Change Management – Now More Important Than Ever
In its original meaning in Greek, the word crisis isn't good or bad, but completely neutral. It denotes a turning point – a time when one has to make a decision in one direction or the other. As a society and an economy, we are currently experiencing such a crossroads situation in the face of the recent outbreak of CoVid-19.
At Flawless Inbound, we take those developments seriously and understand the anxiety the situation is causing for everybody. We strongly believe in the virtue of Responsibility as a central part of our corporate culture. As the company's CRO and Co-Founder, I would like to take the opportunity to speak to the importance of Leadership and Change Management in these challenging times.
Taking Back Control
In the face of the global pandemic that is the CoVid-19 outbreak, we are all deeply concerned about the well-being and safety of our families and loved ones near and far. Similarly, that concern extends to our second families – to our teams and employees, our business partners and clients – as well as to the economic foundation we depend on as a society and global community to maintain our well-being and quality of life. All of us are affected in one way or another by the rising insecurity and anxiety that follows our every step right now.
It is with these circumstances in mind that we decide to step up and rise above the noise, as private individuals and professionals, to help our local and global communities navigate this situation of rapid change as best as we can, and provide support to the ones who rely on us.
Guidance in Times of Change
Change is a process, not an event. In itself, change is neither good nor bad, but something we have to deal with every day. As a company's primary decision-makers, Corporate Leadership and Management contribute significantly to the success of change management. The quality and successful implementation of change management over the next weeks and months will be crucial for the future of any given organisation, and I can only recommend that they emphasise change management over strategy. Here are my recommendations to everyone in leadership and management:
As the Leadership Team, you're the role model for the entire company and beyond. People turn to you for guidance and advice in times of change. Focus on two aspects:
Providing direction means to be there for your team, clients, and business partners. Every change comes with a certain amount of anxiety, and it's your responsibility to face the challenge as best as you can. As a role model for others, you want to address and respect concerns, lead with a good example (yes, wash your hands thoroughly and don't touch your face!), and instil trust through pro-active communication and decision-making.
Show that you're present even without being there in person by using video calls, emails, etc. – from anywhere and without risk of contamination. If you absolutely have to meet with people, do it carefully to avoid spreading germs, and pay special attention to risk groups.
And once again because it cannot be said enough: communication, communication, communication.
This aspect is very important: you need to align all departments within your company to work hand in hand. Distribute official guidelines to all members of your company to help them adhere to hygiene standards, minimise negative effects, and keep operations running.
The Management Team of your company will be in charge of implementing and realising changes to current tasks and operations within the company, and should pay special diligence to planning and budgeting.
Planning and Budgeting
Management might be faced with the task of having to re-allocate traditional business expense such as travel, trade shows, or in-person events to establishing and expanding a digital and online presence as a better option to ensure your ROI goals. In this process, your focus on KPIs will recede into the background in favour of troubleshooting situations as you go. Be prepared to adapt quickly and don't linger on business strategy. Your first and foremost goal at this point is to get your company safely through the next days, weeks, and months.
Change Management - The Litmus Test for Corporate Capability
No matter what position you are in, one thing is certain: the CoVid-19 outbreak puts any company's corporate capability on trial. Like the devil's advocate, you will have to dissect your preparedness for the worst case:
- Asset protection strategy: What measures are in place to protect your employees, intellectual property, inventory, shipping and receiving, etc.?
- Assessing risks to your current growth strategy: Can the growth engines that were successful for you over the last years survive the outbreak, and what alternatives do you see?
- Commitment to ongoing business goals: How will the current events affect your business goals for this year, and how can you adapt them to reflect recent (and potential future) developments?
A Word of Advice
The change is already happening. Coping is not a strategy – being proactive is. If you adapt quickly, your chances are good that you'll emerge more or less unscathed. Here are the facts:
- You will likely have to adapt your sales strategy first. Due to infection risks, face-to-face interactions like networking events or trade shows will slow down significantly or even disappear for the foreseeable future. That will impact your sales pipeline and networking.
- If you dare to rise above the noise of the CoVid turmoil, this can be a chance to look for alternatives and open up new markets for your sales ops. Collaborate with your marketing department – they will be your ally in unlocking new opportunities and finding alternatives to traditional business card networking.
- You might have to expand Net New Business outside of your current area if it was hit hard by the outbreak (e.g. travel bans, manufacturing delays, sick employees). Plan ahead for the case and look for alternatives in new markets.
The most important piece of advice I have for you right now is to take good care of your existing customers and partners. More than ever, they need and deserve special attention. Do you have a proper Customer Advocacy process in place, and do your Sales, Marketing and Customer Service departments all know it? If not, get one now.
Working towards a Flawless Rebound
Thinking carefully about all these aspects, you can derive a proper Change Management Plan that'll serve as your compass on the way. Remind yourself that change is a process and tackle it one step at a time. Even though it's tempting to do as much as possible as soon as possible, you'll be more successful with your strategy if you take the time to carefully think about it first.
As your trusted Marketing Solutions Partner, we at Flawless are here for you to help you along the way and through the change – now more than ever. We'll listen to your concerns.
One last reminder (I've said it at the beginning and I'll say it again): a crisis is just a neutral turning point – how you deal with it is in your hands.
Take care and stay safe,
Saher and The Flawless Team