How successful leaders are responding to COVID-19 business implications
As the world is wrestling with the unforeseeable implications of the coronavirus pandemic, our social and economic fabric is under severe stress. For most businesses, COVID-19 is unlike any crisis that they might have faced in the past. The urgency to respond has forced every business to rethink how they operate if they are to obtain any chance in navigating these new challenges. Times like these need leaders who must act quickly to minimize the risk to their employees and business operations while looking forward to creating a promising future. Beyond the crisis, they must ensure that their organization has invested in the right capabilities to adapt to the “new normal.”
A resilient leader is a person who sees the most challenging crisis as a hurdle that you can hop over, not as an impregnable wall. That has been a hallmark of successful leaders. It is a remarkable ability that will help their companies recover quickly from a crisis and transform it into an opportunity to grow their business. Resilience is a learned ability, and it must be acquired, built, and developed by all business leaders.
This article will present a detailed guide on leadership practices that will help business leaders respond effectively to the present crisis.
1. Do not narrow your focus
When faced with severe stress, the human mind tends to narrow its focus. Perhaps it is a survival mechanism, but it restricts your field of vision to the immediate foreground. Leaders must intentionally pull back to take a broad and holistic view of both the challenges and opportunities. Remember a bend in the road is not always the end of the road. Well-focused focused leadership fosters well-directed management.
2. Do not panic
People do not follow leaders. They follow models of behavior. They look to their leaders for courage and strength when faced with challenging situations. Remember, your fear is contagious. Even if you do not say it out loud, people can understand and sense your fear. You cannot expect people to pivot if the leader is not positive. Aim to stir up energy in others, not fear. Empower your people with courage so that they can help in business recovery.
3. Turn the crisis into a stepping stone not a tombstone
Do not allow the present crisis to paralyze you. Resilient leaders get ahead of challenging situations when they welcome inputs from others, admit their own mistakes, and stay open to suggestions. They take steps to adapt courageously. Resilient leaders must be willing to take risks confidently and experiment new ideas. It is easy to be stuck in the same routine until situations like this pandemic require organizations to change or die. Leaders who are not afraid to make bold decisions are the need of the hour.
Perhaps you must put a hold on large initiatives and expenses. Just do it. Do not depend on your past strategy. Those strategies may not be relevant now. Assess the ground situation often. Extend your antennae across the entire operative ecosystem. The best way to accomplish this is to create a network of local leaders and influencers. They can assist you by giving you updated information about the sentiments of employees, suppliers, customers, and other stakeholders.
4. Do not fixate on what is closed
Managing a crisis like COVID-19 can be thrilling for some leaders. However, that can be a trap where you might feel the urge to micro-manage the present. Resist the temptation to take over. Instead, use your experience to provide necessary guidance and support. A leader fixated on micro-managing will disrupt the rhythm of employees. Though managing the present is important, fixating only on one aspect hampers the growth of your business. It is like being bent on opening a closed-door when your house is on fire instead of running out via any other open door or window. Similarly, instead of micro-managing, a leader must take advantage of other employees by delegating responsibilities and trusting people while making tough decisions.
Such trust starts with transparency: a willingness to admit your ignorance, and the track record you have built over years. Building such trust helps you develop positive relationships with your employees and customers. The fact is, a leader may be willing to make a dramatic change, but they aren’t going to make much headway without positive relationships to support that change.
5. Rest, refuel and recover to rediscover the new win
One common mistake most leaders make is determining what to do without considering all the facts. The only thing that is certain about today’s crisis is uncertainty. All the facts may not be available or clear within the expected time frame. However, leaders must refrain from depending on their intuition or previous experience to make decisions. Resilient leaders better cope with uncertainty by continually collecting information and observing how well their response is working.
Think of it as a long drive where a vehicle needs rest, refueling, and recovery before it continues onwards. In practice, it means that leaders must pause from time to time, assess the situation from multiple vantage points, and anticipate the possible outcome before they act. This prevents leaders from overreacting to new information as it comes in. True, there might be times when leaders will have to act quickly and decisively. However, leaders must take time to stop, assess, and anticipate before making further moves.
Two behaviors that help leaders in this regard are updating and doubting. Updating involves considering the fresh perspective of the team. Doubting involves critically considering if their decisions require modifications, adaptations, or the possibility of discarding. This will help leaders develop new workable solutions.
6. Avoid over-centralization
Situations like this pandemic increase risk, ambiguity, and uncertainty. This may scare leaders into becoming controlling and overbearing. They might create new layers of approval even for minor decisions. This might result in everyone involved becoming less responsive and frustrated with each new constraint. Instead, organize and determine which decision you will make and which you can delegate. Have clear guiding principles and guidelines.
