Business leaders must reset their strategy and build resilience as the phases of the pandemic progress, but how could these be done successfully?
According to Gartner, a reset takes place in the three stages of respond, recover, and renew.
The duration of each phase varies by country, industry and enterprise, as well as by business unit, product or service, said the research firm.
“There’s been a reset of the workforce and work itself, a reset of the employer/employee relationship, and a reset of the business ecosystem. For most, the business impact of the pandemic has been deeply negative, while positive for some fortunate sectors,” said Chris Howard, chief of research at Gartner.
Gartner describes the actions in each stage as follows:
Immediate actions are focused on keeping people safe and essential business functions operating. This is a relatively short period marked by high effort and potentially chaotic activity. Key activities include:
- Temporary fixes to stop the bleeding
This is a more organized/coordinated effort to stabilize operations. This has a medium duration. Key activities include:
- Create a plan to restore a scalable state
- Identify capabilities needed to strengthen, refactor, reopen, rehire, rebudget, and resupply
Extended period marked by strategic, durable execution across the organization. Key activities include:
- Learn to conduct operations processes and workflows in new, repeatable, and scalable ways.
- Use lessons learned and emergent patterns from prior phases to coalesce around a new foundation and way forward.
These phases are not sequential and they can overlap Gartner noted.
“During highly disruptive times, it is possible to think about the renewal phase, even while grappling with the triage response and recovery,” Howard pointed out.
Successful resets also build organisational resilience, he observed.
As organizations weed out weaknesses and amplify strengths in their business and operating models, they will be better positioned to weather the next disruption, Howard added.
“In the absence of a vaccine or cure for COVID-19, any rebound in business activity could easily be followed by another round of response, recover, renew, so the imperative is to absorb lessons learned quickly and build sustainable changes into business and operating models,” he advised.
How to create a resilient business model
Business leaders must first determine exactly where and how the crisis has stretched and broken their existing models, and where the risks and opportunities lie as a result, Howard pointed out.
Senior and functional leaders must collaborate around an agile, options-based scenario-planning protocol they can use to identify significant uncertainties and evaluate them in terms of their importance to the near and long-term future of the enterprise, he added.
In the Renew phase, leaders must take the opportunity to reset or rebuild their business models and operations for a new reality, according to Gartner.
“Organizations will ultimately reduce or retire some activities permanently. This could include moving some business capabilities out into the ecosystem (e.g., SaaS) or removing a product or service entirely. In some cases, retirement is long overdue,” Howard said.
Others could reinvent themselves by refocusing their capacity, he added.
“Think of government service centres that have been forced to offer their services remotely. They may be able to retire some of their physical centres and instead focus on their newfound digital capabilities,” Howard noted. “Yet others, such as digitalized parts of an organization, might rescale permanently.”