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In a series of insights, Dynamiq CEO Jarrod Wilson looks at how organisations and their leaders have responded to COVID-19.

Whether its “unprecedented”, the “new normal” or “unchartered territories”, you’re probably tired of hearing those terms. However, the speed at which COVID-19 has spread and its impact right across the world has been truly mind blowing.

Many of the organisations who developed a business continuity strategy to manage disruptions before the outbreak are currently maintaining their business functions and exploiting business opportunities.

The large breweries who switched their operations to hand sanitiser in a matter of days had no idea the virus was coming. But because they had an established approach to managing disruptions, they could focus on maintaining business functions and pivoting their operations rather than focusing on the pandemic alone.

Overall, we can group COVID-19 responses into three broad categories:

Optimised – these organisations have a mature system for managing disruptions and that system is well-understood across their workforce.

Optimised organisations have tested their system to respond to a variety of events, each time reviewing and enhancing their procedures.

These organisations have established trust relationships across teams and respond to complex issues in a deliberate and methodical manner. Proactive and transparent communications removes pressure from decision-makers allowing them to identify and exploit opportunities during the pandemic.

Proactive – Proactive companies took steps to establish a common approach to managing significant business disruptions.

Proactive companies haven’t yet taken the extra step of optimising their approach through rigorous testing exercises. These organisations have little proven capability but reacted quickly because of recent training and have been able to keep their doors open, even in a reduced capacity.

Reactive – these businesses had not yet defined an approach for managing disruptions or significant events. Many of these companies either reacted to the implications of the pandemic as they arose, or simply became overwhelmed and failed.

The organisations which managed to react with some effect, scrambled to establish systems for longer term survival. They are still establishing an approach and playing catch up in terms of addressing the broader implications of the pandemic.

Over the coming weeks we will share our observations of the three types of responses we have seen to COVID-19 across our client portfolio and discuss the following themes as our initial hypothesis to who the winners and losers might be when the dust finally settles.

  • Establishing a common approach to managing disruptions is best done before a disruption.
  • Time and effort spent implementing your approach to disruptions is seldom wasted.
  • When responding to a disruption, planning is far more important than having a plan.
  • Proactive and transparent communications take pressure off decision-makers.
  • Focusing on maintaining business functions is more effective than addressing the disruption.
  • Organisations that had an established approach for managing disruptions are more likely to exploit opportunities during a wide-scale event such as a pandemic.

Where does your organisation sit? Contact us to discuss your COVID recovery.