LLYC 20 Jul 2020 // 4:48PM GMT
All CEOs are currently facing a challenge. They can see it as a risk and focus only on minimizing damage, or they can treat it as a somber opportunity, devoting every effort to maximizing the value creation in their companies.
The world will change, and we need to be one step ahead of the game. Fully leverage this shift, surf the wave to fulfill your duties as CEO and bring your company to a safe harbor.
To this end, you must be familiar with reality and listen to the key actors involved in your business. You need think hard and find the best roadmap, sharing it with your leadership to get everyone on board.
To fully deliver your message, you must communicate your purpose, highlighting your storydoing and values in a clear, transparent and proactive manner. Now is the time to engage your key stakeholders and move forward together.
It will not be easy, but it will be interesting.
A CEO’s responsibility always implies a challenge.
“Whenever there is a challenge, there is also an opportunity to face it, to demonstrate and develop our will and determination.” – Dalai Lama
Making an organization sustainable is hard to execute, but easy to conceptualize. You only need to be capable of delivering a proposition that creates value for your key stakeholders.
For this to be possible, CEOs must support a purpose, a vision and values that clearly express the company’s DNA, all in line with the relevant actors. They must also find a clear playing field to provide the limits of their strategy, developed to satisfy—as much as possible—the needs of each one of the organization’s key stakeholders.
Understanding the company’s ecosystem and the sector’s megatrends allows CEOs to create and share a roadmap with the individuals who must follow it. This lets them obtain the desired short- and long-term results.
The Covid-19 Earthquake
We were all tirelessly pursuing our goals when this disruption hit. An unforeseeable, external agent has suddenly changed everything, with implications ranging from the obvious health issues to the emerging financial difficulties.
Furthermore, there are still social consequences expected to arise in the next few months.
What should our priorities be within this context, so as to best weather this crisis, and perhaps find our own silver linings within it? Minimizing damage is no longer enough. What shareholders expect from their CEOs is for them to not only sail through this storm, but also be able to come out of this situation stronger, with value created.
It seems logical to think setting a good management system in motion would suffice, taking into account the current scenario’s specifics when possible.
Hold onto your principles
Focus on maintaining your purpose, vision and values. Betraying them during the pandemic might create value in the short term, but your stakeholders will lose trust in you if they see your focus and character change when facing a difficult situation.
Purpose helps companies maintain their raison d’être as they implement new, often rushed, measures. Purpose will be key to helping the teams act accurately. Now, millennials have joined the market as consumers, employees, suppliers and even shareholders. They seek to be part of something bigger, leave their mark in this world, and make positive contributions.
Knowing why your company exists, who its people are and how they do things will help forge bonds with those who can support you in remaining sustainable. Keeping these ideals at the center of your organization and your communications with clients, employees, suppliers, citizens and shareholders will help build a better connection between them and your own projects and company.
The companies reacting best to this situation are those that are basing their decisions on their purpose and values. Following your North Star will lead you to a safe harbor.
Listen to your stakeholders
Their priorities have probably changed too. Watch them carefully and adapt your strategy and action plan to offer them value. Clearly respond to their new needs to strengthen your relationships with them in these challenging times.
Prioritize your stakeholders during this crisis. The goal is to keep them all at least moderately satisfied, but it is also true that, under such extreme circumstances, you must establish an order of priority to help you make clear decisions. In times like these, clients, employees and financial suppliers are crucial. Once their priorities have been managed, you can devote time to managing your goods and services, citizens and shareholders.
Understand the effects of Covid-19 on megatrends and leverage them
This pandemic, as terrible as it is, has created an opportunity to accelerate your transformation plan to better align with megatrends. Reflect on how COVID-19 has accelerated global change, and identify where your company can find a silver lining.
We need to think about the crisis’ effects on globalization management, a global problem that requires integrated solutions; self- management, which has been boosted by the necessary shift to teleworking; productive processes and information automation, which has leapt forward; use of technology, where we have seen increases in communications and 3D printing; the sharing economy, with voluntary work resurfacing as a solution; resource scarcity, particularly regarding health equipment, medicine and staff; regulation, which has increased in many countries around the world to respond to COVID-19; and political and socio- economic uncertainty. These are just some of many variables that should be taken into account.
Adapt your strategy with contingency plans focused on what’s important