As we enter the last few weeks of May, countries, markets and businesses across the world are figuring out how we can safely return to our physical spaces for work, entertainment, school, shopping and more. When we started to work from home several weeks ago, there was no playbook. It is no different now that we are making plans to go back to our “normal” life. It is going to take a lot of people making educated guesses to find a path that works. Not only that, but we need to be ready to adjust on the fly to make sure we take care of our biggest assets, our people.
Last week I talked about lessons learned around handling the tough decisions driven by the pandemic, this included scenario planning for best-case outcomes which still involved hard choices. This week, l will cover worst-case scenarios and what we need to think about as we determine the future of our organizations. Much of my advice has come through talking with other leaders and our own partners and employees. I hope these thoughts and ideas are helpful as you continue your leadership journey, too. You can read the full summary on TMCnet, but here is a preview.
With the easing of stay-at-home recommendations comes hope, and some sense of relief. I think we can all agree that there is no getting back to “normal,” but as I said in my week 5 update there is an opportunity to create a modified way of doing business that allows us to serve customers as well, if not better, than we did before 2020.
We cannot however, let that hope and sense of relief distract us from thinking about worst-case scenario planning. Even with carefully crafted “back to the office” plans, there is the real possibility that our best laid plans will have to change or be put aside.
No one can predict what will happen in the coming year. So, think about the potential losses that might impact your business. What happens if one or more of your employees fall ill, or if employees need extended time off? Consider the impact of closing an office, factory or other physical location. If any of these scenarios have already happened, did you act in the best way or would you do anything differently now?
A key thing to remember as you go about creating a strategic plan for recovery is that you do not, and should not, need to make these decisions alone, or by executive committee. One of the best things that has come out of our transition to work-from-home is a change in how we view hierarchy. At Calabrio, we have always tried to have an open-door, with people working really well in cross-department teams and across titles and functions.
Involving people at all levels of the organization will not only ensure that you gather insights and best practices from team members directly impacted by challenges, it also motivates and inspires employees to own and act on change. The past few months have been extremely difficult but giving employees ownership of how we transition through recovery and toward a future path can create improved morale and excitement for the future. I hope our contemplations can inspire other leaders to think and act similarly. Check out my full thoughts on TMCnet, and as always, reach out to me on LinkedIn if you have stories or tips you want to share.