Scaling up after the Pandemic
by Grant Tate
Eamon Javers, CNBC Washington Correspondent said on PBS Washington Week tonight that we can’t just flip a switch to restart the economy, it’s more like restarting a campfire after we’ve doused it with water. I believe that is a good analogy for what we will face after the social distancing pause.
It’s hard for us to imagine the total effect of this pandemic, nationally and internationally. We know for certain there will be a lot of casualties. We know a lot of businesses, small and large will be damaged or fail, We know a lot of people will lose their jobs. There will be defaults on loans and rents unpaid. Our national, state and local institutions will be stressed, some to the breaking point. Our medical systems will be exhausted and strained sending many healthcare workers into burnout. And, many people will face physical and mental health issues as after-effects. And who knows what our federal government will look like or who will be leading it.
Many or most countries across the globe will have faced similar challenges, and with varying ability to deal with the pandemic or its after-effects. International supply chains will be severely damaged, and once-trusted suppliers may be crippled or even disappear.
All of us who survive this pandemic, and are in a position to help, need to ask ourselves: What is my role in the recovery? I’m a business consultant with a tag line, “Helping people learn and thrive in a complex world.” Well — the world just got a lot more complex. In addition, several weeks ago, before this wave hit, I had decided to reduce my workload, even put myself in retirement.
So, what now?
There will be many individual managers, business owners and others who need help in dealing with the new challenges. Through no fault of their own, they’ve been put on a new unanticipated path, a path with unknown destinations or boundaries. Paths without maps. The need for individual coaches to help people put their lives and businesses back together will be unprecedented in modern times.
For businesses, in addition to financial and market stresses, the pandemic may have thinned the ranks of employees and those with critical skills. Someone needs to help business leaders layout new plans, get financing, recover a market, and acquire people to staff the business.
OK. The previous paragraphs describe the normal stuff that people and businesses need. But are the traditional techniques we use to help them adequate to the need? Are the techniques effective enough for us to restart the economy as quickly as we need? Are we prepared to address the scale of the need we will face after the pandemic?
My consulting toolbox is extensive and effective, but I’m going to reexamine every tool to see if it is sharp enough, effective enough, and fast enough to help those I can help. Here are some obvious changes:
- Fast-track planning — a one day, one page plan.
- Team-based Organization Template — design for agility and growth.
- Adaptable execution & management system — using OKRs.
- Single bite executive and staff training. Learn as you go.
- Apply Cash Flow Story for instant cash managment.
OK. This is a start.
And — perhaps retirement also needs to be reexamined. Watch this space.