is important to remove any doubt in a customer’s mind to ‘churn’ or consider an alternate provider. Organisations must also interrogate the information in their databases and CRM and learn more about who their customers are, the value they bring to those customers and how to serve them better.

  • Operating model

Is our operating model being impacted by environmental changes? With clarity on your objective and how you ‘deliberately intend’ to serve customers from now on, the focus must be on your operating model. Think of the operating model as your ‘game plan’. You wouldn’t allow a sporting team to run aimlessly all over a field, so why would your organisation be any different? Your operating model is how you structure your organisation (people, capability and processes) to deliver on the intended (and changed) customer experience, products and services. Establishing an effective and efficient operating model is core to running an effective and efficient organisation. This should also include how efficiently you use your workforce.  This provides the basis for understanding the cost to serve your customers, as well as improving the capabilities the organisation needs to meet changing customer expectations.

  • Digital

How can digital technology enable us to serve our customer better? Often organisations allow technology to drive agenda. Now is an opportune time to step back and reprioritise your digital and technology investments to support your customer experience. Also consider how digital can support new delivery models to reach your customers or better respond to their needs.

  • Insight driven data

Does our data help us to develop relevant insights to support better decisions? To support all of the above, organisations need to start with the data they have and better organise it to develop meaningful insights. Data without structure is meaningless. Too many metrics are also confusing and have been proven to lead to a lack of clarity. Organisations need to invest the time and resources to develop dashboards that consolidate and bring together a picture of the business and focus on the metrics that matter. Taking a balanced scorecard perspective, this should consider Customer, Operational, People and Financial measures.

  • Revenue and cost drivers

Do we have the required transparency for revenue and costs at a product or service level, as well as an understanding of the drivers that may be now impacting profitability? This information supports strategic decisions about the products and services you need to provide today and what might continue to provide into the future. 

  • Planning for and managing risk

Have you reconsidered your organisation’s appetite for risk? This also includes reviewing what you are doing to mitigate and manage new risks. This means revisiting the objectives of the organisation, the governing charter and the role and skills required of the Board to navigate this ever changing environment.

We appreciate the stress and uncertainty businesses and organisations must be feeling as a result of the current economic uncertainty. With a strong record of helping clients to efficiently, sustainably and profitably turn businesses and their operations around, we are able to assist you in completing an independent rapid assessment to provide areas of focus. Get in touch to learn more.