If there’s anything that people have learned from this global pandemic, it’s that nothing is guaranteed. COVID-19 has shown businesses that the future is unpredictable, and we can never fully prepare for what’s to come. The next crisis could easily be around the corner, and there’s nothing that some people can do to save their companies from taking on water.
That said, there’s a need to urgently yet soberly begin the preparations for the next business catastrophe. Through this planning effort, we are able to build business resilience to overcome any adversity. So how can your company actualize such grand goals? Here are three key strategies that can help you overcome the waves of uncertainty.
Understanding what business resilience means to your organization
Resilience is a trait that has always been desirable in leaders, business deals, and life in general. In loose terms, it refers to the ability to handle challenges and recover without too much strain. In technical terms, resilience is a company’s ability to withstand competition and business challenges while remaining flexible and learning from past mistakes.
Business resilience planning entails armoring your personnel to carefully respond, resume, and restore operations to a pre-determined level following a disruption. Doing so means that your clients can still, within sensible measure, continue with their transactions. These processes result in an organization that is smart and secure from the ever-changing negative impacts on the economy. In short, business resilience planning can make or break your organization through adverse times.
Understanding that natural calamities aren’t the only cause of economic disruption
When most companies plan for economic disruptions, they tend to imagine natural disasters such as earthquakes, tsunamis, floods, drought, wildfires, and epidemics and simply buy insurance. However, some forget to account for technological or human-made hazards such as terrorism, pollution and environmental degradation, cyber-attacks, industrial accidents, and unplanned telecom outages.
Once an organization accepts that they are not bullet-proof, that’s when serious preparations begin. Employers need to understand what threats their businesses are susceptible to and critically assess how to respond effectively in an emergency.
Realizing that business resilience planning doesn’t have to be expensive
Businesses start to lose money the moment their systems go down. However, with adequate planning, you can reduce your organization’s casualties during a breakdown. In order to help manage costs, strategy consultants can help your organize your plan and adapt quickly. Strategy consulting helps companies come up with cost-effective business resilience plans from their years of experience working in a variety of organizations and industries through crisis.
Business resilience is not just a matter of withstanding or overcoming hurdles. It also entails learning from past mistakes and elevating your organization to greater heights. Your company will not grow if you don’t cultivate a culture of looking back to past events for reference and improvements. Rather than facing new business challenges, you’ll keep recycling old problems.
2020 has brought with it a lot of disruption and confusion, both individually and globally. However, business adversity has always been an invisible enemy that was often unavoidable. That’s why, as mentioned earlier, there’s a severe need to stay prepared. It’s also essential to accept that emergency response plans may not always work. Nonetheless, this shouldn’t undermine your strategy development. Below are crucial steps your organization should take to manage adversity.
Build resilience for the short term
Before you can dream big, you must first see if you can accomplish what’s within reach. For starters, you should create and implement COVID-19 simulations while considering numerous scenarios. These include cases where there’s continued regional or national lockdowns, situations where a large number of employees contract the virus, etc. At the same time, you should also consider how to mitigate the consequential impact of reduced sales and revenue.
Build resilience for the long term
Only after an organization understands its end goal can it begin to experience real success. That said, business owners should strive to integrate resilience into their companies at every stage. But how can you achieve this? Consider diversifying your business risks across numerous ventures such as products, services, market niche, etc. After all, you should never put all your eggs in one basket.
You can also consider what additions and reductions to make to your production systems, human resource systems, facilities, communication, etc. Doing this will help you figure out what strategies are redundant and what is missing. Last but not least, it’s imperative to develop other business networks and industry alliances. This way, you can strengthen your technical and financial muscle with partnerships, thus improving your chance of surviving change.
Improve your leadership development strategy
If you think about it, leaders are the first in the line to create a sense of direction or chaos whenever disaster strikes. Their actions dictate the pace and demeanor of the business, be it professionally or otherwise. Leaders need to balance the current challenges and the potential obstacles to create business agility. They should not only anticipate crises but also adapt and act accordingly through any scenario.
With that in mind, there are specific skill sets that leaders need to possess. Look out for individuals who are flexible and determined in their decision-making. When a leader makes fluid and confident decisions, they can identify problems and solve them swiftly. They should also stay on their toes to remain competitive and abreast of any changes in the market. This trait will help them refine the ability to identify how their businesses can predict and overcome potential challenges. Finally, a great leader should also inspire employee performance and confidence as well as cultivate the next leaders from the team.
Reignite your workforce
COVID-19 has forced many changes including disrupting the global workforce. While some people have unfortunately lost their jobs, others faced difficult work adjustments to carry on with fewer resources. Despite the ongoing challenges, the employees working remotely still had to deliver the same or better quality of output. These events plus additional work stressors can quickly demoralize staff. However, leaders who continually inspire trust and loyalty from their employees go a long way in building business resilience through positivity and reinforcing team work.
