Items filtered by date: November 2020
2021 Busines Perspective
Who could have imagined the way 2020 would unfold? The speed in which Coronavirus erupted here and globally resulted in unprecedented disruption to the business landscape? Almost instantly, organizations were forced to change most of the ‘routine working norms’ because they were confronted with the challenge of either adapting or becoming irrelevant … or worse, to disappear completely.
At year’s end, most companies have accelerated decision making related to 1). technological advances and 2). new or alternative ways of working while collaborating with colleagues and customers in a more inclusive manner.
So, Where Are We?
Most businesses large and small are challenged operationally. But recent research surprisingly there is also unexpected positivity about the future. This sentiment is shared across industry and geography:
- Diversification – Most businesses considered some form of diversification – either establishing new income streams or changing their focus to alternative ways of delivering the same services. While many stopped or slowed major investments, others continued in profitable business tactics.
- Biz Confidence – Companies view the ‘new normal’ with a level of confidence. Business owners share a degree of positivity in their ‘situation’ and some anticipate they may benefit from it next year.
- Workforce Mgt. – Many companies have experienced recruitment freeze, yet others have seen an uplift in recruitment activity i.e.: shipping. So, in order to enhance organization efficiencies, a degree of structural “flattening” has or will occur… meaning removing excess bureaucracy should help balance appropriate labor deployment.
- Agile Working – The future of ‘working’ is somewhat cloudy. Some managers will support a more agile approach while others will practice ‘normal’ office environment and change nothing.
- Digitalization – Many organizations have accelerated their digital transformation and have diverted funds and resources there to facilitate more rapid change.
The most challenging future business environment may be the impact COVID-19 has on entrepreneurs and start-ups. Even though start-ups are buoyant, there’s a trickle of talent moving away from risky start-ups rather than positions where individuals gain a greater sense of security. The long-term impact from this virus is too early to gauge.
Suggestions: Embrace - Encourage These Practices
Prior to January 2020, mergers grew, and business acquisitions romped with a sense that the future was on track. Today Covid-19 has created the greatest business disruption of modern times. All businesses are grappling with operating in a changing world at an alarming rate.
Opportunities are also evolving. Companies have moved from office-based working to remote or flex working. Service development accelerated. Organizations raced to enable their employees to remain connected, while everyone shifted shopping habits to the internet almost overnight. The virus greatly tested the plans in place before Covid-19 struck; for a few, business operations were agile enough to meet the changes, but others realized how exposed and ill-prepared they were. Trends at year’s end see that organizations are learning to adapt to avoid future chaos and disruption.
The most obvious enabler has been accelerating investment in technology by blending strategy, focused efforts, resources, budget and digital ‘enabling’. The goal is to become as efficient as possible. The organization is that enabler. Back in January the degree of effort to ensure that people felt supported, understood, and engaged was consistently strong, yet over time, these efforts stalled. To survive, businesses must re-ignite support efforts to ensure that employees remain a powerful business enabler going forward.
In times of crisis, organizations have a unique opportunity to revamp their operating model and try new things. These shifts require buy-in from the top down through management ranks if culture and attitudes are going to change.
Employees want better and safer working conditions. So, businesses must review how they balance social distancing and maximize density of office space to keep their staff healthy. Some may implement more flexible working arrangements. By remaining positive, those who embrace the values of empathy, collaboration, honesty, and trust will emerge as positive role models for their organization.
The situation continues to evolve rapidly, with many cities and businesses re-introducing lockdown restrictions due to further virus spikes; this uncertainty makes it particularly hard for organizations to plan for the future. Review the predictions below:
- Fast-tracked Digital – Businesses are now more agile and flexible without impacting operational efficiency which enables this pace change to accelerate as they consider how their employees better serve their customers and clients, drive value from their supply chain and boost profitability.
- Re-Alignment – Efficiencies driven from utilizing a remote workforce is working. The employee experience will become more essential to companies as they seek to retain, develop, and acquire the skills and talent to satisfy this operating model.
- Leadership Change – Covid-19 has created unprecedented leadership challenges … for some a successful passage in leadership careers, for others less so. These successes and failures will bring a shift in the boardrooms of many companies and present opportunities for them to attract the services of those who’ve overcome Covid-19 challenges.
- Legislative Shifts – The e-commerce business uptick has already seen localized legislative changes implemented by government-imposed regulation of a commercial sector. It’s likely that Covid-19 will have far reaching implications for how organizations operate and the way in which they are legislated.
“Unprecedented” for sure yet the world continues to operate. What we remember about this time will be the resilience and tenacity of business. Taking a moment to reflect on 2020, will help ensure that if we face such a challenging environment again, business continuity plans can be dusted off, revisited and re-used.
Looking into a new year there is a level of optimism and anticipation. The business world is grateful for all it learned in 2020 and is optimistic that 2021 will emerge ready and capable to face life beyond the COVID-19.
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