Look at what’s happening in Italy. They’ve closed off the whole country. It doesn’t help their infection and mortality rate that they have one of the oldest populations of any country (as older people are more susceptible to COVID-19).
In Australia we’re still at the other end of the spectrum, treating isolated pockets of infections. And stopping people from the worst affected countries from coming in. And of course, stocking up on toilet paper (as though that will be your major concern if you get sick – how silly is that!).
And businesses across the world are being affected by fewer customers or none at all, staff not being able to work, and supply chains being disrupted.
As a business owner, CEO or senior manager what have you been doing in your business over recent times to create a more flexible and adaptable work environment?
Or have you put it off because it seems too hard, everyone is too busy, or it looks like a fad that will soon be forgotten?
In fact, the coronavirus outbreak might be just the trigger you need to seriously assess how your business is operating in the modern business environment.
- Reviewed work practices to see if technology can streamline operations, save time, remove process steps, increase capacity, or empower your team
- Involved your team in documenting essential procedures so anyone can undertake them without direct supervision and still get the desired result
- Considered how your employees may be able to work from another location, whether that be a café, co-working space, or their home
- Investigated flexible work arrangements for staff such as varying the hours of work and job sharing
- Assessed the critical components of your supply chain and prepared a Plan B to implement if a supplier fails to deliver
- Undertaken a risk-assessment of your customers to identify which ones may be disrupted by a major event, or by future environmental changes (nature, technology, economic) and estimate the impact that will have on your business
- Trained the leaders in your organisation in how to manage a distributed team, including the technology to use and appropriate communication skills
- Implemented a thorough communications plan within the business so you are able to easily get information to everyone on the team
- Put ‘innovation’ on the agenda for management meetings, or have non-threatening methods for staff to suggest improvements in the workplace
Some of our clients, especially those with geographically dispersed teams, have already had to address some of these issues and are using regular phone or video calls as part of their team meeting procedure.
Other clients have reassessed the way they encourage innovation and ideas from employees and have included new topics in regular meetings. Others have introduced a ‘strategic review’ segment to senior leadership meetings to ensure they are always looking ahead.
Admittedly, these actions aren’t always ground-breaking innovations in themselves. But they demonstrate a commitment by the organisation to review their processes and make changes to give themselves more flexibility and freedom to evolve.
This isn’t just about reacting to the coronavirus outbreak. Although you may be in a better position now if you have already made progress with implementing some of the actions listed above.
It’s really about protecting the future of your business.
Evolving with the changing world.
You see, those businesses who have taken steps to make their business more agile will find it much easier to adapt to different conditions, such as being experienced in many countries now.
Sure, you can’t foresee everything. And some things you cannot change. So there will always be the potential, somehow, to be caught by surprise and not have room to move or an alternate plan.
But look at that list again. How confident are you that you’ve taken the steps necessary to give your business the freedom to move with the times?
Don’t trap yourself in the past.
The coronavirus outbreak is certainly not to be taken lightly. It is a major health concern.
However, could it be the unavoidable reason you’ve been waiting for to justify investing time and effort to give your business more flexibility?
If you’d like to explore how to move your business forward I’m always open for a confidential discussion.