We are all having to confront uncomfortable levels of change. In our work lives we have lost, at least temporarily, physical contact with colleagues, suppliers and customers. Mutual trust levels are being put to the test. This is important because in our experience, when trust breaks down governance and management issues typically emerge.
As an institutional investor, if you weren’t already interested in ESG, then the increasing glow of the
regulatory spotlight is surely getting you there. If that’s the case, you may find some the following
thoughts and suggestions to emerge from a recent client roundtable on the subject useful.
Arguably, if ever there was a time to think outside the box it is now. As leaders we should be using some of the time being freed up in our diaries to strategize. The process should begin by accepting that we will never have all the answers and so should involve all our colleagues who can and will want to help. The key question to be addressed is what the major implications of the COVID-19 crisis will be for our businesses and whilst it’s impossible be sure, there are three potential risks that stand out.
Organisations, regardless of the industry they are in, are currently facing headwinds they have not previously experienced. The individuals within them will be shaken by this and human nature, being what it is, dictates that we will all want things to return to normal as soon as possible. But the likely duration of this crisis means that the behavioural changes we are experiencing are likely to be with us for a long time. That makes it likely they will become embedded in our organisations. It can be observed that two broad behavioural scenarios are already emerging.
What a few weeks it’s been.
For some people, successfully maintaining customer relationships whilst balancing the domestic
priorities associated with homeworking has been their principal focus. For others, it has been
dropping out of their business temporarily having been furloughed or worse still as a result of illness.
For everyone, the past few weeks has involved a deeply uncomfortable period of change.
The COVID-19 crisis has pushed one word and a single expression into current conversational
prominence. The regularity with which “unprecedented” has been used is indeed truly deserved.
Less so perhaps “the new normal” if only because it implies the emergence of an unlikely singular,
clear and fixed outcome.
Events surrounding UK politics and COVID-19 have highlighted key person risk. Organisations across
our industry will doubtless have considered this risk when designing their business continuity plans.
Everywhere the robustness of these plans is currently being put to the test and thus far we may feel
they have helped us manage this crisis well. But how prepared are we as leaders if, as seems highly
likely, this crisis gets worse? Have we considered how we might cope with the most likely outcomes
deciding not to think the unthinkable?
From an organisational perspective the COVID-19 crisis has now moved into a steady state phase with new patterns of operating now firmly established, chief among these being homeworking. But human nature being what it is, for many the novelty will have begun to wear off already. Therefore, leaders now need to focus on maintaining morale amongst their people.
Here are a few practical tips we feel could be useful.