To succeed both during and after the COVID-19 pandemic, business leaders should focus on the re-prioritization of business goals.
Realigning priorities will help organizations maintain business continuity during the crisis, improve resilience, and stay successful after the pandemic ends.
Below, we’ll explore why companies must re-prioritize their business goals now, then look at seven areas that should top the agenda.
Why Business Re-Prioritization Is a Must During COVID-19
The COVID-19 pandemic has clearly had a major impact on the global economy, not to mention the business landscape, the workplace, and our daily lives.
Many companies and industries have suffered significant financial hardships, and they will continue to do so for some time to come.
A vaccine represents the first step towards restoring the global financial system, but it is only the first leg of a longer journey.
Also, that journey will not take us back to the same world that existed before 2020 – instead, we will enter a “new normal.”
In the coming months and years, we can expect sweeping changes that affect businesses in many ways:
- Supply chain disruptions will force many companies to build supplier networks that are more resilient
- Financial conditions will remain strained for the foreseeable future, even after the global economy returns to pre-2020 levels
- Digital technology has accelerated in several fields, which means that companies must continue their own digital transformations in order to participate in the post-COVID world
These are just a few examples that illustrate why it is important to pivot and prepare now.
7 Areas to Focus On
Though it is certainly difficult to predict exactly what the post-viral era will look like, many research firms agree on several points.
Here are seven trends and areas that will significantly impact the business landscape in the near future.
During and after the crisis, people’s needs, expectations, sentiment, and behavior will all change dramatically.
Business leaders should therefore assess how the crisis will affect:
- Business partners
- Other stakeholders
Since the priorities of each group will alter with each stage of the pandemic, business priorities should adjust accordingly.
2. The Macro Economy
The COVID-19 health crisis quickly became a financial crisis, which will affect the digital economy both now and during the post-COVID “next normal.”
In the vast majority of sectors, this has resulted in a massive financial depression, though a select few areas have experienced growth.
There are different models that describe how this scenario will play out. One from BCG outlines three phases:
The second phase will continue until a vaccine is found and distributed, at which point the economy will begin to rebound.
Given the uncertainty and the length of the current crisis, business leaders should plan for an extended period of financial constraint, even after the pandemic ends.
3. The Competitive Arena
Unsurprisingly, the crisis will significantly alter the competitive landscape.
As the pandemic continues to unfold, we can expect to see more:
- Organizational transformations
- Strategic pivots
- New business formations
All of these, in turn, will contribute to an economic structure that looks fundamentally different from the one we left in 2019.
4. The Local Economic Picture
The macro economy, as mentioned earlier, will play an important role in business strategy and companies should plan accordingly.
That macro view should be coupled with a local view that encompasses one’s own:
- Geopolitical circumstances
Factors such as these will exert a greater influence over an organization’s choices and capabilities than the macro economic picture – local regulations that affect business operations, for instance, will often determine whether and how a company can operate during the pandemic.
The geopolitical landscape has also shifted significantly after the outbreak, and it will continue to do so for some time afterwards.
Every organization should pay attention to the geopolitical climate, not just companies that operate internationally.
After all, that climate can affect:
- Supply chains
- Customers and business partners
- Regulations and prices
To the degree that these change, business priorities should also change accordingly.
6. Public Health
Health has been the driving force behind the current crisis, so public health should become a top priority, at least until the pandemic ends.
For the remainder of the crisis, health will continue to affect business operations.
Government regulations and public health measures, such as lockdowns, will be one of the most important factors that affect operations.
Yet health will also be the driving force that affects many of the areas covered above, such as:
- Customer demand, behavior, and spending habits
- Supply chain viability and resilience
- The global economy
After the pandemic ends and a vaccine restores stability to the global economy, public health will remain an issue, though it will not become an immediate source of disruption.
The pandemic has acted as a catalyst for the evolution of certain technologies and fields, such as:
- Remote working software, such as digital adoption platforms (DAPs)
- Robotics, such as meat-packing machines or cleaners
- Telecommunications tools, such as video conferencing platforms
- Automation platforms that perform tasks without the need for human intervention
Undoubtedly, many of these trends will continue to play a role in the future of business. Though the world will not be fully remote or fully digital, businesses should plan for a future that is more advanced and technology-driven.
Chris is the Lead Author & Editor of Change Blog. Chris established the Change blog to create a source for news and discussion about some of the issues, challenges, news, and ideas relating to Change Management.