To weather a crisis, build a network of teams
McKinsey & Company
This article focuses on the steps leaders should take to create a cohesive and adaptable network of teams, united by a common purpose, that gathers information, devises solutions, puts them into practice, refines outcomes—and does it all fast.
- Launch teams fast and build as you go: Create teams that will tackle current strategic priorities and key challenges facing the organisation.
- Get out of the way but stay connected: After creating the initial set of teams, a leader must shift toward ensuring that multi-directional communication is taking place—not only across teams within the network but also between these teams and the rest of the organisation.
- Champion radical transparency and authenticity: During the pandemic, we’ve seen instances of leaders who have behaved boldly, setting priorities for their organisations, going outside of traditional channels to procure needed equipment, speaking personally about how the crisis affects them, and being realistic about the challenges ahead.
- Turbocharge self-organization: Once the initial network of teams is established and after support from leadership early in the journey, the network should become self-sustaining and self-managing.
To learn more about steps leaders should take to create a cohesive and adaptable network of teams, read here.
Non-executive directors can play a crucial role in managing this crisis
In the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, the role of NEDs came under huge scrutiny. Boards were described as “part of the problem” and non-execs as “poorly trained” and “incapable or unwilling to challenge management”.
Things changed. Present non-execs can testify that there’s no shortage of training, particularly as governance standards constantly tighten, nor a lack of governance, scrutiny and challenge, with heightened investor and government interest in how companies are run. How much has that prepared us for COVID-19?
Chairman and NED Natalie Ceeney CBE provides her perspective.
A survey of 824 CFOs from 21 countries reveals how the crisis is affecting businesses worldwide
A survey of 824 CFOs from 21 countries reveals that if the COVID-19 crisis were to end immediately, 56% of CFOs would expect a return to ‘business as usual’ within three months. This optimism evokes a sense of hope that should be grounded in realism — which may or may not be happening yet at some companies.
The response window for crisis is measured in months, whereas recovery is measured in years. Stabilisation may come soon for some companies in some countries, but full recovery will take time.
Unsurprisingly, CFOs in countries that expressed relatively less concern about the pandemic’s potential impact on their business are also more sure-footed about their organisation’s ability to bounce back (Germany, Denmark and Switzerland).
For the full survey results follow this link.
Bain & Company
Balancing urgent actions for today with planning for the future can better guide what happens next. Here are some valuable questions that can help executives and boards focus their efforts:
- What’s the “big idea” that could shape our industry and firm for the next decade? What multiyear trends have been irrevocably pulled forward? What are the new trends we need to confront?
- How will customer behaviour shift? How will the next generation of customers that fuel our growth be different than our core customers prior to the pandemic?
- How might business boundaries be redrawn, as supply chains and operating models are reconfigured and the public sector resets its role?
- How do we build adaptability and resilience into our strategy and operations?
- Which ways of working that we discovered during this crisis should we preserve and build upon?
- How do we increase the intensity and speed of our learning as we navigate the uncertainty ahead?