Post COVID-19 Resumption activities: Aligning to what will be Vs what could be in a “Brave New World”!
COVID-19 is the greatest test that we have faced in recent times. Despite numerous natural disasters, 911, Hurricanes, Wildfires across the west, floods, Ice and Snow storms, and other regional disasters, we have not faced anything of this magnitude. The COVID-19 human crisis demands coordinated, decisive, inclusive and innovative policy action from all levels of government across all nations, including bailout financial and technical support for the poorest, most vulnerable people, businesses, NGOs, NPOs and communities. A successful response and recovery will require an integrated approach and every level of cooperation and actual collaboration across all active partnerships and their participants – – governments taking action in lock step with businesses and communities; private sector engagement from Manufacturing, HHS to technology companies to find pathways out of this crisis. Partnerships based on trust and solidarity will be the cornerstone recovery and generative growth. Beyond government and the corporate world; civilians, grassroots organizations, community-based organizations and faith-based organizations will play a vital role in supporting our most vulnerable citizens. These networks will be critical in bringing economic and livelihood opportunities while adapting responses to the community context.
The non-government organizations in many communities are the only point of reference for individuals and families as they seek to cope with the impacts of COVID-19 and for support to the recovery ahead. An integrated Business, communities, NPO, NGOs call to action to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 Pandemic is a defining moment for modern society, and history will judge the efficacy of the response not by the actions of any single set of government actors taken in isolation, but by the degree to which the response is coordinated across all sectors for the benefit of humanity.
Within the home, we are back to cooking and feeding 2 to 5 people at one time versus 2 to 5 eating individually at various times. We are participating in family activities, exercising, walking, playing games, watching movies together, more so now than prior to COVID-19. Housebound citizens are doing a lot more home cooking, which means keeping grocery shelves stocked is a lot more work. In the last two weeks of March, order volumes for food manufacturers surged by as much as 500 per cent, according to a Food and Consumer Products of Canada (FCPC) report released Thursday.
At work, we are collaborating, finding creative ways to stay afloat, keep our clients and keep the doors open. Gone are the artificial barriers of self-importance and domain protection that added invisible barriers to our quality and timeliness of services and client experiences. What COVID-19 has done, is exposed our complacent attitude, self-importance and entitlements, it has forced us out of our comfort zone and bring to the forefront and prioritized the necessary and relevant activities required for basic business survival. It has also highlighted where there are areas of duplication, redundancy and unnecessary processes/ resources that take away from the bottom line. As the COVID-19 social distancing rues continue to drag out, the social and economic impact will be high. Companies and organizations will have difficulty in getting employees back to work, less specialised skill job that relies on migrant labour will be hard pressed to resume operations. Other companies will set up supply chain management teams to try and manage the risks and mitigate their impacts. Logistics companies, trucking, airlines, shipping, and railroads need to be part of those teams, so they are not caught by surprise while being able to offer additional value to their customers. This is not new and has been done before following major disruptions such as port strikes, earthquakes and weather-related disruptions.
The recovery from the COVID-19 crisis will lead to a different economy. The unprecedented test we are currently facing and in our moment of truth, businesses, communities and households are in turmoil and economies are in a nose-dive. We must tackle the devastating social and economic dimensions of this crisis, with a focus on the most affected: children, women, seniors, youth, low-wage workers, small and medium enterprises, the services and front-line sectors and vulnerable groups, especially those in humanitarian and conflict settings. This means designing fiscal and monetary policies able to support the direct provision of resources to support workers and households. The provisions of health and unemployment insurance, scaled up social protection, and support to businesses to prevent bankruptcies and massive job losses forms a critical foundation to relaunch and recovery.
Everything we do during and after this crisis must be with a strong focus on building more equal, inclusive and sustainable economies and societies that are more resilient in the face of pandemics, swan events and the many other Geo-Political and global challenges we face.
Mitigating waste: For instance, moving forward to recovery we must mitigate the waste and destruction of valuable material and food sources.
The disruption in the farming and dairy supply chain caused by the COVID-19 pandemic which forced some North American farmers to get rid produce and fresh milk. While other companies are finding alternate ways to increase food production and increase the supply of food, the dumping of food and dairy products is beyond COVID-19 impact. It is a result of marketing boards and market control regulations that put quotas on farmers, forcing them to discard excess inventory.
