COVID-19 has turned our business lives upside-down. It has shown up operational weaknesses in businesses like never before. Issues that have been around for ages, that were always ‘important’ – but never urgent, have become painfully obvious and demand attention.
The impact of COVID-19 may have tipped the balance, and resilience is top of mind right now.
We’ve honed in on 9 key questions that businesses need to ask themselves (honestly) to determine which areas to prioritise and address business resilience:
Does your business have:
1. The right business management systems in place?
Do people in your company have the right information available to them; at the right time, in the right way?
2. The right technology (hardware & software) in place?
How can your team work remotely, differently – do they need laptops, phones, software to do their jobs away from the office?
3. A team culture that supports working flexibly to meet business needs?
Does your company have a supportive or internally competitive culture? Will people be willing to help out other teams who suddenly have particular needs or are in crisis?
4. Any single points of failure in the business?
Are there people or processes without whom your operation would be gridlocked – or bottle-necked? Resilience means actively avoiding single points of failure.
5. A training gap analysis completed?
Do you know what your people can and can’t do? How flexible can they be to adapt to new business needs? Understanding what you need and where you are thin on expertise is vital to deciding how to address those gaps.
6. Ways of meeting the training gaps?
Do you have sufficient documentation (yes, the dreaded D-word) on critical processes? You can’t document what isn’t clear; so streamlining may need to be done, in order to get to the stage where you can document. All vitally important in order to be transparent and flexible as a business.
7. Robust communications structures in the business?
Are your people informed from the ground up? Across the business? Reporting up? And from the top down. Having the right meeting structures in place is key. Not meeting overload; but enough to keep people up to speed.
8. Robust financial management processes in place?
How high is your level of WIP? What are your credit terms? Cash becomes very important in a crisis; do you finance processes and systems report clearly what the situation is? If not; what’s getting in the way?
9. A decision making framework in place?
Is it clear how decisions are made and by who and when? Is management information available that is accurate and real time to inform decision making?
Looking critically at your systems, processes, culture, communications and finance is not a ‘rocket-science’ thing to do. Probably you’ve known the key problems for a long time; but maybe only now are they becoming urgent.
Nine Feet Tall are expert in diagnosing and supporting the resolution of operational difficulties. If you could use some short-term help to diagnose or resolve key issues, please get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org
One silver-lining about COVID-19 could well be the impetus to address long-standing, stubborn business challenges – to improve resilience and performance overall.