7. Anticipate and welcome structural changes
The current pandemic has accelerated structural changes at a quicker pace. For example, the possibility of remote work was slowly evolving before this. Today though, worldwide, most businesses have learned and understood the increased efficiency of communicating and coordinating over the virtual platform. Keep pace with the changes.
Case study: How Fingent created an inspiring and collaborative digital workplace for Sony Mobiles? Click here to download
8. Do not disregard the human element
The present crisis is so intense because it is affecting people. A leader may forget that the coordinated efforts of their people go into the daily metrics of share price, revenue, and cost. Create an environment where people are collectively motivated to contribute to their shared success.
A crisis such as COVID-19 forces people to think of their own survival first. They might be bombarded with many anxieties concerning themselves, their work, and their families. A resilient leader will ensure a hands-on approach to this instead of assigning such as communications to legal staff. One of the most vital aspects of a leader’s role is to make a positive difference in people’s lives. Leaders must pay careful attention to the struggles people are facing and take measures to support them.
9. Communicate effectively and powerfully
Communication during a crisis is either overdone or underdone. George Bernard Shaw once said, “the single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” An overconfident talk may raise suspicions about what a leader knows and how well they are handling the crisis. Distance working can create communication barriers as well and a team will look to their leaders for emotional reassurance and practical direction. This makes it important that leaders communicate frequently and thoughtfully. This will assure stakeholders that they are coping well with the crisis. Ensure to make your why’s clearly known to all involved. Let others know about what you are trying to do. Keep communication open and transparent. Communication also means that leaders listen and pay attention to differing opinions. They allow other team members to express their views firsthand.
10. Keep up the routine
Whatever happens, good leaders ensure that their teams are always active, working, thinking, learning, socializing, and innovating. Even if it is virtual, their teams are on the move. When working at a physical location, work involves chatting, socializing, laughing, and making friends. Leaders do well to find ways to do these things even remotely.
11. Welcome feedback
The most resilient leaders are concerned not only about their personal development but are more interested in the development of others. They recognize that everyone can contribute better if they learn from their strengths and weaknesses. Sharing constructive criticism plays a major part in this as well. The leader who welcomes feedback, negative or positive, is most likely to coach others well.
Leaders, you are models
Across the world, COVID-19 is testing business leaders in every aspect of their role. The consequences of the present pandemic could last for a long time. It could present greater difficulties than anyone could ever anticipate. Resilient leaders focus their attention on leading beyond the crisis toward a more promising future as they manage the present well. The prolonged uncertainty and ambiguity are added reasons for leaders to embrace the best practices discussed in this post. The best leaders establish and reinforce behaviors that can support their organization during this crisis and after.
Contact us to know more about how Fingent’s leadership supports customers to ensure business continuity and enables employees to engage effectively during the current pandemic.
Stay up to date
on whats new
Get a free
Talk to our experts today
about your business
Technology is always in a constant state of flux, and 2017 promises to be no different. Successful are those companies who keep an ear to the ground, and discern the latest trends, to gain early mover advantage. Here are the top tech trends unfolding in 2017.
1. The High Demand for Enterprise Mobility Apps
If there is a sure shot winner in 2017, its enterprise app development. As enterprises discover the tremendous potential that mobility brings in terms of productivity improvement, unlocking new possibilities, improving coordination between field staff and the main office, enabling on-the-move executives to remain connected, facilitating real-time decision making, and much more, they are scurrying to develop mobile app solutions for all their critical functions.
Gartner estimates the demand for mobile apps to outstrip supply by a whopping ratio of five to one. The challenge posed by the extremely fluid technology space, where technology changes by the day, is worsened by the severe talent crunch. New app development technologies that promote low-node and no-code options are becoming popular, but there is no short-cut to seasoned expertise to roll out intuitive apps that tick all boxes of customer satisfaction. Here is a list of top enterprise developers.
2. User Experience Becomes All-Supreme
The competition for eyeballs has never been so intense before. With more and more players scrambling to gain the attention of a finite number of customers, enterprises are not just offering multiple points of contact, such as websites, mobile optimized websites, mobile apps, and more, but they also ensure all these channels come fully optimized for the device, to deliver an immersive user experience.
Users able to navigate the website or app easily, finding what they are looking for without putting in much of an effort, are likely to stay long. This raises the stakes of web development and web designing, to offer powerful yet simple user experience, optimized for the device. Web development now becomes a strategic activity, packing in the optimal list of features, in a simple easy-to-navigate design, and ensuring good UX at the same time. This trend of rolling out simple, yet powerful UX will gain further ground in 2017.