Companies are already shifting their focus and reducing their product selection, (in some cases by 70%) and are eliminating the convenience and “nice to have” selection and
focusing on basic and traditional products The North American restaurant industry estimated $899 billion (https://www.restaurant.org/research/restaurant-statistics/restaurant-industry-facts-at-a-glance) is now mostly shuttered, but is still trying to help with the supply by way of home delivery and drive thru pickup. Some chains are testing and launching “Grocery” programs in which homeowners can order differently themed (Vegetable, Produce, Protein, Dry) packages of groceries to be delivered to their doors.
The closure of the majority of businesses means the cancellation of a lot of standing bulk food orders from suppliers, and although the same number of people still need to eat, the closure of restaurants and the shift to home cooking is affecting not just how many products are made by companies but what type of products are purchased. This impacts the primary and secondary supply chains, logistics and distribution companies and all of its employees and management. People’s, tacit knowledge combined with quality data, accessibility, mobility, digital information and technologies will also play a supporting role in the projected “hockey stick” business recovery model. Success depends on being very clear and truthful on what recovery means for your business. Asking the right questions. e.g.:
- What, exactly, do you intend to recover?
- What capabilities and capacity do you have to support recovery?
- Are you prepared to evaluate your current strategic, operational and client experience plan and be willing to walk away from it?
Going Back to normal—whatever that was—may not be a realistic option.
Looking back from your client’s lens, what changed, what behaviors and influences are impacting their purchasing and consumption decisions, what does it mean to you? The key questions that must be asked in this step are:
- What must we stop doing?
- What must we start doing?
- Are we ready?
- Can we afford to restart?
Hopefully you have the right “people” around and you have more clarity on what recovery means for your organization. Now is the time to work with those people, using the context of what you have determined recovery to mean to assess the relevance of your existing strategic, operational and client experience plan—every aspect of it. To be sure, you will need to make major adjustments from feedstock to distribution. It best to start with a triage approach and not focus on a long-term plan at this time.
Begin the recovery planning process by establishing a small set of non-negotiable decision criteria and measurable metrics that can be validated and will provide objective guidance for evaluating those strategic moves you might make in the weeks and months ahead. Once your decision criteria are identified, use them to filter your team’s planning ideas. There are many nuanced uncertainties at play that need to be considered, some visible and other not easily visible. None of us knows when the current situation will end—but the ambiguity of the given circumstances in which we find ourselves should not stop us from moving toward the future by first exploring possible realities. A recovery plan is the tool, vehicle and program every leader needs to get out of the gate and moving in the right directions and toward a future that will be constantly changing.
Your recovery plan should consider and or include: What are the possible future scenarios we see, and which are the most probable given what we know now?
Putting the plan in actions with the understanding that it must be flexible and allow you to pivot as the eco-systems change. The future will not be static nor will it be easily
A reminder – do not use your existing recovery plan, I am almost positive that most
recovery plans that exists was never tested or applied and the post COVID environment is nothing we are prepared for.
Once your recovery plan is developed, it is important to step back and evaluate your
organization through the lens of the plan itself and your client’s view,. Consider that the organization you have today is likely structured to deliver based on a “adaptable” vision of the future and a strategic plan that may no longer be desirable or even possible. Many organizations will have to reassess their products viability, the number of products offered, realignment of existing processes, exercise deep expense cuts, downsize resource pools and dramatically shift how they enable their supply chain against the continuous changes taking place. This makes it necessary to rethink what will be required
organizationally to successfully attain goals related to recovery and the stabilization of the business. The future is in our control to manage and recreate, however, it will not be based on what was, we will have to build on what could be!
Planning for post COVID-19 business resumption and recovery, we can start with design to Reduce Social Impact and Promote Economic Response. Enhance social protection mechanisms through immediate impact measures, and adaptable processes to strengthen your ability to provide sustainable, reusable products and services and reduce the burden on your stakeholders and clients.
Strengthen and test recovery measures, including partners, suppliers and all relevant stakeholders into an actionable integrated recovery plan that addresses collaboration, aligns with regional and national plans and include dedicated budget lines for funding preparedness;
If we were to take an example from the “cockpit” and apply a Situational Awareness approach to recovery, the first question to ask is:
Do you really know what is going on with you, around you and what is coming at you?
If we do not have a clear view of our situation and all the moving parts within it, how can we make decisions?
