Managing a crisis - from your living room!

2 April 2020 Posted by: Patrick Woods Posted In: Crisis management

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We are all learning about homeworking, even as leaders. Recently, my colleagues hosted a call with a number of funds on this very subject. There were some interesting insights that I would like to share with you.

• In a crisis, the optimum management style should involve focusing on getting the right resources in the right place, to achieve the right output.

• If working from home is to work effectively, it is important that organisations focus on the needs of their people. A good way to begin, is to listen to people on a one-to-one basis, using the individual feedback as the basis on which to decide a way of operating as a team that could work for everyone. Such an approach could relieve pressure on individual team members as they will then understand how they are expected to work and to be able to influence an approach which will work for them and their domestic situation.

• Homeworking has the advantage of being flexible, with the opportunity to use multiple means of communication to ensure there is organisational clarity of intent.

• However, the novelty quickly wears off. So, when this happens, how can we keep people motivated, especially when there will be other issues that leaders will need to attend to? That’s when the military concept of “retaining command and control” becomes especially useful. This allows leadership to pass on commands and directives, ensuring they will be communicated and understood, and that there will be agility of decision making.

• This could be best achieved by implementing a formal structure, a “battle rhythm” involving for example, a morning start-up call, to make sure people understand the plan for the day, checking they have the tools required to carry it out, whilst allowing them to get on with it. In such a structure people are trusted to work around the potential distractions they will inevitably encounter at home, reporting back the following morning on progress towards the agreed goals

One issue is worthy of particular attention because it becomes an ever-greater risk the longer this crisis continues. Because many pension funds are managed by relatively small teams, one needs to consider what would happen if everyone became ill at the same time? There is time for that to happen but thankfully also time to consider what plan you could put in place to cope in such an environment.

Recognising this risk to our client’s internal resource, Avida International has put together a series of governance support packages to help them tap into our expertise and support as and when required. We would be delighted to provide more information.

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