Absorb uncertainty and evolve
by Claudia Ferguson. If there is one lesson COVID-19 brought to the business table, it is the need for businesses to absorb uncertainty and incorporate lessons into operating models more quickly.Monday, 22 Jun 2020
by Claudia Ferguson. If there is one lesson COVID-19 brought to the business table, it is the need for businesses to absorb uncertainty and incorporate lessons into operating models more quickly. Anything that a business wanted to do this year will have to be relooked at or require a completely new approach. What’s more, environmental challenges have disrupted supply chains; demand as well as consumer experience; and requirements all round have changed rapidly – making demand forecasting and market predictions almost impossible, as global politics and economic movements intrinsically weave with local ones to impact the market.
There is a lot of talk about the ‘new normal’; but for me, normal is what you make of it and while companies are learning to navigate unchartered territory, they are quickly realising that things must, and can be done, outside of traditional processes. Those more agile and entrepreneurial understand the benefit of speed and flexibility; but those more ‘traditional’ businesses are beginning to appreciate that change can bring about a different dynamic – one that gives them an opportunity to relook how they do things.
As such, going forward, businesses will need to figure out how to operate in new ways and how they apply Covid learnings into everyday processes to make them more resilient. How they do that remains to be seen. Whether that’s prioritising critical operations and processes or renewing focus and revising goals. It could be proper succession planning beyond current leadership teams and into the broader business. It could involve their people more – across the business for more transparency and accountability. And what about renewing and refreshing their connection to the customers they serve?
No matter the course of action, it’s a perfect opportunity to step outside the confines of business silos and approach staff, customers and the market differently. During the pandemic, we have seen businesses come together to approach societal problems like never before – to co-lead and co-create – and this is the exact type of thinking that is going to be necessary for sustainability and resilience going forward.
Of course, we have to be pragmatic and understand that its not going to be easy, nor possible in certain instances, but where businesses are able to rethink, refocus, connect, bring in different disciplines and step outside their comfort bubble, they may be surprised to see that the market pie in itself may be bigger that way.
Collaboration in- and across- business has always been critical; but moving this sentiment beyond the confines of the business could pave the way for unprecedented market movements and a shakeup that corporate South Africa needs. Sometimes a tweak just isn’t enough, and a full overhaul is needed, especially as we look to shape a new social compact going forward – one that is more inclusive, more dynamic and more resilient. There are so many startups and individuals with great ideas, and they are looking for engagement. There are also many other businesses that are looking at problems and opportunities differently – whether in your own industry or a complementary one. And of course, there are up and coming young leaders – hungry to showcase the agility that Generation Y and Z brings to the corporate table.
The world is changing. We cannot go back to how it was before COVID-19. The fallout has already been too great, the implications too far reaching. There will be no ‘normal’ going forward – we cannot just try to pick up the pieces and put it all back together like before. We need to assemble the pieces differently. ‘New normal?’ No, ‘new way’.
Claudia Ferguson, has an impressive consulting career and her fair share of industry stories to tell. And she does exactly that – tell brand stories, backed by strategy and high-level consulting – all focused on impact. She believes in the power of the African continent, the value of insight and experience and the importance of relationships on the continent and beyond its borders. She thrives on challenge and as a Business Director at Orange Ink, her responsibilities include strategic business development for the agency and its client portfolio.
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