Looking Beyond Lockdown
Well the current COVID-19 lockdown has certainly turned everyone’s business and private lives upside down. Not to mention the serious economic damage that is being wrought at the moment.
I have been cautioning for some time now that the skill set within our general executive ranks does not have the experience of managing in tough times. Australia’s unprecedented run of growth and our ability to avoid recessions had to come to an end. I did not predict this would be the mechanism that would trigger the change in economic circumstance however. There was always a question of how will those generations cope. Well now some of them are gaining that experience and we get to find out.
I recently posted at LinkedIn a reminder to everyone that in times like this, you need reliable advisors who have actually lived through managing in difficult times. You don’t want to learn how to ski down a difficult slope from someone who has read a how-to book. This is really important to many and for those of you who know me well and know my story, I cannot believe how relevant my experience in that time is right now.
With that in mind, I’d like to discuss some observations and provide some insights into conversations I have been having with clients and colleagues from across the globe. Things I have observed are:
- Some organisations are doing very well out of this situation while others are staring down the barrel of bankruptcy.
- I cannot believe how quickly many organisations, particularly sporting organisations like the NRL (don’t get me started on Rugby Australia) and others found themselves in serious financial trouble. It goes to show how many “zombie” organisations were actually relying on tomorrow’s cash to keep them alive. I believe a serious review of business fundamentals and what can be learnt from this situation will be one of the results. Including supply chain and inventory management strategies and how ERPs can better support these new strategies.
- There has been genuine fear within the community as a result of this virus, showing once again the range of responses humans are capable of exhibiting when frightened by a serious threat. From massive levels of generosity through to overwhelming (and for me unbelievable) selfishness.
Some best practices I have been recommending to my clients are:
- Innovation will get you through this, not bunkering down and hiding. Pivot is a key concept right now.
- Keep the engine running the best you can. You need to be able to accelerate quickly when times change for the better rather than needing a complete restart from a standing start.
- Be financially responsible and cut costs sensibly. However be careful, smart and long-term focused about what costs you cut and try to use this time as a maintenance period in all areas of your business. Not just equipment maintenance. This situation is providing many businesses with a complete fresh look at their business models and fundamentals. Some strong views on the suitability of some business models over others have been seriously questioned of late – and this is a good thing. Now can be a good time to review your strategy. For this who have been contemplating an ERP project, start your data cleansing now. You may have some spare capacity with people’s time you don’t normally have generally. Leverage that and get a quality result from it.
- Look for what has worked well under these circumstances. Remote working and meetings are becoming very common and acceptable now.
- Many organisations and government bodies are doing without many bureaucratic steps in processes and are reaping results and getting much more done in a much faster timeframe. Look for ways where this can be incorporated into business as usual when the lockdown finishes.
For those of you who missed my inaugural CEO roundtable and are interested in a summary, please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org with “CEO Roundtable” in the subject line and I will send you a summary. I cannot believe how much has changed since I ran that just over a month ago.
However, rather than stop having the lunches, I am taking my own advice and pivoting – I have just arranged my next lunch to be held via Zoom (with BYO lunch and drinks). I want to share some insights I have gained from my own experiences, the experiences of my clients under current circumstances, and those from my consulting colleagues who I mix with across the globe. Many more than what I have alluded to above. There will be no cost and I will keep it to strictly one hour of your time.
Please register your interest here.
This has been a difficult time for many, but now is the time to work on your future, post-lockdown. You can be planting the seeds now for a much improved business. True independent advice can provide a broad view on these things.
Reach out via email or give me a call for a confidential discussion on the best way to achieve this. If I don’t pick up, leave a message. I return calls within ninety minutes during business hours, and usually faster.
Until next month …
© David Ogilvie