We are certainly in a time of change right now. How do you lead your organization through this crisis and maybe even find some opportunities along the way?
We have identified a 3 step process that is working very well for organizations.
1) Contingency Planning
2) Value / Needs Planning
3) Crisis Core Team
Contingency Planning - The purpose of Contingency Planning during a crisis is to protect the organization. A lot of organizations get hung up on the question, "how do you plan during times of uncertainty?". The answer is to not focus on what will happen, but to focus on how your organization might be impacted. We recommend organizations look at potential financial, marketplace, operational, and people impacts and then determine how those impacts can be mitigated or controlled. For example, an organization might develop a plan if revenue decreases by 20%. The action plan would engage if Revenue dropped below that milestone. Contingency Planning can be unpleasant, but by putting together a plan to survive today, leadership will be in a better mindset to thrive tomorrow.
Value / Needs Planning - We talk about the value of innovation a lot, but it's not something you can just tell your team to do. Therefore we recommend a process known as Value/Needs Planning. The idea is simple. Start with a conversation amongst leadership where you remind yourself of the real value you provide to your customers. Then have conversations with current, past, and potential customers to find out what they need. Finally, look for where your value intersects their need. Too many companies are not talking to their customers right now because they might be afraid of what they will hear.
Crisis Core Team - The last thing organizational leaders need to consider is that their organization is designed to do what they've been doing. Most organizations aren't designed for quick and nimble changes. This is why we recommend implementing a Crisis Core Team. This team meets 2-4 times per month for one hour to identify, prioritize, and launch projects aimed at maneuvering the organization through the crisis. These projects should be "bite sized" and should involve key stakeholders within the organization and sometimes outside the organization as needed. This process earns engagement and creates focus and alignment as the organization moves nimbly through the crisis.
We've seen some organizations really identify some amazing opportunities through this crisis. Nobody would choose the Pandemic, but organizational leaders do get to choose how they respond to it to keep people employed and even accelerate into the future.