The Dual Challenge
The most significant truth of post-corona life is Recession. Except inelastic sectors and benefiting sectors (e.g. cloud services), revenues, cashflows and margins will come under severe strain – even threatening survival in some (many?) cases.
At the same time, until “herd immunity” is achieved either through a vaccine or the hard way, normal business operations will continue to be impacted by the “lives v/s livelihood” conundrum. Work from home is here to stay.
Tough times call for tough decision. Business leaders will have to look at radical measures such as refocussing of business priorities, rightsizing and steep reduction of costs. I would not waste your time digging into these choices as it is neither my area of expertise nor the central theme of this article. (As an aside, the pandemic has brought into focus the unsustainable, self-destructive conduct of the human race. But that too is neither within my area of expertise nor the theme of this article).
“Digital Intimacy” compensates for “Social Distancing”
COVID-19 pandemic has suddenly imposed digitization on businesses and employees. Digital is no more a luxury, it is imperative for business continuity. Below are two examples:
Companies are no longer wanting to know the benefits of digital workplace solutions (such as “ProDigi”). Now, they just want to roll it out to handhold employees as they plan and perform their work-from-home activities, schedules, conversations, etc.
Similarly, faced with business continuity issues (with physical and emailed invoices and orders), companies are now showing keenness to build digital bridges with their vendors, dealers & partners with platforms like “SureAlly”
(Disclosure: The above two examples are from my personal experience, both ProDigi and SureAlly being products offered by our company Prosares)
But that is only half the story… Business Continuity is only a baseline benefit of Digital.
Digital transforms your DNA – “Caterpillar to Butterfly”
The real advantage of Digital are in its ability to transform your business.
- Digital drives work-life balance by cutting down physical commute
- Digital drives efficiencies by crashing process costs and cycle times
- Digital drives quality by making “waste” visible
- Digital drives competitive advantage
But wait, there is a caveat. If Digital is really so beneficial, companies should have already done it, no?
The real challenge is not Digital. The real challenge is the change it entails. The caterpillar to butterfly transformation can be painful and requires careful planning and execution. Below are a few pointers:
- If you are still in the “input monitoring” mode, measuring amount of time they spend doing their work, switch to “output monitoring”. You need systems and metrics to ensure on-time and on-quality delivery. This change does not come easy – not to the managers, not to the employees.
- If you are still in “need-based communication” mode, conveying just what is necessary, switch to “engagement mode”. There is no such thing as over-communicating, especially with virtual workforce.
- If you are still in “hierarchy” mode with multiple layers of reporting, switch to “network” mode. Create mechanisms and environment for “knowledge leaders” to emerge.
The above changes, coupled with Digital, can mutate your business into a beautiful butterfly. Are you ready?
(Do share your critique and comments. And here are links to my previous articles:
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