3. Collaborative Tools Gain CentreStage
The cloud and mobility are well entrenched, offering executives a world of convenience to work from anywhere, at any time. However, online collaboration still requires supporting infrastructure. Among the various solutions that have come up to facilitate collaboration, Microsoft SharePoint leads the pack, and is likely to continue its domination in 2017. Microsoft SharePoint is basically a collaboration and document management platform, enabling groups to set up a centralized space to share documents.
In 2016, Microsoft launched SharePoint Hybrid, which is in a sense the best of both worlds, an enterprise platform residing partly on-premises and partly within the Cloud. There is now also the provision to link on-premises version of SharePoint with Office365. As the New Year unfolds, further advancements are in the offing, especially in facilitating better content collaboration, mobility, intelligence and trust. As the cloud become even more popular, the cloud version of SharePoint will likely see big improvements.
4. The Return of the ERP
Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) is in a revival of sorts, after years of lull. ERP may seem as anarchism in today’s fast paced world, considering deployment of ERP required complex rollouts running into years. What pushes the case for ERP is top ERP vendors reinventing themselves and delivering a far faster and smoother rollout. The game changer is cloud based ERP, or a SaaS offering, allowing enterprises the unprecedented flexibility of picking and choosing the modules they like for their ERP implementation. SaaS-based ERP is likely to gain considerable ground in 2017, as a means for enterprises to remain organized on a structured and connected way. Success would depend on the ERP solution that continues to deliver traditional service, and leverage the available big data to the hilt.
Among the many ERP vendors, SAP, the time-tested old warhorse leads the pack, as the most popular ERP suite preferred across sectors and company size.
5. Artificial Intelligence and Augmented Reality Goes Strong
That Artificial Intelligence (AI) has awesome potential is never in doubt. AI powered tools such as Google Translate, Amazon’s Alexa home assistant, and more have already become well entrenched and hugely popular offerings. More and more such apps would go mainstream in the coming year, with the power of Artificial Intelligence tapped for everything from driver-less cars to medical research.
Side by side, virtual reality will continue its golden run, but it eventually stands to be supplanted by Augmented or Mixed Reality. Virtual Reality based products such as Oculus Rift, Sony’s PlayStation VR and HTC Vive are the rage now, but in 2017, AR based products such as Pokémon Go, which allow superimposing information or content of any kind on real world settings will take over.
6. Internet of Things Gets a Reality Check
The Internet of Things received it first big challenge in September 2016, when some malware took control of millions of internet-connected devices and launched what has been the largest-in-class attack to date. The attack left large swathes of internet inaccessible for days. Undoubtedly, 2017 will see several such attacks, much more potent, bringing a reality-check to the hype surrounding the Internet of Things. There will be a major focus on security as well in the IoT scheme of things.
IT stakeholders are still like hares caught in headlights, when it comes to cyber attacks. To counter security threats, encryption has now become mainstream, to the extent the New York Times is now accepting news tips via the encrypted app Signal. However, it would require much more innovation to truly secure networks, and it remains to be seen whether any path-breaking security paradigms emerge in 2017.
7. Convergence Inches Closer to Reality
2017 will also witness a convergence of the internet and television, or live TV, allowing us to see television when we want it, rather than fix our schedule around television shows. YouTube is already putting together a live TV package, and players such as Hulu and Amazon are positioning to enter the fray.
Mere knowledge of the top tech trends is useless unless the enterprise is capable enough to leverage the trends, to roll out cutting edge solutions that confer early-mover status and significant competitive advantage. This is where most enterprises, faced with talent crunch and an already overburdened IT team, falter. We can help you here. Our team of highly experienced and talented developers is always on the top of the game, having successfully executed several mobility and other solutions for enterprises cutting across sectors and industries.
Stay up to date
on whats new
Get a free
Talk to our experts today
about your business
Here are the ten emerging and strategic business and technology trends that will shape the way individuals and businesses will derive value from technology in 2017. Vice president and Gartner Fellow, David Cearley, mentioned 3 themes, viz., intelligent, digital, and mesh that will be the disruptive technology forces for the coming years.
Stay up to date
on whats new
Get a free
Talk to our experts today
about your business
Fast technology pace, sudden paradigm shifts, changing business models and the fall or rise of the year- predicting technology trends can often be like reading tea leaves. Who would have predicted Google being the star of the internet? Or the extraordinary popularity of Uber as an unrivaled app-based cab service, the rise of Tesla or Amazon, the resurrection of Apple.
What has 2016 in store for businesses and enterprises? Know more in this short video cast as we request Deepu Prakash, Head of Process and Technology Innovation at Fingent, to take a stab at Technology predictions for 2016