So, we emerge into the light, cautiously and blinking, looking around at the potential cost, cause, and effects of the recent lockdown. The cessation of business, all bought about by the virus that swept the globe. A raft of questions is now being prompted, yet some are still formulating those questions – not to mention the answers.

Can normal service be resumed? Will the hospitality and retail sectors be swamped by customers anxious to return to normality? Or will they stay away until confidence returns? The answer is likely both scenarios are going to play out, as we stumble forward and turn our thoughts to the new normal. What lessons are needed to be learned and will we need the same strategies and ideas? Or is new thinking needed? The answer again is likely yes to both and its how that is implemented that will make or break many businesses, new and old, as we move forward.

Therefore, it is not just a matter of simply reopening the doors – as new measures and guidelines are needed to be rolled out. We all need to adapt to the new thought processes that customers and colleagues are going to challenge us with.

Much of this is coming from and will continue to do so, from the science and medical experts and the country’s leaders, as new information and advice arrive in waves. They also will be needing to learn and anticipate; we all need to be flexible and adapt for many months to come. Changes will be aplenty.

How we restructure our businesses now could be the key difference between success and failure as we move forward into the next phase. Do we know what questions to ask? Are we in accord with what is needed and being asked? Are we taking the right steps to future proof our organisations for the medium and longer-term? And have we accepted that we and our teams have the required flexibility to deal with likely regular changes and proposals and compliances.

Whether you operate in a sector that has been positively or negatively impacted by the pandemic, we/all of us will have had to change our Standard Operation procedures.

Many of us will have worked through recessions and industrial issues but Covid-19 has been a worldwide event; a whirlwind that took us all by surprise. Due to the speed of such an unprecedented event, many of us have survived the past few months only through reactive, pragmatic decision making. However, many of our operating models and organisation designs are not sustainable to meet the longer-term business impacts of Covid-19.

A checklist is needed and individuals identified to ensure our businesses are able to engineer change and have a mindset adapted; to enable us to move forward on a positive note – one that manages change of processes and responsibilities. Yet, to manage this seamlessly and still show customers there has been positive and safe changes made, this will require new skills and positive customer engagement – to ensure confidence and trust is ultimately established.

The pathway to achieving this is posed in the following thoughts:

  • What effects and feedback are we currently experiencing from colleagues, clients, and costs? What changes do we need to make, stop, or implement?
  • Garner the effects and on these questions ask ‘what did we do well before the pandemic? And what do we believe is right and will add value to customer experiences and too our own commercial success, post-pandemic? Our teams will be invaluable in their input, so remember to ask them!
  • What are we doing today for the near-term and longer-term future because of this learning? Do we have a strategy? Have we agreed a time plan and review period? Who is going to monitor and advise regularly, an individual or a committee group? Is this in place or can it be so, quickly and efficiently?

Remember its customers and colleagues that will determine your success going forward. In summation, ensure your organisational structure is aligned to your business strategy and the new culture required. Commit to an ideal organisational design plan and outline the critical path analysis. Keep with timelines and responsibilities but make them ever-evolving.

So welcome back – it’s a brave new world and one that requires an emphasis on an organisation’s people once again being seen as a prime asset. Are we all ready? The answer must be yes if we are to succeed in this new normal.