Updated: Apr 28, 2020
It's been one month since lockdown started here in the UK. It feels like three months. On the plus side, I’ve never appreciated so much the bluebells outside the back door, my daily bike ride, or reliable WiFi.
On a more sanguine note, each day we see the immense toll this wretched crisis is taking on countless families, the endless courage of their carers, and the precarious wellbeing of billions of people around the world whose lives and businesses lie in limbo.
This isn’t the place to question why parts of the US start to lift restriction on movement amid public protests.
There’s a more profound question. How could this crisis have happened in the first place? Has the world been caught off guard? This speech by the former US President back in 2014 reminds us that the warning signs were evident, but largely ignored.
Covid-19 presents uncomfortable challenges for all governments and most businesses. Commentators more learned than myself are writing exhaustively about the short term economic devastation we face, and the long term debt accruing for future generations.
Bringing this to the Boardroom table, I’m seeing some interesting learnings.
Each week I moderate the Q&A webinars for the Digital Disruption program I’m running on behalf of Cambridge Judge Business School and our partners Emeritus. This week we explored why so many businesses struggle with the routine challenges presented by new entrants to their industries, by dissatisfied customers, and advances in AI. This graphic reflected the reality for start ups and multi-nationals alike.
Self-professed C-Level ‘Change Champions’ may well run a tight ship, invest in the right tech, mastermind smart data strategies and deliver personalised customer experiences, but that’s just not enough. That’s not enough in normal times. Just look at the comments our group use to describe the predicament for employees operating at each tier of the business.
Back to Barack Obama’s prophetic words after the last global respiratory crisis in 2014, what can today’s leaders learn from previous mistakes, and chart the path for the future?
Our advice is unashamedly simple. For most businesses, the greatest cost is the wage bill. We believe, passionately, that your people are your most important asset, and that mitigating the impact of disruption in every form can only be managed by engaging, motivating and rewarding them for their ideas and their collaboration.
As we prepare for life after the crisis, we all have an opportunity to rethink how we rebuild relationships with our teams. Experience shows these guiding principles should help:
communicating a clear vision
taking personal responsibility
sharing more than less
sharing the spotlight with others
pursuing excellence without ego
acknowledging and learning from mistakes
One last comment before the weekend. If you dialled in to our Digital Transformation Masterclass a fortnight ago, thanks for joining us. We learnt so much from the week, and from your feedback, which will help improve our future e-learning programs.
If you want to share your views on engaging, motivating and rewarding your teams during the Covid and post-Covid chapter of your business, we’d love to hear your views.