Currently, most business leaders are busy ensuring the continuity of their business and the protection of their employees and the brand. The management teams have just finished setting up processes and acclimatizing their employees to work virtually. The employees are trying to cope up with the new normal while trying to contain worries arising from lack of job security and fading work-family life boundaries. Amid all this chaos, have the leaders got an opportunity to reassess their business strategy and reshape their businesses? Is it even necessary to change the course of business?
CEOs can’t underestimate the transformation their customers are undergoing during this phase. As families spend more time together with work, education, and entertainment all going digital, the society will be irreversibly changed. The economy will see a few jobs taking precedence over others with doctors, nurses, paramedical staff, police now working around the clock. The new workforce will ask questions about the potential impact and the risk before making job decisions.
Experts are saying, the business realignment is not a choice- it is a necessity. CEOs must rethink their business as they stand amidst disrupted supply chains and changing business models of their network collaborators. The 2005 Harvard Business School Press publication, The Only Sustainable Edge by John Hagel III and John Seely Brown argued that dynamic specialization and productive friction are the best tools to ensure survival. This cannot be more true than now.
When everyone is exposed to fast-changing scenarios, leaders need to balance the act of picking on the weak signals that could become big in the future and responding to emerging problems.
Large organizations are infamous for being less flexible. Leaders ‘used to’ strategize and make action plans that were thoroughly brainstormed and assessed before execution. Adaptability is the new normal. Organizations now need a WIP plan that showcases the present view and offers the flexibility of iteration as the course changes.
The friction to operations generated by the current situation can be extremely productive if leaders rally small teams to innovate, learn, and accelerate the pace of capability building. Now is the time to harness network synergies by gathering people from different specializations to solve problems creatively. Uncertainty will allow teams to adjust to a range of situations. These teams will be empowered through adaptability and will take charge of the new reality.
The theory of fail fast might come in handy as we build processes and specializations that add to the sustainability of our business. The inevitable change in everyone’s perception and eventual actions will lead to an expectation of transformed businesses and markets.