We make thousands of decisions every day without thinking about them, but going forward awareness of all potential changes and risks will be a critical survival tool. It will be how we prioritize, think and how we make decisions.
Situational awareness is looking at the elements in the environment — collecting the basic (unbiased) data about the organization, process and products, and knowing what resources capacity and capabilities you have available. This will help prevent becoming biased or tunnel versioned in what you see, and be able to assess if “what is the right thing to do”.
Situational Awareness: “One’s ability to remain aware of everything that is happening at the same time and to integrate that sense of awareness into what one is doing at the moment” (Haines & Flateau, 1992).
Pay attention and try to understand what is happening. Understanding the eco-system and information requires a lot more cognitive function than just knowing the information. It needs people to recognise and interpret patterns, and see whether their products and services fits in the go forward plan. Avoid biases, share with your team of what you think might be happening, and list your differentials it shows to them you have been thinking and helps avoid bias.
– Look to see if anything does not fit, make sure your system is set up for you to succeed without the processes, gaps and opportunities identified lineup. If you don’t encourage change, things will never improve. Small steps, with marginal gains make big differences.
– Encourage accountability, – Change systematic factors, – Encourage improvement, identify high risk moments, scan & search, pay attention, avoid fixation error, remain watchful, expect the unexpected, Understand the Information, Compare to what you know & what you expect
Critique it, consider the integrity of the information
Diagnose it, what does it mean?, Think Ahead, Extrapolate & project beyond the ‘now ‘Ask “what if?” and ‘be ahead of the curve’
It may seem silly, but sometimes we are trying to solve the wrong problem. Often, the problem is not what we think it is, and we have to think and ask the right questions.
Even in a time pressured situation, it is useful to consider our options and make sure we have thought about all of them. Your different levels of situational awareness will have given you a list of options already. Talk to your team, and share the mental model whilst doing this. Some people like to list all of the options and some people like to find the best solution. These are the convergent and divergent thinking styles we mentioned above.
RISKS and benefits – Sometimes there will be lots of risks, and no benefits. Sometimes there will be benefits to all of your options. Plan and choose carefully based on the client experiences and needs.
DECISION – The old wives tale says that any decision is better than no decision. Tell the team what decision you have made!
EXECUTION – “who will do what and when”, This is an excellent time to practice your closed loop communication, and tell named members of staff what needs to be done.
CHECK – “did it work”? Check this in a reasonable time scale.
Most of the time, we make decisions without using a decision-making tool, and we are unaware of our decision-making process. We must be aware of how we make decisions, balance everything, and summarise all the facts. Arguably, this is the safer option – but it can take longer. If mistakes are made though, they are assessed and reviewed. This is a conscious process, try to find as many answers as possible to a particular problem.
The hardest thing in dealing with an uncertain economic climate is to forget what you the world looked like prior to COVID-19 and immediately deal in the new reality.
You don’t have time to mess around. You have to get “real” fast for survival.
Your new company goal might simply be to stay alive.
To keep as many of your team together as possible.
To come out the other side of this mess ready to grow.
There may have been business details you didn’t track with granularity. Right now, you need them because they define reality.
Get a clear handle on what you need to know fast, and set your new objective.
The goal is to do this fast. This is about orientation and generating solutions.
Which options will hot on your new definition of success?
Things are and will continue to change rapidly and going forward there may be no perfect decision — your have to be nimble and flexible with your decisions to adapt to the changing environments, you can have good decisions. The key is to decide and act. Don’t wait.
Dave Gajadhar – 780 710 3556 @dgajadar
Dave Gajadhar is an Advisor, Speaker, Educator, and an Advocate for Human prosperity and resource optimization at Resultant Group (Edmonton, AB), business modernization, resource optimization and transition advisors. He can be reached at (780) 483-4800, e-mail Dgajadhar@ResultantGroup.com or contact through Twitter: @dgajadar.
Resultant Group helps companies to identify what matters to each of your stakeholders, participants and clients across your value chain. This enables your organization to optimize resources, monetize excess material and enable your sustainability reporting to convey the business’ unique story reflecting how your business is genuinely managed in a shared and circular economy. Join us at one of our regional workshops. Check out our schedule online at Resultantgroup.com and Companiesforzerowaste.com. Visit @ResultantGroup to learn more about advisory master classes.