Yesterday we heard the news that Australia’s economy had contracted by 7% in the June quarter, beating even analysts’ dire warnings of the impact of the Covid-19-induced recession.  And we are now hearing analysts warning of a minimum two year recovery period for Australian businesses.

In conditions of uncertainty business strategy becomes even more important. And best practice in strategy and leadership is also shifting in line with the conditions of the pandemic. Because the way we are working is changing, there is an opportunity to innovate solutions to support these new pathways to productivity.

“Flexibility is key,” says Brian McNamara of GlaxoSmithKlein in an interview published by McKinsey. Reevaluating supply chains and the resources needed to deliver products and services is vital to ensure companies can effectively respond to rapid changes in consumer demand. As people have become more comfortable with online shopping and online meetings, there is the sense that the shift is permanent, even when it will be safe to go back to the office, or back to the retail outlet. It’s more efficient, and it can even accommodate better work/life balance. So a good business strategy should always be seeking ways to capitalise on this digital channel behaviour change, among both consumers and within supply chains.

But a good business strategy needs also to consider the needs of company employees, too. In an article on strategy+business, Adam Bryant has warned that in such challenging times, there’s an art to setting goals for teams.  Where in more liquid periods, it may be reasonable to set audacious goals, it would be unreasonable to do so in the Covid era.  While you don’t want your goals to be too easy to attain, you do need to ensure that there are opportunities to celebrate achievements.

And David Sluss over at Harvard Business Review speaks about the need for patience in leadership in challenging times. In his research, he found that patient leaders boosted their employees’ creativity and collaboration, and improved productivity.  He noted that engaging patiently would produce better outcomes than rushing or forcing time-boxed engagement. Of course there’s a significant difference between engaging patiently, and innovating or rapidly prototyping. And in the Covid era, you need to have a balance of both.

Never has there been a more important time to get strategy right.

Our next panel session in the Disruptors Co New Ways series looks at how strategy is shifting in the Covid era and considers what can be done to remain resilient while the economic recovery runs its course.  Joining us at a livestreamed event at 5:30-6:30pm AEST on Wednesday 9 September will be:

  • Tracey Hamilton, Chief Transformation Officer, Moveo Global
  • Karina Marcar, Principal of the boards and governance consultancy, Brabourne
  • Jye Smith, Director at Doublestar

Reserve your place to attend this free online event, where you can ask questions of the panel, and help create a resilient future. And don’t forget to check out our past events at https://theair.works/newways/.