Global markets are being rattled. We see the rising trade war tensions between the USA and China, amongst others. There is an African saying that when two bull elephants fight, it’s the grass that gets trampled and destroyed. Your organization is the potential “grass” in this example! How do you prepare your organization to survive any fallout from these trade wars?

I have lived through several disruptions in my working life. Up till now, the one that had the most immediate impact was the introduction of the humble fax machine. You could no longer tell your client that the letter was in the post as they would say “just fax it to me”! Other changes brought about by the internet were less immediate but massive in their impact.

This Corvid 19 virus is at a whole new level of disruption that I never dreamed that I would experience – a real black swan! Unfortunately, I don’t think it will be the last global disruption we will see over the next few years!

I don’t want to talk about doom and gloom and human suffering. We will beat this virus and things will return to a new normal. However, there will be causalities. I assume that reading this you have survived and are ready to get things back on track – well done! I want to focus on what this means when operating an organization in the future.

For many of us, our first immediate impact to solve was to work out how to handle employees working remotely. Here modern communication technologies have greatly enhanced how we can do this. I could not tell you anything that you have not experienced and managed in getting this right.

But what happens next? When we start getting to full output again, we will be operating in a new normal.

Your employees found that they could do their job just as well working remotely. They also found that they quite enjoyed being able to work in their pyjamas, in their own time, without a commute, whilst being there for their kids. Yes, they did miss the interaction with their colleagues. After weighing all the pros and cons, they decide that they would rather continue working from home. How are you going to manage and motivate your primarily remote workforce? Will you need to employ a whole new type of person?

Your customers quite liked not having to see sales reps. They still want to know about your products and services but found that they were a lot more productive when not having to see reps regularly. They send you a message saying from now on they will only see reps on the afternoon of the last Friday of the month. How are you going to maintain sales with this new requirement? Will you need to completely reinvent your sales approach?

puzzle pieces

During the past months, you have seen disruptions to your supply chain and organization’s operations. You survived but only just. Could you survive a similar disruption that again comes from left field? What can you do to ensure you have a robust organization that can survive future disruptions whilst minimizing the impact on your viability?

You had built up quite a successful organization. However, you are now looking at a new normal that is only vaguely similar to what it was pre the virus. Is your leadership and management style still relevant to the new normal? How do you need to reinvent yourself to ensure that you remain relevant to your organization’s future?

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