Business Resilience in the Times of Uncertainty

In my family, we have an inside joke: Whenever anyone wants to say something “cultural” or “pseudo-deep”, we have to begin our sentences with an introductory phrase: “After the second world war..” and continue with whatever wisdom nugget we want to share.

Major historic events disrupt the status quo in ways that are almost unforeseeable. Halting major businesses and primary events abruptly all over the world is unprecedented. It is also necessary, and from that stems new opportunities, ideas for survival and maneuvers for businesses in already tight margins. Then things start to get interesting. There are the immediate business ideas and initiatives, there are those fighting for new grounds and there are those who entirely have to focus on damage-control until the dust settles. 

In this post, I will share what I am risking to be preliminary and pre-mature observations of the market. Some could be deemed “obvious trends” and others are surprising collateral efforts. 

1- Leading People:

Apart from governmental and state aids that are being announced in different countries as methods to curb the inevitable losses in both SMEs and multinational corporations, each business is still trying to figure out on their own how to come about this global event. But even as they figure out their business plans, business leaders need to address their employees in assuring tones. 

In a Webinar conducted by EY, Juliette Meunier who is a Workforce Resilience Leader advised that employees need leadership now more than ever. Leaders need to communicate to their employees, be transparent about changes, sharing news upfront either good or bad. It is also important for leaders to show compassion. To know that while their employees would still be working the hours, their minds would be worried about their families and their current status. There is a fine line between “motivating employees to get the work done” and being tone-deaf towards what is really concerning them. 

2- Leading Businesses (Remotely):

Seedtable.com, which always gives valuable insights towards the European tech market, has created a comprehensive spreadsheet that tries to make sense of the impact of the rapid changes in consumer behavior, and how businesses could operate under extreme restrictions on mobility and contact.  It tries to “map” these broad changes to specific impacts on each business sector. Naturally, some businesses with already online services will flourish, and others that rely on travel, real estate, leasing, and meet-ups would have to figure out ways to still make it. These changes are fast and vary from one business to another. But I am sure you got a sense of how businesses react when you have seen many of your favorite restaurants or coffee shops that were agile in responding. Always updating their customers with their opening hours through social media platforms, then with their newly set-up pick-up stations, introducing delivery service. Hundreds of online platforms for both grown-ups and students that offer discounted or free courses. In addition to webinars, live sessions (and even concerts)launched to offer support and tips on how to use this time beneficially instead of anxiously roaming news websites. If that is not agility and resilience, I don’t know what is. 

3- Technology and Long Term Solutions:

 As some businesses try to leverage new ways to deliver their services, it might be interesting to keep an eye on other technologies that we might see come in handy in the long run.  IoT technology leveraged to further assist humans in monitoring activities that are usually done manually. Drones help with pick-ups and delivery and even with public surveillance, and finally VR: Immersive technology that might give us a glimpse of mobility and adventure in times of isolation. 

In the end, business resilience is a unique mesh of quick response, a sharp eye for open opportunities, and adversity in times of unexpected change. It’s also being able to lay forth a strategy to continue operations and preserve the unique business identity in order to enable ease recovery and hopefully come out of this even stronger than before. 

 

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