Many businesses particularly smaller ones may never recover from the shock of having to shut down for two to three months. Even, large established firms are going hat in hand for bailouts or imposing a combination of pay cuts, furloughs and mass layoff of employees to cut costs and drawing down every credit line they can to buy liquidity and time.
After going through such a near death and chastening experience business will re-invent the way they work in order to build in resilience in the following ways:
Over a four-decade career I have seen a lot of changes and adapted to a lot of changes. Some of my distilled advice as 10 Career Lessons remains my most popular blog post and remains even more relevant today.
Like never before I believe every individual must recognize that a part of the Great Re-invention it is imperative to spend time rethinking their own careers. Let’s utilize this down time to begin to up skill in ways that will allow for resilience in times where there will be fewer and different full-time jobs.
1. What will my Customer/Consumer be like?
How will the behavior and expectations of my customer/consumer be different? What will they be doing more and doing less?
For every industry and product category it will different, but I would expect that most firms should begin with an expectation that a)their customers will be more value driven due to reduced purchasing power combined with a need to enhance their future financial security and b) they will be ultra-sensitive about health and safety. For these financial and health reasons people are likely to move to a semi-quarantined state for at least six months to a year, as they travel less, go out less and work more from home.
2. How can I get my company to learn from and accept the new reality?
Leaders face and adapt to reality versus living in a world of magical thinking.
Every business has been shocked, and this has revealed internal fault lines and hopefully also some strengths which exposed a number of new threats and possibly opportunities.
3. How can we leverage fresh sheet thinking: How would we re-start if we had a fresh sheet of paper?
So now that your team has envisioned the future consumer/customer and looked inside and outside of the business to do an audit of shock, resilience, opportunity and threats, what are you going to do? The biggest mistake individuals or businesses can make is continuing with the status quo.
Every time there is a significant economic shock like the Great Recession, new business is born in the bonfire of the old structures. Remember that Dollar Shave Club, Uber, Airbnb and many more were born in midst of and right after 2007-2009 period.