Win back your clients
Losing clients is the worst thing that could happen to a business. However, there’s still room to rise above the storm. Among the things you’ll need to do to hasten your recovery is distinguishing between pandemic-induced short-term shifts and permanent changes. Next is to win back the customers’ trust. How? By first reminding them that your business is still open and reassuring them that your company meets all the required health standards to protect them while providing the highest level of customer service.
Importance of Building Resilience in Business
Wins, losses, adversity, and luck are some of the typical business situations that every organization endures. This every changing landscape is why it’s crucial to create a resilient workforce and keep them motivated and less susceptible to burnout. A happy employee is better able to perform, handle change management, and contribute to higher profit margins. Below are some of the benefits your business will gain by adopting resilience as a professional value.
There’s a practical reason why communication skills are taught in colleges and universities today. Without good communication skills, no transactions would ever occur. This reality dates back to days when our ancestors would practice barter trade with neighboring communities that spoke different dialects. Resilience breeds openness and confidence in your personnel. That translates to more effective action when there is a need to speak up and contribute to problem-solving tasks.
Improved response to challenges
Resilient people can quickly identify challenges and make sensible decisions without getting emotionally clouded. They use calm and rationale to deal with uncomfortable situations, rather than play the blame games. Consequently, this means that even when business issues occur, your employees will solve them swiftly oftentimes without the need for management.
Creation of realistic targets
It’s not unheard of to find employees complaining of unrealistic project goals and deadlines. And in such cases, the workforce morale slowly starts to dissipate. People begin to show up late to work or even skip work altogether, feigning illness, among other things. However, reinforcing a resilient culture encourages good communication and openness, leading to unanimous goals.
Improved organizational and time-management skills
Resilience goes hand in hand with good organizational and management skills. How else can you adequately prepare for the future if you can’t manage present challenges? Resilient leaders organize their current plans to align with their feasible future goals, thus promoting productivity throughout the company.
Willingness to offer support
A resilient employee is confident in their skillset and open to feedback. They don’t worry about asking for help when they face difficulties. Instead, they see great value in teamwork to achieve success. They will also provide the support to others when asked without fear of their position being taken by another. Great employees understand that the most value they can bring to an organization is to improve results while building up the next generation of leaders.
Lessons From the Pandemic
A wise man learns from his mistakes. COVID-19 has proven that the world is not ready for another massive crisis. It has caused suffering to many people in all aspects of their lives, unraveled social relationships, highlighting business weaknesses, hampering people’s livelihoods, destroying dreams, and other difficult scenarios.
So how can you best respond to the inevitable challenges ahead and still retain business success? As it turns out, about 10% out of 1,000 publicly traded companies fared better than the majority during the pandemic. What did they do differently from the other 90%? Here are some vital lessons that a diligent leader should heed from the ongoing crisis. Failure to do so could result in a repeat of the same, if not worse.
Build resilient operation systems
One of the great lessons that people have learned is that there’s a need to create alternative plans. Just because a particular solution worked yesterday doesn’t mean it’ll work tomorrow. Creating alternative ways of responding to adversity or challenges provides an opportunity to tackle the issue from another angle. It also allows you to see the problem with fresh eyes.
Although it will cost your company to train your personnel on the new systems, you’re better off prepared than sorry. Yet again, the importance of flexibility comes into play here as well.
People believe in great leadership and trust
Although the name you have created for yourself in the past affects your future business engagements, how you handle challenges can make or break your business. Outstanding leadership skills go a long way in assuring trust with people, including employees. You are more likely to steer your company in the right direction even during a crisis if you exude confidence and openness.
Your employees will emulate your attitude and follow the example you set. For instance, if you adhere to your government’s COVID-19 guidelines, then your employees will follow your lead. This in turn, breeds confidence even as things seem bleak globally.
Focus on collaborations
When creating business plans, people assume perfect and stable economic times to project peak performance that aligns with the business models. However, an experienced and resilient leader should analyze and understand how their business responds to different economic stressors. This process requires companies to seek help internally and externally for growth. It also involves relying on collaborations among personnel, clients, and other stakeholders to improve results when things are going well and cut off losses in a difficult time.
Change is inevitable
Only after people have embraced change can they begin to see the need to stay prepared and quickly adapt as necessary. In essence, a successful business shouldn’t be rigid and handle only the occasional minor disruptions. It should be based on systems built with the assumption of a dynamic economy. Doing so encourages flexibility and reduces the chance of being caught unprepared.
Keep looking forward
A resilient individual finds comfort in knowing that the world keeps moving forward no matter what happens. If they adequately prepare for crises, they are likely to overcome them. It’s also vital to realize that with such global upsets come opportunities.
Combined with a positive attitude, resilience can prepare you for positive transformational change. Broaden your organization’s thinking by looking to your competitors for inspiration and turning to strategy consultants. Take the time to dust yourself off when you stumble, but do not stop looking forward!
Whether on natural calamities or human-made hazards, an early warning system can help people better prepare for crises. However, if the present conditions are not conducive to solve the ongoing problems, we cannot expect to succeed in the future. It also goes to emphasize further why communication is key to any successful business. At Universal Creative Solutions, we will help your company build resilience to maneuver future obstacles.