COVID-19: Will it define us?

by | 5 Apr 2020

The COVID19 humanitarian crisis should always ensure our focus and compassion is with our fellow human beings who have suffered terrible loss in such a short period of time, and this is rightly so.

There is, however, another ‘victim’ of this pandemic, our economy. Our political leaders have taken unprecedented steps to ensure short to medium term remedy, which will undoubtedly have long term impact.

While our fantastic medical professionals take on the huge challenge of saving lives, it is Merlin’s opinion that our business community has a lead role in tackling ‘head on’ the task of resurrecting our economy as soon as is practically possible.

To paraphrase Lord Kitchener: Your Economy Needs You.

During this crisis, there is little doubt that there is an absolute need for Business Leaders to seek the help of their professional advisers. There are lots of great examples of advisers coalescing around business communities to offer help.

However, ultimately it is the role of Business Leaders to make DECISIONS and there is no one better placed to know your business, culture, market, competitors and so on. That is, after all, why you are in the role you are in.

We at Merlin think our role in all of this is to help, where we can, Business Leaders make the best decisions to manage the impact of COVID-19 and adapt Operating Models to set up for success.

With spare capacity due to client projects being cancelled or deferred, in these unprecedented times we’d love to make ourselves available, at our own cost, to Business Leaders who need to make these decisions.

Areas where we are currently sharing / tailoring pragmatic and practical tools with Business Leaders and helping apply them in their context: 

1. COVID19 impact on your business – a robust, pragmatic and honest review of this external stimulus, or otherwise, to your business. A means of getting to ‘tough decisions’ or identifying opportunities that may define the future of your business.

2. Based on 1) above, YOUR impact on your business – the speed of COVID19 may have caught a lot of Business Leaders off-guard and forced knee jerk, short term decisions that may not ordinarily have been taken. Adapting and using ‘Failure Modes and Effect Analysis (FMEA) will help Business Leaders understand the Impact of Decisions, when/how often they may feel the Impact, how they will identify it and, most importantly, how they can potentially mitigate it. For example,

  1. Avoiding Creditors calls
  2. Laying off key team members
  3. Signing – when it is possible to do such – the lease on a new office.

Merlin are happy to help explain the use of these tools (and others) further, if required, and would also offer that now more than ever, when normal day job routine is most likely to be interrupted, is the time when you have time to determine the future or your business.

Once done, this then leads to what next? what will my business look like? how will we operate? What skills/technology/data will I require?  This will take you a long way towards developing your Crisis Recovery Strategy.

3. So, what is the new Normal? – by using Target Operating Model (TOM) methodology in its simplest form, you can determine what you may have to change to adapt your business to set up for success. By de-layering your business, the task of making change becomes much more focussed and only touches those layers that will require change. If, for example, Working from Home (WFH) becomes the new normal for your employees, what does that mean?

  1. Managing 20 remote workers is very different from managing 20 office workers
  2. Is your leadership team set up for the new normal?
  3. How will your clients react to a new ‘channel’?
  4. Do you have the technology, and how do you share relevant information/data?
  5. How do you maintain security?

4. COVID-19 Recovery Project Plan – Having understood, per above, what needs to be done, ‘Plan for Success’ and coalesce all your staff around a well thought through, rapid recovery Project Plan.

A lot to consider. Yes undoubtedly, however, you most likely have the opportunity NOW to determine your business future and play your role in ensuring our Economy can be as robust as possible, as fast as possible.

This is a call to action, so let’s get moving in a pragmatic and practical fashion. We would love to help in any way we can.