General Business

‘Plan Ahead’ For The ‘Next Normal’

When drowning in a daily ‘sea’ of new information, reacting to new data, managing the change to work patterns or indeed no ability to operate at all, you’d be forgiven for not adding to your already challenging day by diverting some attention to ‘Plan Ahead’ and the ‘Next Normal’ – whatever that is.

But like most business leaders or owners what’s next is never far away from your thoughts.

You’ve gotten to grips with your Business Resilience Plan and specifically you’re spending a huge amount of your time on communication. If you wondered what leadership was all about before, well now you really know. At AAB, we certainly found ourselves in the mind-set of “there’s no point in worrying what’s over the hill until you’ve worked out how you’re getting everyone to the top” but when does that mind-set need to change?

Thanks to a very well-crafted and timely McKinsey article (“Getting ahead of the next stage of the coronavirus crisis”) we were able to take the thinking and overlay it on the questions we’d been pondering:-

  • How are we going to navigate us out of this?
  • Where are we now?
  • How will we make sure we’re ready?
  • What will our business look like in twelve months?

This takes you to a whole different space in which you need to get separation between the team you’ve deployed to “just focus on keeping the wheels turning right now” and create a new team which you can scale up over time to run down the scenario planning, starting with where you are now.

When we eventually got our heads around this it actually didn’t seem so bad. We’ve spent the last eighteen months understanding agile methodology, looking at the interaction of agile with our digital strategy and adopting it into our everyday working lives.

When the Board decided to close the office just before ‘lockdown’ we just moved everyone into the WFH environment and continued to manage the teams with stand-ups and agile sprints, and the teams all got to work in a different way but with the ‘tools’ in place to help. Of course there was an element of nervousness around the scale of the change but this was largely unfounded. Our support teams were ready to ‘support’ in a different way the same way as the client teams were ready to continue to deliver client work in a different way.

Roll forward a few months and the same is true for what you need to do with the ‘Plan Ahead’ team.

What this will allow everyone to do is:-

  • Gather data from a number of reliable sources accepting that this will change or evolve;
  • Understand and develop various strategies based on possible outcomes using the data;
  • Recognise when a particular strategy seems to be playing out;
  • Make quicker decisions based on what we’ve modelled;
  • Know what we need to do and have an action plan ready to implement; and
  • Identify how to get something better out of the pain we’ve been through.

A lot of this is what we already do when working in an advisory capacity with clients. And through this approach we hope to be on a firm footing with whatever the ‘next normal’ is.

With such uncertainty today no-one knows what tomorrow will look like or who will and who will not survive this, but by recognising now that we need to ‘plan ahead’ as a firm, we’ll be better placed than we would have otherwise.

So what’s next for you…..are you going to take the next step and plan ahead for the ‘next normal’?

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