With an expected easing of current public health restrictions in the last quarter of 2021, what does the economy look like? Are businesses and communities prepared for what comes next?
In this article, Mara's corporate services manager, Shanthi Herd, provides expert advice and practical tips to planning for a post pandemic recovery.
We are all still dealing day to day with the impacts of the pandemic on our work and personal lives and according to the ABC News platform, things may get worse for the health of our communities in the next couple of months before they get better. With so much attention being placed on the vaccination numbers and cases, how well placed are we to respond to the risks and opportunities from the post-pandemic ‘new normal’?
Are businesses still just in survival mode, or have they turned their thinking to what comes next?
Now is the time to plan for the new normal
With vaccination rates now rising quickly towards national targets, we can expect an easing of current public health restrictions in this last quarter of 2021.
We are all hoping for a 2022 that sees a progressive return to ‘normal’ life, the possibility of travel both domestic an international to visit friends and families, gathering for sporting, music and community events, keeping our bricks and mortar doors open to our clients, customers and students and working face to face with our colleagues.
The pandemic has affected the way we think about many things - about work, about security, about connection and community to name a few.
What steps are you taking?
Some organisations have already responded with agile adjustments in their business model and continued making a valued offering to their market.
McKinsey reported in early September, that while some businesses are still in the "how bad can it get phase", others are a looking towards "how big will the bounce be". There is an opportunity to emerge well prepared from this acute pandemic phase into what will be the new normal.
But what risks and opportunities do these shifts present in order to create sustainable value in a post-pandemic world? How does an organisation manage its transition to this future?
Strategic planning and business hygiene are key
Many of us are suffering pandemic fatigue as our time and energy is absorbed into managing the current realities of work and personal lives and the often intertwining demands. Yet now is the best time to take stock and think about what’s next – and how to mitigate the risks and take up the opportunities that the emergent environment presents.
The goal posts have moved but have you?
If you are looking for advice, now more than ever is the best time to plan for your post-pandemic plan. This starts with refreshing your business strategy and evaluating current and future goals.
Get started on the new normal
We have all learned valuable lessons for our organisations from the pandemic. Chances are, there is also a lot of knowledge, skill and experience in your organisation and, if you have made it this far, resilient commitment to your purpose and doing what you do.
These are important pre-conditions for devising a plan that helps your organisation to successfully navigate continuing uncertainty. To thrive, not merely survive.
Tips to get you started
Starting the next phase of your organisation's planning is sometimes daunting. If you're not sure what to do, here are our tips for getting started:
1. Make some time and space for your planning – it takes uninterrupted focus and brain power!
2. Be clear about the outputs and outcomes you need from your planning process.
One of the key outputs is a documented, achievable plan that has clear actions and is timed, resourced and measurable. Who is going to do what by when, and how do we know when it’s done well?
An outcome might be that your team is committed to carrying out your plan, or that you have given confidence to a key stakeholder. This could be an investor for example. You may need a formal business case for the actions you want to take, but above all, be clear about how outcomes will benefit your organisation.
3. Start with your organisation’s purpose in mind.
Everything you do should serve this purpose – it’s your call to arms. Crystalising strategies and goals that focus on your purpose within a timeframe will help identify the actions you need to take.
4. Think carefully about your operating context and key stakeholder expectations – both internal and external.
This is key to identifying the risks and opportunities to achieving your goals. Considering different scenarios that may emerge and how they could impact your organisation can help to identify risks and opportunities.
5. Involve those who need to contribute to the plan’s success.
Think about where and how in the planning process different people can best contribute. Some will make their best contribution in ideas generation. Some in developing specific actions that can be implemented efficiently and effectively. Others may need to be well engaged for implementation to be successful. Remember that some of these people may be external to your organisation, like key customers or suppliers.
6. Be an agile, learning organisation.
The only certainty (other than death and taxes) is uncertainty. Successful organisations constantly scan their environments for emerging risks and opportunities. They learn from past performance and respond quickly to its lessons. They are willing to try new things and abandon fast those that don’t work.
Don’t treat your plan as though it is cast in stone. Don’t throw it away if some things don’t work as you expect. The best plan is a living document that changes over time, informed by the lessons you’ve learned and your changing environment.
Need help? Think Pink.
Need help with business strategy and hygiene, Think Pink and get in touch.
Phone: 02 49654317
About the writer
Shanthi Herd is a commercial and business operations specialist. Shanthi provides strategic advice and planning services to leadership teams, senior management, C-Suite management, and Boards. Areas of expertise include business review and hygiene, developing ESG measures and reports, strategic workshops and planning.
Get in touch firstname.lastname@example.org or 02 49654317.