By Dale Lawrence
Obviously, many businesses are not doing well in this major crisis. Hourly news stories of massive lay-offs, enormous supply chain disruptions, poor customer confidence and hit-and-miss political leadership adds to the human health tragedy. It is easy right now to get pulled into the mud. While many of the issues are out of our hands, there is a lot we can do. Starting with your organization.
Some thoughts on which company structures will likely do better in this environment:
• An organizational system that is connected by informal networks performing tasks, constantly collaborating is likely going to do better than one with a strict hierarchy. While a stable environment may give an advantage to hierarchy, the Coronavirus has disrupted the status quo. The inefficiency of line of command is going to slow down the necessary reaction needed to adapt. Bureaucracy is NOT what you need. While shifting away from hierarchy will be hard, some daily changes would be advised. Start with daily huddles where small objectives are shared and ask the employees to break into teams to find ways to solve them. If you prescribe what you want them to do, they will get stuck with waiting for instructions.
• A leadership style that is centralized is also going to be challenging. Leaders come in many sizes and roles. Once your workforce goes remote and is working-from-home, a centralized leadership style will immediately cause your company problems. Distributed leadership systems will adapt faster and allow for micro decisions to occur. If you find your centralized style is causing problems, you need to split the company into smaller groups with alignment sessions to ensure a bottom-up solution among the leaders. Give them goals and ask them to guide their teams to achieve them.
• Companies that are tightly organized with high interdependence among the business areas will immediately find this pandemic and change to remote work really difficult. Add to this, some temporary employee lay-offs would cause more process gaps. A company that is loose and less dependent will be able to adjust faster to this pandemic.
• Normally processes, policy and procedures are very important but right now, allow flexibility. You need your team to be guided by the overall objectives but be able to innovate and find new ways to solve problems. Once the ‘New Normal’ happens in your business, relook at your processes and adjust where necessary. Your employees likely found new ways to do work because you provided the right environment.
The leaders who quickly self-reflect and adjust where needed will put their company into the best possible position to be successful in the ‘New Normal’. You need to make these changes fast and since things are constantly changing, action is needed. Our Propulo team are experts at helping our clients achieve the best balance of process excellence and human performance. The companies that react in this way will be better positioned for the expected improvement in Q3 and Q4. We want to help craft your journey forward.