There has been a lot of talk about what the post pandemic world will look like and how it might impact our businesses. Will there be a shift in the way we operate, or will we return to the way we were?
We decided to ask our clients and friends what they are thinking about. This is a summary of their views. It reflects 120 responses to an on-line survey and interviews, but we are not holding this out to be representative of businesses at large; there is no scientific basis to the selection criteria.
Topics selected were drawn from areas that were already being debated prior to the pandemic and included areas that could impact on the way wealth is created over the long-term. We summarise below the average extent of change expected across each business area, against a scale of 1- No change to 10 – Significant change. We should emphasise that there are significant variations in views that are hidden by the average! The study has revealed areas where there is a debate about what might happen in the future and respondents’ reflections from their experience through the pandemic.
The impact of this work has been varied and often the result has been to create the debate in the businesses of each respondent. Yes, there are areas where organisations are facing similar challenges (remote working, short term survival tactics) but largely each is experiencing their own version of the crisis, depending on several factors:
The survey has raised questions for us, and these have been posed within each section of the report. Whatever the impact the pandemic has had so far, we believe a good discipline will be to consider each of the questions for each of our organisations. These questions are summarised in the appendix.
Early in the crisis, it became clear that a lot of the changes being experienced were trending prior to the pandemic but needed acceleration to respond to the crisis. In this study, remote working and reappraisal of business travel would be examples. Other examples might include the continuing move to on-line retail and the demise of the high street, the replacement of cash by plastic and a requirement for more flexibility in office accommodation. It might be that there are other changes which were evident prior to the pandemic that might now need to be addressed.
What has caught many organisations off guard is the speed at which these changes have appeared. Changes seen on the next 5-10 years horizon have occurred in 5-10 weeks, causing a major organisational development challenge. The impact has questioned:
It’s likely that the virus will be with us for some time to come so waiting for a return to normality is not an option, business leaders need to start taking control.
And there are some areas that may be worthy of further examination:
No single answer and no ‘one size fits all’ but questions for each organisation and its leadership to ponder? Yes, there will be an opportunity to reset, but not all will see the need to do so.
The full report is available on request from firstname.lastname@example.org
1 July 2020
“Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything” – George Bernard Shaw.
“Let us admit it fairly, as business people should,
We have had no end of a lesson: it will do us no end of good”
– Rudyard Kipling
The responses to the survey have created more questions for us and may be worth asking within each organisation. They are summarised below.
The way we operate
With ways of working changing significantly over the past few months, areas for lasting change have been identified.
Planning for adversity is not always easy but it can be done.
Being held to account
Now more than ever, organisations need to be seen to be “doing the right thing” for a wider variety of stakeholders.
The definition of success
What does success look like for our businesses?
Since Covid-19, the impact on reward has been varied.
There will be very few times when a leader will need to make fast decisions and/or hard decisions. A crisis is one of those times.
Having financial stability is a necessity for any business.
Is there a need for a wider understanding of Board responsibilities?