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Lars Linnekogel
Lars
Linnekogel

The Strategy That Will Enable You to Navigate Safely Through Any Crisis

05.05.2020
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Historically, our economy is shaken by a crisis around every eight to ten years. Does this mean we were prepared for the onset of the current crisis though?

For many companies, the answer is a resounding no. Instead of acting in a well thought-out manner, some have remained in a state of shock while others engage in panic-stricken actionism. Neither of these is particularly conducive to achieving corporate goals.

As a C-level executive, your task now is not only to steer your company through these turbulent times; you also have to provide reliable support for customers and partners. Waiting for the storm to pass and “business as usual” are simply not options at your disposal.

Instead, it is high time for prudent reflection and decisive action based on a solid master plan. What you need most of all in times like these is an agile business strategy. We will show you which questions and tools will help you to achieve this.

3 Golden Rules in Times of Crisis

Your business strategy has brought you this far. However, everything is different now and it will be in need of a makeover.

To do this, you should definitely set up a crisis team to coordinate all measures. After all, when all the threads come together in one place, you stimulate synergies, ensure quick wins and enhance general decision-making capabilities during this crucial phase.

If you already established a PMO before the onset of the coronavirus crisis, you can now use it for crisis coordination. The following questions and answers will ensure your strategy remains crisis-proof.

What can I do right now? Immediate crisis response 

In the first stage of a crisis, everything revolves around stabilizing your company and reacting to the changed conditions.

Has the world changed overnight? Interrupt your daily project activities to gain an overview of the current situation. Focus on business resilience and financial stability:

  • Number one priority: How can we ensure the health and safety of our employees and customers? Identify and eliminate risk factors where possible.
  • What is our financial position? Check your cash flow and compile a list of possible measures. Apply for grants and loans, shorten the sales cycle and minimize costs.
  • Does our supply chain allow for further production and if so, for how much longer? Which working methods and processes no longer work and have to be changed? Make a concrete list and identify bottlenecks.

What’s really important right now? Reprioritization

Reassess your current and future strategic projects. In doing so, adapt your business strategy to the new situation that the crisis has forced upon us. Keep the following criteria in mind:

Urgency

  • What produces cash?
  • What will help us to overcome the challenges we are facing right now?
  • What will solve the current problems of our partners and customers?
  • What is still relevant for our company despite the crisis?

Feasibility

  • How costly will the project be?
  • What resources (employees, knowledge, time, technology, materials) are available?

Urgent and feasible: This category includes all projects that will drive the company forward in the midst of the crisis and can be realized with the resources available. Implement them to the best of your ability and make them a top priority.

Urgent, but hardly feasible: Some problems require solutions, even if they demand special efforts. Out-of-the-box thinking opens up new perspectives when faced with apparent deadlock.

Less urgent, but feasible: Check your resources and implement these projects as a second priority, provided it does not hinder your urgent plans.

Less urgent and hardly feasible: You can adopt a radical approach here. Terminate all projects that require high levels of commitment and seem to be of little relevance both during the crisis and afterwards. Don’t forget that you’re not throwing all your previous work down the drain. You can resume it at a later date if necessary.

Best practice: Reprioritization during the crisis

The Swabian textile manufacturer Trigema was set to declare that employees would be on reduced working hours. However, it then announced that it would shift its focus and begin producing face masks.

Producing face masks was a great response by this company to the questions mentioned above. It provides cash, it solves the current problems of both the company and customers while maintaining the processing of fabric as a core business. Moreover, the resources (sewing machines, fabrics, workers) were available, which increases the feasibility of it all.

In short, this project falls into the first field of the matrix: urgent AND feasible. Therefore, it made sense to make launching the new project the number one priority. Other strategic projects, such as a new clothing collection, have been put on the back burner.

What will be important in the future? Rebound strategy

At some point the world will develop an effective vaccine or treatment for Covid-19. However, it’s only then that the future will begin.

Unfortunately, we also don’t have a crystal ball in our pocket. However, this much is clear: the crisis will leave the world a changed place. Some competitors have already folded while new niches are beginning to emerge. You can expect drastic changes in all areas including business processes, consumer behavior and supply chains.

Now is an ideal time to take bold steps forward and secure a new place in your market or adjacent markets. A crisis like the current one releases a large amount of energy that you should use to change and develop your business.

Keep your eyes peeled for both the small and large opportunities afforded by the crisis. Ask yourself:

  • What will the world look like after the crisis?
  • Has the market environment developed - are there new players and products?
  • Which new elements should be included in the strategy as a result of adjustments to customer needs and social behavior?
  • What change processes in my company are encouraged or facilitated by the crisis (e.g. digital transformation)?
  • What weaknesses in the company or strategy has the crisis exposed? What can we learn from it?

Once you’ve answered these questions, realign your strategy and start planning how you will implement the changes now.

TTE – Your Partner in Turbulent Times

Your business strategy will not become obsolete during the crisis. However, to make it an effective tool, business owners and managers should adapt it to the circumstances in a flexible manner. Have the courage to shift priorities within your strategy and set ambitious goals. This way, you can use the energy brought by the crisis to your advantage.

We are convinced that new opportunities will emerge, especially in times of great uncertainty. Decisive action is needed to exploit them. In which areas are you waiting instead of taking strategic steps?

Our strategy and transformation experts will accompany your C-Suite through these unprecedented times. Simply get in touch and we will be more than happy to help, even at short notice.

 

 



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