It’s sink or swim time. While some businesses are simply treading water during the coronavirus crisis, others are gliding through the current. There are no life jackets on this boat, so act now.

Now that 360HR (and most of the world) has transitioned to working from home, I’ve found myself filling the time of my would-be commute to and from work with reading relevant business insights. Most of these insights are centred on the idea of Business Resilience… the “ability an organisation has to quickly adapt to disruptions while maintaining continuous business operations and safeguarding people, assets and overall brand equity.” To put it simply, it is the ability to recover from misfortune or change.

This idea seems extremely pertinent to all business as we experience the disruptions caused by the coronavirus crisis. Economic downtowns are impossible to predict, as we have recently witnessed, but they are as sure as the sunrise. The general consensus is that we need to build resilience now (or yesterday!), because when the sun comes up, we’d better be moving!

One of the most relevant articles I have recently read is by McKinsey & Co, published April 2020. “Getting ahead of the next stage of the coronavirus crisis” stresses that Business Resilience is not just a response to the current crisis, but a need to proactively plan ahead.

The article urges organisations to set up what McKinsey & Co call a “plan-ahead team”. A group of individuals each with a focus on a different time horizon, theorising potential scenarios and developing continuity strategies for the different possible outcomes.

In these unprecedented and highly uncertain times, I believe this is the differentiator between businesses going under, scraping by or coming out ahead. Too often people are paralysed by the “deer in the headlights” syndrome, frozen by unpredictability. To quote the article, “now more than ever, you can’t get rid of uncertainty, you must confront it”. We all have a plan, but with a consistently changing business landscape these plans outdate quickly. By theorising scenarios and acting on specific plans based on identified signals, we can cover most of what can likely happen and be prepared for it.

McKinsey & Co has broken down the role of the “plan-ahead” team further into five strategic frames. You can gain a deeper understanding of each frame from the original article.

The article is very comprehensive in regard to how and why businesses should be preparing for multiple scenarios. That being said, here are my key take-away points.

Act fast

The only better time to begin planning was yesterday and if you haven’t already then you need to act faster than ever. Over the past couple of weeks, we’ve seen plenty of countries begin to “flatten the curve” but this is just the beginning. Next will be the economic shock leading to global recession, followed by a significant change in customer behaviour. You can face the challenges as they come or invest in understanding the possibilities and plan ahead.

Make decision making easier

Making decisions that are irreversible or have the possibility of negatively affecting stakeholders is hard. Some decision makers will stall or delay these hard choices with the hope that all will work out. It is highly recommended that tabletop exercises and workshops be put in place. This will force decision makers to engage in the very real possibility of pulling the trigger on critical moves and the possible outcomes.

Focus on progress over perfection

You will need to accept that the first attempt will not be perfect. But with each iteration, scenarios will be refined, strategies refreshed, and as time unfolds and more information surfaces, more can be taken into consideration. Your response to this crisis will be ever-changing. Instead of waiting for all the necessary information, plan with the information you have and refine over time.

The majority of business owners who choose to face challenges only as they arise, instead of proactively planning based on predictions, will almost certainly be forced out of business in the next twelve months.

It’s sink or swim, and while some businesses are simply treading water, others are gliding through the current. There are no life jackets on this boat, so act now.

360HR currently has a database of exceptional Business Resilience candidates and can provide you with immediate staffing relief.

By Dylan Thompson, 360HR Recruitment Specialist

Based in Wollongong, Dylan has recruited for some of Australia’s leading organisations in industries including banking and finance, industrial, technology and education. He is a Specialist in the Cyber Security, IT and Digital Media fields. Dylan has a successful sales background and is committed to ensuring great results when assisting clients to find the best candidates for the job.